Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

Siege and Storm is the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and puts me one step ahead towards finishing the series before the show comes out. The following review contains minor spoilers from the first book, so tread carefully. I have quite a lot of unpopular opinions on the book, so without further ado, let’s jump right to it!

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: June 4th, 2013

Age Rating: 12 and above

Content Warnings: Gun violence, kidnapping, murder, animal death, alcohol consumption, physical assault

(from Goodreads)

Darkness never dies.

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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.

”Fear is a powerful ally,” he said. “And loyal.”

This was so much better than the first book. And whoever said that Nikolai was the best character ever…I honestly couldn’t agree more.

So before I go onto our beloved prince, I want to make a few things clear.

I don’t hate Mal.
I don’t like the Darkling.
Alina becomes so much more fierce and badass in Siege and Storm and I love it.
I ship Alina with Mal more than with the Darkling ☺️

Okay wait. Don’t pounce at me. Mal is a jerk, yes. Like, please, Alina can make her own decisions. You don’t own her. AND FOR GODS SAKE AT LEAST HEAR HER OUT WHEN SHE’S TRYING TO EXPLAIN SOMETHING. What’s the worst that could happen?

But, despite all that, I can still empathise with him. He doesn’t know his true self and is trying to find it throughout this book. He constantly feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere and feels the need to prove himself to Alina and everyone else for the sole reason that he’s not Grisha. I know that doesn’t excuse his whining and complaining (or maybe it does), but all I’m saying is that I can relate to his character. I mean come on, you gotta feel bad for the kid. Even if it’s just a little? No? Okay.

”You know, for two people with a love eternal, you’re awfully insecure,” Nikolai said.

And I seriously can’t fathom what all the hype for the Darkling is all about. Maybe I’m just not into villains. He’s literally like all the other villains out there. So basically we’re just supposed to forget all the bad things he’s done because he’s hot and broody? Okay great. Makes total sense.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a really interesting villain to read about. And how he convinces people to join him is way beyond me because come on, his name is the DARKling. Maybe the people of Ravka are just really dumb. Or he probably just hands them death threats like free candy.

”The world is changing,” said Nikolai, the steel edge emerging in his voice. “We change with it, or there will be nothing left to remember us but the dust.”
Vasily laughed. “I can’t decide if you’re a fearmonger or a coward.”
“And I can’t decide if you’re an idiot or an idiot.”

Nikolai is the reason this book got a four star rating from me. He lightens up the mood of this book tremendously and I can’t thank him enough for it. I felt sad for him in so many parts of the story because he just seemed so lonely. He was always surrounded by duties, regardless of whether they were royal or not. And I mean, the way he’s introduced-

”I am Nikolai Lantsov, Major of the Twenty-Second Regiment, Soldier of the King’s Army, Grand Duke of Udova, and second son to His Most Royal Majesty, King Alexander the Third, Ruler of the Double Eagle Throne, may his life and reign be long.”

Yeah, I’m sold.

What do they see? I wondered. Another privileged Grisha going to her safe, luxurious palace on the hill while they cook on open fires and sleep in the shadow of a city that refuses them sanctuary? Or something worse? A liar? A fraud? A girl who dares to style herself as a living Saint?

Alina’s character development in this book…good lord I have no words. Who knew she could be so badass? I loved her arc so much and though I was really shocked by the ending, it also made me appreciate her so much more.

Honestly, Alina and Mal deserve each other. They might have had some ups and downs but they always find their way back to each other in the end.

The plot of this series still remains intriguing. It was really slow in the first half because nothing was happening. But after that ending, I really want to know how the story is going to move forward. Hopefully I get to see more of Nikolai.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?” I asked as I closed the book’s cover and headed for the door. “They always end up dead.”

And that’s all for today! Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on Siege and Storm? Who’s your favourite character? Let me know in the comments!


  1. […] Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: I did finish the trilogy this month, and I think I probably liked this one the most out of all. There could be a tiny chance that it’s because of Nikolai, but you never know. It was a little slow in the beginning but definitely started picking up after some time. And no, I still don’t like the Darkling. You can check out my review here. […]


  2. Omg 100% agree with everything you said here Rania!!! Mal and Alina deserve each other — I can’t understand why people hate on Mal for being a realistic portrayal of an insecure teen guy 🤦‍♀️ And Nikolai Lantsov is, of course, *chef’s kiss* 😍

    Fantastic review Rania! 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love your review!! Honestly I have not much strong opinions on Mal, but I do think he’s a very realistic character. Yeah, he takes things badly, but he’s literally the only ordinary guy in a group of people with superhuman powers and of course he would take things badly, because he wants to prove himself or something, haha. I think I’ve done enough fangirling on Nikolai on every blog with a Grisha trilogy book review😂😂😂😂 me too, he’s the reason this book got a four star rating from me as well!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I didn’t like the darkling or Mal either! Honestly neither really sold me at any point one was too whiny and the other too evil. Great review

    Liked by 2 people

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