Friday, October 4, 2019

Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ★★★ | 435 pages | Henry Holt and Co. | Fantasy | 06/04/2013 
In book two of the Grisha series Alina and Mal have deftly escaped the clutches of the Darkling and, with the help of a mysterious pirate,  head back to Ravka to raise an army. But the Darkling won't let them go without a fight. Now drunk with power, he sails the seas to bring Alina back to his side. 

I thought this book was just okay. Honestly, I'm reading the series so I can read Six of Crows (And so I can watch the Netflix Show).  Mal and Alina escape Ravka in the first book and I was intrigued by the idea of exploring other countries in this world, but somehow the characters literally end up back where they started.

First I'll talk about (SPOILER AHOY !) the swaggery pirate who turns out to be the prince of Ravka (I saw this one coming since the first mention of him in book one). I thought he was probably the most interesting character in the book, I could never tell what he was going to do next.

But I guess the important thing in this book is Alina's "transformation" I guess? Once back in Ravka she takes the place of The Darkling and her rise to power felt...unjustified. I never got the sense she was a true leader. I mean she only went to the Grisha school for like a year and just because she's the Sun Summoner she has leadership skills? I feel like there is this odd mix where the characters get to act like teens but are also trusted also do adult stuff? One minute she's getting all the Grisha to mix lunch tables and getting the nerds to go to P.E (I mean the Materialki go to fight training)  but also signing off on military request? I just don't feel the power from her.

Like, there are no actual adults who take charge during this whole kerfuffle. I know it's YA and teens are going to take the lead but there could just be ONE? Who could be like a mentor? 

All the while Mal gets really broody.  Mal becomes Alina's guard knowing it's the closest he can get to her. He broods because he has to watch her be with Nikolai and fight her connection to the Darkling. So to cope he becomes a drunk bare-knuckle brawler ? I mean...okay.

Seriously there is some sort of love rhombus going on because literally every dude in this book kisses Alina at some point and I'm just not feeling a lot of these ships. I get why some people might like the Darkling, IDK what it is about powerful brooding bad boy (and I totes saw what Bardogu was doing there with that scene of them kissing in the church and making vows. MMMHMM) but the character-type feels overused to me.

Also, what's the deal with the Apparat? I never understood why his character was a villain, he seemed well-meaning to me. I was kind of shocked how "evil" he sounded in the audiobook. I just don't understand the antagonism towards the religion in this book.

This book felt a lot like Insurgent in which a bunch of secondary characters are introduced who you just know are gonna die. 

IDK, I'm having a hard time being invested in this world. I can't keep any of the Grisha order's straight and it was even harder on audio when I couldn't flip back and forth. Whenever they say any of the Grisha types I just have no idea what they are talking about. Some of the orders are used interchangeably and some aren't.

Rating: ★★ | 422 pages | Henry Holt and Co. | Fantasy | 06/17/2014
I finally reached the end of a YA fantasy series and I don't have that much to say. Rise and Ruin does a tidy job of wrapping up Alina and Mal's story but overall I just felt kind of meh on it. It's the same basic song and dance of Alina and Mal escaping, trying to find the Amplifier and having a big battle with the Darkling.

There are a ton of side characters who die, but to be honest, I had no idea who any of them were so I can't say I was emotionally invested. I did enjoy hearing the backstory of Morozova and the Darkling origins but HOLY MACKEREL can we not with graphic violence against toddlers?

I can imagine fans of the series being miffed because of how little the Darkling is in this book. It wasn't until I was reading other reviews that I even noticed it.

Look, it made me really mad that they gave the Darkling a funeral. I'm sorry---but I am not for redeeming villains who murdered innocent people.

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