I recommend reading Shadow and Bone first if you want to remain spoiler free.
This is the second book in the Shadow and Bone series. The Darkling has revealed his true plan – conquer the land by threatening to expand the fold and make life safe for Grisha. A worthy cause, a high price for all the deaths and horror contained within the Unsea. But he can only do so with Alina’s powers and she and Mal have fled across the sea. They are recaptured so quickly I honestly thought it was a dream sequence. But they are also soon freed by a newcomer, the crown prince Nikolai, who is planning on retaking the throne and defeating the Darkling. He knows he can only do that with the Sun Summoner’s help. Alina has to decide between the life she wants with Mal and the life her powers are calling her to be.
Honestly, I found this one a bit boring. Not at first, the beginning is quite exciting. The capture, the hunt for the Sea Whip Dragon, the introduction of Nikolai and the flight into Ravka are all awesome. From there until the climax I was quite tired.
The best part of the book is by far the charming Prince Nikolai, as evidenced by the fact I’ve already referenced him three times. He’s a lot of fun and always knows the right thing to say. Especially compared to Mal who has decided to take a ride on the humdrum train. Sadly, Siege and Storm leans even harder into the love triangle subplot, which was annoying in the first one but now is nearly insufferable. Especially since one of the two men is so much more likable in this novel and the other decides to sulk (the most attractive quality in a man).
I’m also not a huge fan of this “amplifier” plot. Alina has to find and kill these mystical animals and wear a piece of them to “amplify” her power. And it’s remarkably easy. It’s like if in Harry Potter they brought up horcruxes in the final book but hadn’t been alluding to them in any previous book. (And they still find them pretty easily in that too). I think it is a more “rules of the universe” kind of thing for me. There’s no explanation for why these animals are “amplifiers” (and the third book definitely doesn’t clarify) so my ability to see how they help is down to the author telling me they do.
Regardless, this is still a good series that I am enjoying. But there is a much better Russian based magic trilogy you should also read: The Winternight Trilogy. But also still go read Six of Crows.
2.5 out of 4 stars