Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I was worried that this sequel would suffer the second book syndrome. To my surprise, though, I like Siege and Storm better than the first book. It was jarring at times, yes. But it was highly entertaining in general, especially with the new characters thrown in! There were also new and surprising elements in the story that made me revel in this book.
I was already having an amazing time in the first few pages. The story picked up not far from the last events in the Shadow and Bone. I enjoyed the fact that the Darkling showed up early in the story. Plus, he’s got a new terrifying and astonishing power! The scenes with the sea whip were fantastic as well. And of course, the introduction of Nikolai Lantsov, who is my absolute favorite character in the trilogy!
When I encountered Nikolai’s character the first time I read Siege and Storm, I thought he was mysterious and cunning. And then, you get to know him over time and find yourself wanting to protect him at all cost. He’s brave, intelligent, determined and has an amazing sense of humor. His presence was so strong that he kind of overshadowed the other characters.
Speaking of other characters, I also liked Alina more in this book. It was interesting to read how she struggled with her growing powers, which was also my other favorite aspect of the story. And then there’s Mal. Frankly speaking, I didn’t like him in the first book. But in this one, he was particularly unbearable to read. He whines all the time and he was so needy. I feel the same way about the scenes between him and Alina. The drama between them was my least favorite of all. It was so frustrating.
As a whole, Siege and Storm was a solid sequel and a perfect read to show the readers where the next story is going.