Since around June I had been met on all sides with a chorus of "YOU HAVE TO READ SIEGE AND STORM!" and "READ IT! READ IT NOWWWWWWW!" and "OH MY GOD BUT STURMHOND LIKE SRSLY READ NOW" ... yeah. The Grisha fangirls are intense. Seriously. And I dislike hype. I mean, I get that you guys are excited about these books, but... you set the expectations way too high. It's happened too often that the book lets me down because of that.
But that was not the case with Siege and Storm. I made the wise decision to start reading this and not tell anyone about it. In fact, I kept it entirely to myself until about halfway through, when I finally clued Judith in that I was reading it. She deserved to know. I guess. But by that point I was convinced about the awesomeness by myself already, so I felt open to that.
Anyway, enough of my odd reading habits. Siege and Storm grabs you from the very first page. There's the beautiful combination of Leigh Bardugo's engrossing writing style, the fascinating world, and before all too long... Sturmhond. Yes. Sturmhond. You may have heard his name mentioned
once twice ten thousand times. The fangirls are rabid for this man and... they are not wrong. He is absolutely charming from the very first moment. And while he first seems like just a charming, hilarious side character, he gets so much depth within one book. But he struck a particularly deep chord with me because...
He is that guy. Yes. Entirely. If you get that reference, 10,000 bonus points.
Like most middle books, the plot doesn't progress all too much in this installment, and there's a heavier focus on character development. Particularly, Alina's development. She goes through quite some transitions here. So although at the end I had some itching feelings like, "But not that much happened," I quickly shrugged them off because the story was just so engrossing, the characters had such great dynamics, and I love being in the Grisha world. I was in love. That's it. I said it.
My only real annoyance with this whole series at this point is Mal. Seriously. Stop shoving him in my face. Stop saying, "Everyone loves Mal," because I can't see it for a second. He's so. damn. boring. Honestly, he just sucks the life out of the party. I want more Darkling or more Sturmhond, but for the love of god, get Mal out of my face. If they end up together, I will have majorly violent feelings because, Leigh, what are you thinking? Can I start a petition for Mal to die in book 3? Who would sign it? Be honest, now.
But seriously, this was one crazy and exciting ride. Though there were hints of a bit of a slow down in the plot department, I didn't mind. The end came with a serious punch. I mean, whoa at the action there. And the ending, it was intense! For a minute there, I didn't know where it was going. It was just seriously ...woah. And when I thought it would end one way, it got me so excited. [spoiler]When it looked like Alina was actually going to turn evil and join the Darkling, I was shocked, of course, but then I thought, how awesome would that be? That would be such an unexpected twist. Book three would be nothing like any other series like it. I mean, imagine it: the main character is actually seduced by the dark side and is convinced of it, but then shenanigans happen and Sturmhond saves her. I am not biased, what are you talking about? But seriously. That would have been awesome.[/spoiler] And then it didn't go that way. ... *sigh* I'm almost a bit disappointed, if only because my own imagination is so much more awesome. But um. Authors. Consider a turn like that. Because yeah. Awesome.
I'm not going to jump on the hype train and be one of the screaming fangirls that will pester you to no end until you read this book, because I know firsthand how intimidating that can be. But if you are a doubter, like I was, I can offer you some reassurance. This book... I can't imagine anyone really disliking it (provided they liked Shadow and Bone). It's just a crazy, exciting ride, and I want more more more of this world. Give me Ruin and Rising now and anything else that Leigh Bardugo is churning out.