Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm
Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, #2
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Number of Pages: 448
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Word Rating: Daaaaaaamn

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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.

This review is SPOILER-FREE for both Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm

What is it about Leigh Bardugo's novels that makes writing reviews for them absolutely and frustratingly impossible? I read Shadow and Bone as an ARC last year and absolutely loved it, yet after rewriting and rewriting my review for it over and over again, I ultimately decided to throw in the towel and give up attempting to review it. I know that for some, if not most reviewers, writing reviews for books you love is a very difficult process, and it's generally quite difficult for me as well, but I can honestly say that I've never been so unable to write a review for a novel until I'd been faced with the task of writing a review for both of Leigh Bardugo's novels.

Which brings be back to my initial question--what is it about her novels that make writing reviews for them so impossible? I'm rarely stunned by a novel so much that it leaves me completely and utterly speechless when it comes time to write my review, and even when I am so stunned by a novel, I am usually able to gush incoherently (and endlessly), but as I'm writing this review (or at least attempting to write it), days after finishing Siege and Storm, I'm at an absolute loss for words, once again.

There aren't many ways to put into words what it's truly like to read and experience Leigh Bardugo's novels--there will be the moments when you gasp, as well as the moments when you blush, and of course the moments when you feel like your heart has been stomped on, but all of those experiences are honestly only something a reader can go through themselves, and I myself have never really been the best at putting to words my raw feelings for book; I've really always been the type of reviewer to mark down a book's accolades, or lack thereof, and base my judgment from there.

But then I'm also speechless when I'm faced with marking down Siege and Storm's accolades, as that, too, is honestly just something that must be experienced on your own. Leigh Bardugo's writing style is absolutely gorgeous, her attention to detail is great, yet not overly so, her characters are radiantly formed and developed, and the same goes for the absolutely mesmerizing world in which this trilogy takes place.

Nearly everything pertaining to Siege and Storm is something to praise, and while praise is something I am generally able to mark down and articulate easily, yet again, there is just something about Leigh Bardugo's novels that makes it near impossible to do so. I love the characters--especially Sturmhond, he's mine and I'll fight you for him--and I love the stunning world Bardugo has created, albeit painfully charming villains, beautiful mythical creatures, and all. The pacing may be a little off at times, but in the end, the brief blunder in pacing towards the middle of the novel is practically infinitesimal when compared to the sheer brilliance that runs rampant throughout the entirety of the novel, scattered throughout the lines of the pages. This trilogy won't be something that everyone will adore as much as me, but, bringing it back to why Bardugo's novels are so impossible to write reviews for, it's just something you'll have to experience for yourself to truly understand, for the experience you'll have reading these novels is something very few words, much less mine, will ever be able to express.


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