I do not have time to read, but the books just keep getting stuck to my face. UF, HF, YA, fluffy romance, whatever. I love it all.
But I might judge you if you hand out five stars all willy nilly.
This is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, so if you're reading this review you're most likely already invested in the series and wondering whether to continue. I say yes!The writing in this installment is just as compelling, the story is mostly fast-paced and hard to put down, there are new characters to love and new enemies to fear. It picks up almost immediately where the first book left off, following Mal and Alina on their voyage across the True Sea and straight into conflict with the Darkling, who has been irrevocably changed by the battle on the Fold in which Alina left him to die. He brings with him creatures more frightening than the Volcra and it will take more power, and new friends, in order for Alina and Mal to survive.
My biggest complaint is that the love story took a backseat to action and intrigue in this book, and I missed it. The author managed to string me along with just enough tension to keep me going, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated with the state of Alina and Mal's relationship. Alina is now the highest ranking Grisha in the land and for several reasons cannot be connected publicly with Mal. Their moments together are brief and melancholy, and their relationship seems more doomed by the moment. Alina's power is growing and her purpose is clear, but poor Mal.... He doesn't know his place in her world anymore, and because he chose to desert the army in the first book he lost his position as a valued tracker. Mal winds up having a sort of identity crisis, and even though he loves her it may not be enough.
"No, Alina. You came here for Ravka.... to lead the Second Army." He tapped the sun over his heart. "I came here for you. You're my flag. You're my nation."
It's really hard to review second books in a trilogy before all the books have been published, because they are inevitably a little less satisfying. There will always be more questions than answers, and there will always be amped up conflict and hopelessness in order to keep readers hungering for the conclusion. Siege and Storm is no exception. I was swept away with the first half of the book, caught up in the adventure and the introduction of new and compelling characters (there's a handsome pirate, and who doesn't love that?!), but the middle of the book dragged for me. Things slowed down when Alina took over the Second Army and there was a lot of war-room talk and squabbles with the Grisha, which would have been fine except it all seemed sort of moot because of what happened at the end.
Overall it was an enjoyable installment in the series, and I recommend it, but it will be even better when the whole series is out and can be enjoyed without interruption. For the book by itself I give it 3.5 stars, but as a connecting piece in a bigger story, it gets 4 stars from me.