Taken from Goodreads
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
I began this book with every hope in the world that Alina and Mal’s melodrama would be over and that I could finally enjoy the non-high schoolesque fantasy I deserve. This is not what I got. The main drawback to this book is similar to the main drawback of the first; the love story is overdone. Alina and Mal act like petulant children when it comes to one another, completely disregarding the ongoing conflicts around them to focus on each other and spend paragraphs going over their feelings. (At least in Alina’s case since she is the narrator.) It is exhausting. A lot of Alina and Mal’s arguments and heartache could be avoided by them using common sense and basic communication skills. But honestly feelings are hard and so is talking about them, so I understand the emotional constipation to a certain extent. What I don’t understand is the need to drag Alina’s romantic feelings all over the place and have it be as important if not more so than the actual storyline.
The actual storyline is still good, fantastic actually. A whole new group of characters was introduced in this book, each more interesting than the last. Siege and Storm does a fantastic job of continuing the story and keeping it interesting. There’s espionage now, court intrigue, war planning, and (most importantly) pirates! Leigh Bardugo’s world of Ravka keeps growing, becoming more complex and fascinating in this second installment. All of this however is overshadowed by her Sunsummoner’s need for Mal’s complete and utter devotion at all times. While I can respect Alina’s need for Mal’s support I think her school girl pinning that has continued is out of character, or at least out of character for the person Bardguo is attempting to make her into. (I had so, so much hope when Alina attempted to kill the Darkling by sacrificing herself.) All ridiculous high school drama aside Bardugo’s skill as a writer has shown notable improvement in this second novel. Her attention to the world surrounding her characters and the supporting cast themselves is commendable. The Darkling, while not as physically present in this book, is still a fascinating, if one-dimensional villain whose influence is felt in each tense moment. It leaves me curious about how it all ends.
Here’s to a good third installment where Alina learns she doesn’t need Mal for everything and saves Ravka.