Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Thursday, January 2, 2014

Plot Summary:
After escaping the Darkling, Alina and Mal are on the run. Now that she has Morozova's amplifier, she is in more danger than ever. Although she and Mal have finally made it clear that they have feelings for one another, she continues to be haunted by the Darkling's words and the painful memories of when she unleashed her power onto the Grisha and the Darkling at Novokribirsk. When everything seemed to be peaceful, Alina and Mal were captured by Ivan and taken to the Darkling. Alina wasn't sure if he survived that day, but what she didn't realize is that his powers have doubled and revealed his plans to find Alina a second amplifier. According to Grisha law, Grisha can only have one amplifier for life, but the Darkling, hungry for power, believes that some Grisha can have more than one. After setting out on a treacherous journey to find the second amplifier, Alina and Mal meet Sturmhond (a privateer) and his crew. Although Sturmhond is charming and ambitious, there is something about him that both Alina and Mal don't quite understand. Fortunately, this Sturmhond isn't what he seems to be and, thanks to him, and his crew, Alina and Mal once again escape the Darkling only to be taken on another journey that will not only test their relationship, but Alina's abilities to to fight off the memories that haunt her and her desire for more power. Furthermore, Sturmhond begs Alina to not run, but to protect Ravka by staying by his side, which prompts a bargain that will put the Grisha at her command. The question is: can this Sun Summoner lead an Army while controlling the massive amount of power her new found amplifier has given her? Readers will have to find out in this thrilling sequel.    

Critical Evaluation:
WOW! It's a fact that with most trilogies, the second installment tends to suffer, but this is not the case with story. In fact, Bardugo does something that a lot of authors tend to drop the ball with, which is continuing the plot and not just about character development and the introduction of new characters. Alina's growth, as the Sun Summoner, not only proves to readers that she is actually a force to be reckoned with, but she is capable of leading the Grisha into battle. However, she is now being haunted by the Darkling and his words continue to take hold of her. Although she and Mal are together, being with one another has become increasingly difficult because she has decided to work with Nikolai in exchange of commanding the remaining Grisha. This is one of many trials these two will deal with and it's proving much more difficult than they thought. Alina is trying her best to show she cares, but Mal's pride, and station, have made it hard for him to accept her feelings. Granted, Alina hasn't made it easy for him because she has yet to tell Mal that the Darkling is haunting her, their relationship is falling apart right before their eyes. While Mal continues to try and prove himself, Alina is fighting off the advances of Nikolai and Vasily and she has to deal with mess that Apparat has created by making her a saint. Not only is she having to deal with unnecessary drama, it should not be surprising that the Darkling has found a way to slither his way into her mind. Despite all of these challenges, Alina tries desperately to take charge of her responsibilities including her second amplifier, which conveys that she is growing stronger every day, but even more fearful of who she is. Although Alina is in danger because of her new amplifier, she had decided to fight for Ravka instead of running away. The final battle in the end was just spectacular and I loved it! However, what can we expect from Alina now that Darkling sits on the throne and she is underground. Will the search for the firebird continue? We shall all have to wait in agonizing anticipation.

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.
She is the author of the New York Times Best Sellers, Shadow & Bone  and Siege and Storm (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan). The final book in the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, will be published in 2014. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.
Genre:
Teen Fantasy

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Siege and Storm:
Awards & Recognition:
From Amazon.com
"An action-packed, heartbreaking ending will leave teens breathless for the final installment." -- School Library Journal

"This action-packed, suspenseful grand tale of war, adventure and love, with a maritime setting, colorful battles, and female warriors, will appeal to a broad readership and is an enticing prelude to the anticipated Book 3." -- VOYA

"Bardugo populates her fully realized world with appealing three dimensional characters and an involving plot that keeps a steady pace. . . The buzz will be big." -- Booklist

"Bardugo builds on strengths she brought to the first volume, including a richly crafted fantasy world with its own twist on magic, a surfeit of handsome leading men, and plenty of teen-appropriate romantic angst." -- The Horn Book

"Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them panting for the series’ conclusion." -- Kirkus Reviews

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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