I just got asked, yesterday, which three books I think everyone should read, and while I ended up putting two kind of heavy adult novels on there, guess what else ended up on the list?
I just can’t get over how much I love these books. Why?
- Heroine I actually admire: check
- Amazing worldbuilding: check (omgosh, this setting!)
- Evocative writing: check
- Strong supporting characters: check
- Realistic emotions and reactions: check
- Pretty swoony hero(es): check, check, and holy smokes, a swoony villain too!
So Siege and Storm was basically everything I look for in a great read. I’m in love with Leigh Bardugo’s ability to draw us in to her world–if you’d told me, a month ago, I’d be fangirling over a story about a girl involved in a war in Russia, I’d have told you I had enough of that in high school, thankyouverymuch.
Add the magical element, and that’s usually enough to turn me right off (though I’m finding that I’m ever so slightly more open to fantasy, these days). Bardugo manages to pull readers in from the first few sentences, though, by allowing us to relate to her characters: Alina, with her wry wit and headstrong impulsiveness, Mal and his easily bruised tenderness and loyalty. Between them, they exemplify so many traits most of us find in ourselves (or want to) that it’s easy to like them, and want to go romping off with them into Kribirsk or The Fold or wherever else they may lead.
This book picks up with Alina and Mal on the run, and ultimately brings them face-to-face with the things they’re evading. It manages to keep the action high, rather than plodding along and filling time, like so many second books in a trilogy do. It also introduces us to Sturmhond, who’s a thoroughly roguish and fascinating character, and manages to throw just enough disarray into the mix to confuse me entirely regarding where things (and my loyalties) are headed, especially after how the book ended! I thought I knew who I wanted Alina to be with, after Shadow and Bone, and who she would probably end up with, and now I’m really not sure of anything anymore! I see that as a positive, though: I’m going into Ruin and Rising not certain of what I want, or without any real inkling of how I think the series should end, and I like that.
To Their Most Royal Majesties, the King and Queen of Ravka:
It is with a sad heart that I must proffer my regrets and inform you that I will be unable to attend the festivities celebrating the birth of Prince Nikolai Lantsov, Grand Duke of Udova.
Unfortunate circumstances have arisen, namely that my best friend can’t seem to stand the sight of me, and your son didn’t kiss me, and I wish he had. Or I wish he hadn’t. Or I’m still not sure what I wish, but there’s a very good chance that if I’m forced to sit through his stupid birthday dinner, I’ll end up sobbing into my cake.
With best wishes on this most happy of occasions,
Alina Starkov, Idiot
Series continues to be totally clean, and I’m looking forward to finishing it up here, soon! 4 stars, only because there were a couple of places where I felt like things were a touch slow for me in the second half, but I still loved it.