Publisher's Note:  

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.

Siege and Storm is the second book in The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

Siege and Storm

by Leigh Bardugo

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Overall Review:  

Most readers have probably heard the term “steampunk” literature, but have you heard the term “tsarpunk”? That is the word author Leigh Bardugo uses to describe her Grisha Trilogy novels, which are inspired by the 1800's tsarist Russia era. Siege and Storm, the second book in the trilogy creates a roller coaster of events for readers to brave as they go from one country to the next, traveling by boat, air transport, and horse. Luckily, readers won't get too lost as they are provided with a handy-dandy map at the front of the book to study as they journey with protagonist Alina and her friend Mal through Ms. Bardugo's expansive fictitious country of Ravka and surrounding territories. Unfortunately for readers who are not familiar with the first book, Shadow and Bone, the map only offers so much aid, as Siege and Storm references the first books characters and places frequently without offering a backstory. Ms. Bardugo's website offers a tab entitled “World of the Grisha” which is helpful, but this is not a book to undertake unless you are familiar with its predecessor.


Although the author was influenced by 19thcentury Russia, stylistically speaking, the book reads modern despite the use of Ravkan words that sound old world. As for the characters? They continue to develop as they undergo the task of forging sides and maybe even wavering in their choices. What is refreshing about the characters is that they are not one dimensional, not all “good” or all “bad”. Readers find that a very “good” character may make some unfortunate decisions, but is that to define them for the rest of the series? Or perhaps a very “bad” character has some redeemable qualities; does that mean they're now trustworthy? Readers are also introduced to new characters, one in particular is quite charming and adds some much needed comic relief, especially since the novel can be a bit dark (to be expected when one of the main character's actual name is The Darkling). However, don't expect it all to be toilsome tears. There is light on the horizon, ending with a battle and bereavement that sets the stage nicely for the third and final installment, Ruin and Rising.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  8 mild obscenities; 8 derogatory names; 3 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore:  Character has a brief nightmare, blood mentioned; report of violent actions an order of the Grisha would do to character if found; playful punch; character verbally threatens to hurt character's friend; character's friend's life is threatened if character does not cooperate; scars on character's face imply past violence; character elbows another character aggressively; extended scene (about 1.5 pages) characters battle one another with magic, fantasy creature takes hold of character and bites; character is smacked across the face; character briefly uses magic to inflict pain on 2 other characters; reports that character destroyed a village and the people residing their and left people to die on a skiff (these occurrences are referenced to a few times throughout the book.); character is threatened with the torturing of his/her friend if they do not comply; extended scene (1 page) characters hunt a fantasy creature using spears/harpoons, fantasy creature tries to defend itself, blood mentioned; extended scene (about 2 pages) intense somewhat graphic bloody depiction of characters fighting one another using swords, guns, and magical powers to wound and kill; scary/creepy brief scene in which fantasy creature attacks characters; extended bloody scene (about 2 pages) character kills a fantasy creature to end it's suffering; brief mention of how many in a crew were lost/killed in an attack; character makes a threat against another character's life; idle threats of violence are made against a character; character threatens another character's life; extended somewhat gory depiction of characters killing fantasy creatures; brief bloody descriptive scene of character seeing another character being injured; character threatens another character with violence; character punches another character in the face; brief physical altercation between characters, they exchange verbal threats; character threatens to punch another character; character briefly recounts cutting off another character's fingers; mention of the execution of characters who played part in a coup; character kicks character's shins and threatens him/her; comical threat is made against another character; brief description of casualties in an attack; character is threatened with hanging; report of character breaking another character's bones in a past altercation; implication that character lost their eyes in a violent manner; characters briefly deliberate the murder of another character; character briefly recounts having read something that depicts violence; brief mention of a child character receiving a lashing; character tells others that he shot a character, wounding him/her; characters spar for training exercise, injuries mentioned; extended scene (about 1 page) described as a scuffle, overturned table and chairs, some screaming; character threatens another character with death; reader is informed that character is sporting new cuts and bruises from a brawl; extended somewhat graphic scene (about 3 pages) characters fight one another, punching and using magic, mention of blood and injuries; character cuts an attacker's arm, blood mentioned; character holds character against a wall and threatens him/her; extended gory scene (about 2 pages) fantasy creature attacks characters, biting and mutilating their bodies; extended intense violent scene (about 5 pages) fantasy creatures attack characters, characters use weapons do defend themselves, results in some deaths and mutilation of bodies; extended non graphic scene (about 4 pages) depicts characters with weapons fighting fantasy creatures; brief implication that a character endured torture; character makes threats of violence against a group of people.

Sex/Nudity:  Several brief (about 18) incidents in which characters are romantic with one another, this includes kissing on the lips, face, and hands, hand-holding, caressing of the face, and embracing; character jokingly says to another character that they should marry and make “heirs”; few times (less than 5) mention of the word “tumbling”; the word whore is used a few times (less than 10); mention of a character showing ample cleavage; female character is thought to have “shared” a man's bed (sexual reference); character jokes that his wife is having and affair; the word “private parts” is used once; character briefly complains that there has been talk among others in which they believe characters have had sexual encounters; brief scene in which characters flirt; extended descriptive scene (about 1 paragraph) characters kiss; extended somewhat descriptive scene (about 1 page) character dreams of kissing another character; few brief innuendos and/or declarations that a son is not legitimately his father's; few brief implications that a married couple are not faithful to one another.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Genocide, war, civil war, death, treason, tyranny, religious zealotry.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Several various alcoholic beverages are mentioned; several occasions in which characters drink; a few brief mentions of drinking, being drunk, and being hung-over.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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