About four months have passed since I last reviewed a GrishaVerse book. That post turned into more of a celebration of Epic Fantasy than a review of Shadow and Bone, but I think it is still quite obvious that I greatly enjoyed my stay in Ravka. It hit all the right notes for me, pulling from Russian myth and fairytale, while still presenting a unique and immersive secondary world all its own.
Despite the controversy over the artistic license taken with Russian history and culture, I appreciated what diligence and thoughtfulness the author did show, and greatly enjoyed trying to tease what was what within the novel.
The second book, Siege and Storm was in many ways more of the same. I do not mean this as a negative, it is why I picked up the second volume in the first place. I wanted more.
And I got it.
Something I appreciated more this time around, was the way Bardugo uses well worn tropes and clichés. She always seems to present them as expected, but with some compelling feature so that even though the reader has seen it a hundred times, they’re still excited to see it again . . . And then there’s the twist, so that it doesn’t turn out as expected after all.
My author brain wonders which part of that is harder and more impressive. My reader brain just eats it up.
As any good sequel should, the scope of Siege and Storm expands. Places which were just words on the map become flea ridden hostels where no one speaks in the same tongue, dangerous alleyways (where still you can’t communicate), or vast expanses of bitter cold ocean. Of course we return to the places we knew in S&B as well, but these places have changed irrevocably because of the events of the first book. The world Alina and Mal inhabit becomes larger, more dangerous, and so much more engaging.
I had never really heard or considered the term Tsarpunk before now, but reading Siege and Storm really put that term into perspective for me. The importance of a kind of fantastical technology really steps into the fore (in one case in such a ‘steampunk’ way I actually laughed) within this book.
But it also ups the Epic-ness of the stakes too (so I’d still consider it epic fantasy as I did the first). Siege and Storm deals in the fates of nations with migrations, refugees, and upstart religions all putting pressure on the typical quest for the throne, and discovery of supernatural power. Even the love triangle gets an extra angle hah!
It seems like a lot to fit into one volume, but it never seems overwhelming. Again, much to study here in the economy of a scene for writers, and just as much to simply enjoy for its own sake for readers.
Yes! Siege and Storm was a great continuation of the S&B Trilogy, with as much new material to enjoy as reference to the first book. I’m looking forward to how things wrap up in the final installment, Ruin and Rising!
That’s all I have for today folks. Have any of you read this work? What did you think? Did it live up to the bar set by S&B? What was you’re favorite part?
Please leave your answers in the comments. See you next time!
Still here? Awesome. I’m glad you enjoyed my review of Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm. I was so inspired by this book, and others like it, as well as real Russian history, fairy tales and folk traditions, that I have been writing my own stories in a similar setting. The first was called Farewell to Rusalka (preview), and then second was At the Edge of Legend (preview). I have another story in revision called Where the Lobsters Go to Winter which I’ll release in the beginning of October. It was influenced heavily by Siege and Storm. If you’re interested, please sign up for my newsletter before October 1st 2022, and you’ll get a copy at release.
Thanks for your time, and I hope to see you around here more!