UnknownOH YEAH! As much as I loved SHADOW AND BONE, Leigh Bardugo surpasses her first novel with SIEGE AND STORM.

SIEGE picks up with Mal and Alina on the run from the Darkling after a throw down / massacre in a dark swath of land known as The Fold (see review of first book HERE). Bardugo displays the duo’s evolving affection for one another in the early pages of the book, especially Mal’s protectiveness over Alina – the one and only Sun Summoner who the Darkling is desperate to control and enslave.

They hide out in whaling ships and blend in with the working ports of Russian-like cities. I love how Bardugo builds this landscape in the reader’s eye. I can feel the dirt and grime, the rough clothing and the filthy living quarters. It’s this ability – this world building – that makes Bardugo so brilliant.

Of course, Mal and Alina’s luck runs out and the Darkling catches up with them, flinging them onto a hired pirate’s ship. The Darkling is determined to locate a mythic beast in the frigid waters of the northern sea, in an area known as The Bone Road. The pirate, known as Sturmhond, is young and charming, but commands the absolute respect of his crew, which includes some wayward Grisha – a shocking surprise for Alina and Mal who have always known the Grisha to follow their master, the Darkling.

Sturmhond, however, is not who he seems and may prove himself a valuable asset to Alina . . . and an irritating troublemaker for the Darkling. His obsession with Alina worries Mal as well, but not for fear that Strumhond would hurt her. No – Mal fears the rogue pirate may steal her heart. Twists ensue, alliances are formed, friendships are tested and an enraged Darkling brings forth a darkness the likes of which no one has ever seen before.

There is much more to this fabulous story. But like Shadow and Bone, the novel has so much going on (in a GREAT way) that it is impossible to reveal it all. I’d blow the whole story if I did. For me though, Siege and Storm surpasses Shadow and Bone, but both books are worth your time. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s to hoping the third book will be out soon. Write faster, Ms. Bardugo!

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