Tag Archives: Siege and Storm

Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh Bardugo

Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh BardugoTitle: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: August 18, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 22, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Before he ruled Ravka, before he was the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy with an extraordinary gift. In this prequel story to the New York Times-bestselling Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo takes us into Ravka's mysterious past, when Grisha lived as fugitives and the Darkling took his first steps on the path to power. Discover new territory in the Grishaverse, as well as two chapters from the soon-to-be-released Six of Crows.

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THE DEMON IN THE WOOD was one of the short stories I was most anticipating. While I love Leigh Bardugo’s Ravkan folk tales, I’m sure we were all dying to know more about The Darkling!

I think the thing I loved the most about this short story was of course, more information about The Darkling, but also seeing that point in his life where things really started to turn for the worst… We find out quite a few things in the epic conclusion that is RUIN AND RISING, but this delves a little bit more into the story of how he became the way he is and I love that it makes me a little bit more sympathetic to him. All evil villains have to have a reason WHY they’re evil, right?

I really loved the character interaction. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I heard that it was a Darkling short story and I felt like the characters featured and what we learned about them was just perfect. I also really enjoyed getting to know more about the origin of the First Army and the order of the Grisha. We know it was something that The Darkling started but didn’t know how the Grisha ended up where they are.

As always, I want more because I just can’t get enough of this world but this short story provided answers and rounded out characters even more than they were. All-around enjoyable and entertaining!


Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 24, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Read for free on Tor.com
Genres: Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 26, 2015
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. It is a companion story to the third book of the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, and the stories “The Witch of Duva” and “The Too-Clever Fox.”

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LITTLE KNIFE, I think, is my favorite Ravkan folk tale yet. I just loved how it felt like a short fairy tale or a fable and every time I read one of these, I just cannot praise Leigh Bardugo enough for her world building skills. Each tale shows a little history of Ravka and also seem to tie back into the most recent book and I always feel like each one makes Ravka seem more like a real place. These short stories just make it exist.

The Ravkan folk tales don’t allow as much in terms of character development but I feel like you can pluck out lessons here and there that directly correlate to a scene or a situation in the books. A character has learned that lesson or reference that folk lore or been to that place — it really just ties everything back together into one solid world.

If you haven’t read any of these shorts or folk tales, I highly recommend them if you’re a big Grisha fan!

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3) – Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 17, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Amazon
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 21, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

    The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.  Ruin and Rising is the thrilling final installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

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I put off writing this review for a while. The Grisha Trilogy has been one of my favorites for the past few years and it’s hard to come to terms with it coming to an end. The Grisha Trilogy really became the first series in at least five years that I really felt such a connection to and that I was really enamored with. Leigh Bardugo was the one of the first authors I ever met at my very first author event back in 2012 after I had just started my blog, so I always had this deeper connection to the series because it also was an early part of my blogging career that I’ve grown to love so much.

I started RUIN AND RISING with trepidation — the kind where you just aren’t ready to let go of a story — but I knew that Leigh Bardugo would end the series the way it should be ended and whatever that grand finale was, I trusted her to take the story where it needed to go. Not that I had any doubt but I was definitely not disappointed. RUIN AND RISING was sheer perfection in my eyes and I felt everything was left with finality and a sense of closure as well as a perfect ending.

My favorite thing about RUIN AND RISING was all of the plot development and all of the series-long questions that finally get answered. I’ve developed several theories over the years and it was really interesting to see how that all panned out. Some were close and some were in the right realm but still totally off — which also makes me glad that I wasn’t even able to possibly guess the answers to everything. There were many shocking moments that made me wonder how things could possibly get any better… but I always trusted that the character would end up where they needed to be and I never felt betrayed in that.

Leigh Bardugo is fantastic at incorporating new characters into the mix as well. Readers fell in love with Sturmhond in SIEGE AND STORM and in RUIN AND RISING I really loved the addition of the other Grisha members who work their way into the forefront and developed a new favorite duo in Harshaw and Oncat. Oncat is in fact a cat and somehow Leigh Bardugo managed to make a cat one of my favorite new characters of the bunch. The dynamic between Harshaw and his cat was hilarious and I just loved every scene between them. I always love the banter between all of these characters and it’s so wonderful to have that bit of comic relief — even if it’s gallows humor (which I enjoy anyway!) — when it seems like the world is ending and indeed, the fate of the world is resting on Alina’s shoulders.

The ending of RUIN AND RISING is absolutely epic. The whole book really was, actually, but the second half really pushed the book forward into what I felt was the perfect ending for this trilogy. I was surprised, happy, shocked, angry, sad, overjoyed, and amazed. This book — and this whole series really — brought me through such an array of emotions. I never knew what to expect and I was always grateful for the constant surprises — both the happy and the sad — because they always brought a sense of reality to this fantasy world and really showed that the good guys can get a happy ending but it’s not always an easy road to get there and some sacrifices will indeed have to be made.

The Grisha Trilogy has absolutely been one of my favorites and having finished all of the books — including novellas and short stories — I can honestly say that it will stay one of my favorite series of all time. I hope that these books continue to stay relevant within the book lovers and reading community and that new readers will constantly be discovering these books. This is a series I hope to be timeless. I know it always will be for me.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Alina // Character Obsessions: Salvation, sacrifice, solutions.
Especially with re-reading the series before I started RUIN AND RISING, I was able to look back and see how much Alina has grown over the series. I feel such a fondness for her seeing where she came from and how she transformed from almost a sort of selfish brat (harsh, but she was very sassy when SHADOW AND BONE started and a little pouty) to this leader who was willing to make sacrifices and not want to even feel like she was being selfish because it could always be worse. I just really enjoyed the growth of her character and I’m so happy where she ended up at the end of this series.
Mal // Character Obsessions: Tracking, protecting, saving.
Mal was sort of an underdog for me in this series. In SHADOW AND BONE I hadn’t even paid much attention to him. I knew he was the love interest but I think at that point in time I was just more interested in the world building and the plot than why Alina and Mal should or shouldn’t be together. I started to notice him in SIEGE AND STORM and his character really started to take shape for me — something I also happened to notice more when I re-read both SHADOW AND BONE and SIEGE AND STORM again. I loved seeing him grow into such a mature character and so unselfish that at times it was hard to watch. I loved his love for Alina and his connection to her. He definitely became one of my favorites and my love grew for him throughout this series as well.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Epic series. Okay, well it’s not hard to get me hooked on epic series but I do feel like it’s hard for me to really get invested in a series as much as I have with The Grisha Trilogy. It’s a series I always want to own. It’s a series I’ve collected every possible version I can get my hands on just because I want to collect these books. It’s a series I committed to re-reading and reliving. I’ve just loved every part of this experience.
Left Me Wanting More: Of the Grishaverse. But that’s okay! We have a bit to wait but soon we’ll have Leigh Bardugo’s new series The Dregs!! The Dregs is set in the same world as The Grisha Trilogy and Leigh has confirmed that although it does NOT focus on the same characters, there will be some appearances!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

Buy RUIN AND RISING. Buy this series. Read this series. Love this series. It will always be one of my favorites and I will recommend it forever to fantasy lovers or not. I wasn’t a big fan of fantasy when I started but I think this has absolutely helped contribute to how much my love of fantasy has grown.

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Cinder Marissa Meyer       Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Re-Read Review: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Re-Read Review: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 4, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 15, 20214
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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.

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SIEGE AND STORM was an interesting re-read but ultimately not as exciting as the first time around – don’t get me wrong, it was still amazing, but I was in total awe when I first read this book over a year ago. (WOW, over a year!?) It was really fun being able to discover everything all over again. Some things had lost their surprise, of course, since I already knew the big twists but the best thing about re-reading – like with my re-read of SHADOW AND BONE – was that I had forgotten so many of the little details. Hell, in SIEGE AND STORM, I had even forgotten some of the BIG details and big reveals. It had been so long since I had spent some time in the Grishaverse that I had forgotten a lot of the backstories, things like the tales in the book of Saints, and how specific events actually transpired. Especially re-reading, it’s even more apparent how much SIEGE AND STORM shows off Leigh Bardugo’s writing talent. SHADOW AND BONE was so enjoyable (both times) but SIEGE AND STORM really starts to take the plot to new places, open new doors, and put the characters in even more peril until they learn how to fight their way out of the situation. We learn that not all characters are forever safe. We learn that everyone will be put under much more pressure. I felt like there were so many twists and turns and secrets to discover in this book that even after knowing how it ends, I had forgotten how we even got there. The action was stupendous as well. SHADOW AND BONE had its action sequences, but SIEGE AND STORM really took it up a notch, allowing the characters to roam much more and really develop their strengths, giving them the freedom to find more trouble and conquer it that much better. I really appreciated the intricacy of each situation that much more. This book also offered a lot more in character development. I never felt like I was missing any in SHADOW AND BONE, but this was a natural layering of characters as the series progresses. I kind of felt like Alina was a bit of a brat in SHADOW AND BONE but she really does start to mature in this book. That doesn’t mean that she leaves her cheeky attitude or sarcasm behind, which I’m thankful for because I just love the banter that occurs between her and Mal and of course, her and Sturmhond. She just really comes into her own as a leader, as a Grisha, and even just as a young adult. Leigh Bardugo really stretches her repertoire of characters as well. We all know how much I love Sturmhond and his character addition makes me wonder how the series didn’t have him from the beginning. He’s such a fan-favorite and he really adds a wonderful presence to the story. I just love how he affects the series both in plot and his own effect on other characters.

My only issue with the re-read was a personal one and that was that I was reading as an audiobook. Since my audiobook time is literally ten minutes at a time to and from work now, it was a hard book to even re-read much less read in short pieces like that. I’m so glad that I really savored it the first time around so even though my re-read was patchy, I still knew how amazing it was and the re-read turned out to be much more of a refresher than a time to sit down and savor. If you need to read or even re-read SIEGE AND STORM, I highly recommend making sure you allot enough time to really enjoy it and soak it all in!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Alina // Character Obsessions: Leadership, powers, Mal, sun. Alina really grew up in this book. Not only in her personality and maturity but also her abilities. She really started to take on some responsibility and also started to really understand what it was to sacrifice for those she loved. I loved watching her grown throughout this series and I feel like Alina grew leaps and bounds in this book!
Mal // Character Obsessions: Tracking, army, Alina. Mal really grew up too. This was the book in which I first started noticing him and I think his presence really grew much stronger in SIEGE AND STORM. I really grew to like Mal a LOT when for some reason I didn’t feel like he was a bit presence in SHADOWN AND BONE. His abilities grew leaps and bounds as well and they set off all kinds of bells in my head as to why his tracking abilities developed even more! (To be continued in RUIN AND RISING. No spoilers here!)

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Grishaverse. I just love this universe that Leigh Bardugo has created. I cannot get enough of it and I just loved learning even more about all of the mythology, history, and people within it.
Left Me Wanting More: Time to read it! Okay, that’s a cheating thing to say. But re-reading on audio gets hard sometimes! I just wanted a little bit more time to listen to it at length. I DID listen on the plane for a while… But I was also super tired and started falling asleep haha.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

You know I’m in love with this trilogy and re-reading just made it that more exciting! I’m so glad I re-read before RUIN AND RISING! This will always be a trilogy I  highly recommend.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SIEGE AND STORM

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Daughter of Smoke and Bone   A Game of Thrones

Fan Art: Game of Thrones Sigils for Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha Trilogy

A couple weeks ago, Alyssa was reading SHADOW AND BONE for the first time so naturally, we got in a grand discussion about it. We looked up all of the Grisha powers and decided which ones we would be (I’m a Squaller, in case you were wondering). I was looking at Leigh Bardugo’s website with those fantastically designed sigils/shields for each of the Grisha Orders and the idea came to my head to create sigils for the main characters, Game of Thrones style. The GoT ones are generally a bit plane, so I took my own liberties in adding some extra flourishes because hey. It’s my art. I can!

So without further ado, here are the sigils I created for The Darkling, Alina, Sturmhond, and Mal.

THE DARKLING

TheDarklingSigil

lines

ALINA

AlinaStarkov

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STURMHOND

Sturmhond

lines

MAL

Mal

 

That’s it for now! If you choose to use these pictures or re-post them anywhere, PLEASE link back to me! 🙂 Hope you all enjoy them!
I’m thinking of doing this for more series as well… Knowing my love for The Lunar Chronicles, that will probably be next haha! If anyone has any recommendations or suggestions, I’m always open! I am by no means a photoshop pro, but I have fun with my amateur skills and I think these turned our pretty well!

 

Review: Shadow and Bone Novellas + Extras

    

The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5)
The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5)
The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5)
by Leigh Bardugo

Completed: June 18, 2013
Source: The Witch of Duva + The Too Clever Fox read on Tor.com; The Tailor read on Facebook.com (all available to read for FREE!)
Genre: Fantasy
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha#1) // Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) // Casting Call: Shadow and Bone // Five Good Reasons to Read Recap! // Fierce Reads Tour 2012 Recap

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is easily one of my favorite series (dare I say it) of all time, so when I was having a bad day at work the other day, I snuck in all three of these series extras to brighten my day. Granted, they’re not all exactly bright and sunny stories, but good writing will always make me feel better, even if the content is a little on the darker side!

THE WITCH OF DUVA

I started with THE WITCH OF DUVA, which is a Ravkan folk tale about… well, the witch of Duva. Girls keep disappearing mysteriously with only the slightest trace left behind. In the suffering town of Duva, the girls no longer wander alone and parents try to keep their girls indoors for fears that the witch will snatch them up and take them away. This tale follows Nadya, her father Maxim, and his father’s new love interest Karina Stoyanova who Nadya suspects may be the town’s awful witch.
This story was dark for sure — it reminded me a bit of Hansel and Gretel from Nadya’s encounters with a real witch who lives deeper in the woods and a few events that occurred towards the end of the tale. Pieces of the tale were a bit shocking, others gruesome, others enlightening. While I suppose all folk tales & fairy tales are fictional (or at least fiction based on possibly true stories), this really felt like I was reading a fairy tale that has existed for centuries. Even the fact that fans of The Grisha Trilogy get to read these folk tales really makes the world come alive that much more. I feel like these characters are real people by getting this extra layer of their history.

THE TAYLOR

THE TAYLOR is a snippet of SHADOW AND BONE told from Genya’s point of view. Genya was actually one of my favorite characters from SHADOW AND BONE because of her personality and her friendship with Alina. Although THE TAYLOR is listed to come in between books one and two, I’m actually glad that I read it after SIEGE AND STORM because of certain events in book two that show another side of her character. I don’t think it will spoil anything to read it before S&S, but for me personally, I was glad to know a bit more about her character as a whole before starting THE TAYLOR.
It was nice to read about Genya because we not only get her point of view from one of her encounters with The Darkling (Helloooooo, Darkling!), but also we receive a little backstory of how Genya came to work for the Queen, how their relationship evolved and deteriorated, and what really goes on behind the scenes in the palace. It was just a quick little snippet (only 15 pages), but I was glad to have that little something extra from Genya!

THE TOO-CLEVER FOX

In SIEGE AND STORM, Alina compares Sturmhond to the Too-Clever Fox so it was really fun to be able to read the folk tale that accompanied this thought. I feel like The Too-Clever Fox is really somewhat of a fable more than just a tale because there’s a nice little “moral of the story” at the end and we learn something from the fox’s encounters in this tale.
I loved how clever the fox was and there were even some tiny twists, making the entire tale clever in itself. This story wasn’t as gruesome as THE WITCH OF DUVA, but it’s also not without it’s own touch of villains and it does get a little dark at times. It’s billed as #2.5, but really this can be read at any point in time in the series. It’s another folk tale, like THE WITCH OF DUVA, so there really aren’t any spoilers or major plot points for the series.

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Go read them! All three of these are available to read online for FREE (I think you have to ‘like’ some content on Facebook before you can read The Taylor, but still free) and they were really great additions to add more depth to the series. Leigh Bardugo is a master at her craft and I easily got swept away in each of these short stories.

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     Shadow and bone      Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Macmillan
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 30, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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.

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OMG, YOU GUYS. Siege & Storm. SIEGE AND STORM!! It was amazing. And now I need to write a review for it… Where do I even start? So right off the bat, I was in love with SIEGE & STORM. This book hits the ground running with lots of exciting action, reuniting readers immediately with Alina & Mal, and introducing one of my favorite new characters, Sturmhond. I have to say that the action throughout the book was incredible. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book — there are periods of time where the story slows down and we get more of a slow build to the overall plot, but even that was exciting! I honestly took a step back from the book and sat there in awe as I was reading because I had to wonder how Leigh Bardugo not only came up with this story and its details, but observed how well it was written. Leigh Bardugo’s writing is eloquent, exciting, funny, thoughtful… The book honestly amazed me from start to finish.

The characters that Leigh Bardugo has developed all feel so REAL. We definitely see a new Alina in the end of SHADOW & BONE and we continue to see how she’s changing even more by coming into her power in SIEGE & STORM. I felt like Mal was much more present in this book than he was in S&B, at least for me personally. I didn’t really get into the romance until the end of Shadow & Bone and although I felt like it was still a little slow to develop in SIEGE & STORM as well, it was still SO good and I think I much prefer it that way than introducing it too soon. The romance didn’t take over the story because really, the primary focus is Alina’s powers and her role as possible savior of Ravka. The romance surely does help mold and shape this major plot line and it was wonderful to read, but I was just glad I felt like the powers and the magical elements were still the main focus of this book.

You may be happy (or unhappy) to know that The Darkling is still a major part of this book! I admit, I was a little concerned because for some reason I felt like he was going to fall into the background in book two, but nope. He is back with a vengeance and it’s delightfully wicked. Book two is (no pun intended) much darker than book one and readers really get to see more into the history of things as well, both from Alina’s side and The Darkling’s side. I loved all of the history/mythology/legends that we get as a background in SIEGE & STORM. Sometimes it’s not easy to picture a fabricated history as real, but I found myself gobbling it up and just wanting more and more clues, more and more details.

My final opinion of the book is that if you liked SHADOW & BONE, you’ll love SIEGE & STORM. I guess if you LOVED the first book, you’ll love this one even more (I hope)! I feel even more amazed than I was with book one. The plot and the characters are just SO well done and I felt like everything was just an expansion of what went on in SHADOW & BONE instead of introducing too many new things. This was truly a continuation of a series and it didn’t feel disjointed as so many second in a series do to me. I was overjoyed with how much I loved this book and I cannot WAIT for everyone to read it and love it as much as I did!!!

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You may notice from the reading progress picture above that I actually started SIEGE & STORM on April 8th and didn’t finish until April 30th. Usually that’s an extremely long time for me to read a book. Yes, I did put it down so I could read for a couple other obligations, but honestly? This was a book I wanted to savor. I really took my time reading it, made sure I was in the right frame of mind, and really did not want to rush through it at all. I really took it all in and to be honest, I kind of didn’t want it to end!

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Alina: Alina got way more complex in S&S! She’s definitely dealing with a lot and can even see herself changing… But it’s a slippery slope and it’s difficult to be a teenager AND be in love AND have powers AND save the world. All of her reactions and emotions felt so real, though. Sometimes with the main characters, I feel like too often their actions fit just to make the story work but this really seemed like I was watching Alina’s life and really seeing her make decisions. They weren’t always the right ones, but I could always understand what was going on in her head.
Mal: You know…. I wasn’t totally sold on Mal in S&B. I felt like he was MIA in part of the book so I was just missing that connection with him. Right from the beginning in S&S, I totally connected with him and I’m so glad he played such a huge part in so many different aspects of the story. I also have suspicions about him and I’m not sure if I’m just making something out of nothing, but I can’t wait to see his role in book three! Oh geez, that’s still so far away. How do I get into Leigh Bardugo’s mind to answer these questions…?
The Darkling: Ooooh boy, he sure is dark! The Darkling becomes an even more complex character and has a much creepier presence in S&S. I actually kind of loved him as a villain because I loved to hate him in this book. So many interesting things going on with his whole story as well! You just have to read it!!

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Buy it… NOW!

WHEWWWW holy cow. This book was SO good. This is the best I’ve felt about a book in a looong time and I’m just so over the moon right now.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SIEGE AND STORM

     Through the Ever Night      The Darkest Minds

Oh yeah, and there’s also a GIVEAWAYYYYY!!! I’m passing my ARC of Siege and Storm along to one lucky winner! Only thing you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Sorry, this giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only! Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway