Yes, I totally read this series back to back. No, I do not regret it. The Sun Summoner grows stronger in this second installment, and her relationships are tested nearly to breaking. Alina’s personal identity grows and shifts, and Grisha as we know them have to evolve. Siege and Storm is a badass follow up to Shadow and Bone, and continues to fulfill that itch I needed scratched.
**Spoilers Beyond this Point: Beware!**
Alina’s character develops, and as she uncovers more powerful tools, she begins to lose sight of herself. She begins to learn the power of honesty vs. omission of truth, and she begins to accept that what she wants for herself and for others has changed as she has learned new information. Alina’s grief, emotions, and processing, all come to light in this book as she continues to process the intense trauma she has been through and works to uncover her changing identity. Alina takes charge of her life much more throughout this book, but she continues to seem blindsided by both friends, enemies, and romantic interests of hers. Although she begins to try to think one step ahead, she is often too focused on the wrong thing to understand what is going on around her. This is her main drawback as a character, and I think why I have trouble connecting with her as a reader. She’s a little too naive, despite continued slaps on the wrist to encourage her to be otherwise.
I didn’t enjoy many of the returning cast of characters, as their personal development seemed halted. However, the new characters that were introduced were delightful. I love the kind of turncoat element of these characters’ personalities.
Classic YA fantasy plot happening here. Basically we had the set up, followed by the uncovering of a previously undiscovered youth’s powers. Then comes the romantic interests, the existential crisis, and the training scenes. Eventually we get to some skirmishes where we realize our heroine will never be ready for the big war that’s been brewing. After that you realize just how big the war is truly brewing and the tension grows, reflected in the heroines personal relationships as well. Finally, the big war comes, and they almost lose, but the underdogs pull through when the heroine has some kind of magical realization that she can do more than she thought she could, but not before several of the good characters have already died. Anyway, take it for what it’s worth, but if this isn’t already in your wheelhouse, I wouldn’t recommend it.