I read the first Grisha book a couple years back, thought it was okay and stopped reading any of them. But then Bardugo wrote Ninth House- her first adult novel. I devoured it and am still eagerly chomping at the bit for a sequel (Oh Lord please, I’ve been….mediocre….please let that be enough to get us a sequel). I figured, since I liked that so much and the Grisha series is so popular, maybe I should give it another try.
I think the key to Siege and Storm is to realize it’s Bardugo’s second book ever and she’s clearly still growing as an author. I’ve heard that her next couple of series set in the Grishaverse are much better.
Siege and Storm is the second book in the originating trilogy:
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner—hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.
The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.
But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice—and only she can face the oncoming storm.
The worldbuilding? Pretty interesting. I get why Bardugo keeps playing in this world and expanding her sand box. Based on the worldbuilding alone I plan to read the other series she’s written.
The characters? Meh. Solid meh. It’s your pretty standard YA fare with a chosen one who starts out plain and because of plot reasons gets hot, and three different love interests who are inexplicably head over heels for her. I say inexplicably because I don’t really get why all these dudes are giving up so much for our MC, but they seem really into it?
And for my biggest gripe- Mal.
He’s the OTP. It’s pretty clear. He also SUUUCCCKS. He’s a whiny little man baby who’s constantly whining at our MC and being a petty jealous baby. Yes I used baby twice. Frankly, that’s showing restraint. He’s just the worst. I wanted to shake him, I wanted to shake her, and I wanted to leave them both to their ridiculous drama and go hang out with some adults.
In the end, after I finished the book, I wanted to know how the trilogy wrapped up, but I couldn’t stand spending more time with those two idiots. I resorted to a wiki summary.
All of that and I still am planning to read more Bardugo. The bones of these books are solid. My annoyances aside there are tons of great characters and the dialogue isn’t bad. From everything I’ve heard Bardugo really grew as an author and there’s a night and day difference between the originating trilogy and Six of Crows and the other duology she’s written. Plus, I can’t forget just how great that adult debut was.
If you want to start the Grishaverse, try the trilogy out for yourself. Lots of people really do love it. But if it’s driving you nuts, do a wiki summary so you have plot background and then jump into her later books. It’s what I intend to do.