Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm. — from goodreads
And today I welcome you to another episode of Ravka’s Next Top Model. (Hint: It’s not Mal.) Some spoilers ahead actually. I’m very sorry about that, I tried not to but I failed epically. If you want the spoiler-free version: Stuff happens and there’s not enough detail in the world building, to be honest, but there’s a new character and I love him and that’s why I’m handing out three teacups. I also apologise for the abuse of gifs. I’m in such a grumpy mood, I felt like only gifs could truly do this post justice.
In a rather astonishing turn of events I’ve forgotten literally everything that happened in Shadow and Bone including the characters, so let me just look that up real quick. Thank the saints that Ren reviewed it! And bless the Shadow and Bone wiki for giving me a detailed account of what happened in the first book. Tragically I still cannot remember the second half of the first book despite re-reading the lengthy summary on the wiki just now.
Oh well. We left off with Alina (she’s the special magical snowflake in this season of RNTM) and Mal (her best friend and childhood sweetheart and contender for the title of “Most Emotionally Unhinged Character”) fleeing Ravka on a boat.
As the two try to escape the Darkling’s reach a lot of things happen, some good, and some bad. (Let’s be real, they’re mostly bad.) And some include meeting Jack Harkness. Er. I mean Sturmhond. (I don’t remember which blogger likened him to Jack Harkness, but it stuck in my brain and I can’t unsee it. Ever.) Honestly, I am really really glad that Bardugo gave me Jack Harkness. Pardon, I mean Sturmhond. He’s about the only person who didn’t tick me off in the book and boy am I glad. Cause, you know, he has a ship. And a helicopter. Well. Something that can be made to fly. That’s aces, right? 10/10 would bang.
Of course it’s not as easy as Alina and Mal thought it would be and eventually they have to face the fact that Ravka’s kinda pulling a Greece and going to the dogs. It’s all the Darkling’s fault, of course. And Alina’s.
Because of that and all the guilt that comes with it Alina continues to struggle with just about everything. Sooo, it’s up to Mal to man up and be a real dude about it and be supportive of his beloved. Too bad that he’s jealous of Sturmhond. And the Darkling. And everyone else (seriously). So while Alina is having a bit of a nervous breakdown, he’s busy being jealous and behaving like a whiny brat and accomplishes nothing, except for getting beat up and leaving Alina alone when she needs him the most.
This ship is mostly pain and not the desirable kind that an OTP leaves me in. I don’t see the chemistry at all and I wish Mal would just fuck off, actually. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as Aunt Petunia would say. In fanfiction, that is. I don’t think she ever said that in the books. Well. I’m sure somebody in the Grisha-verse would say it too. Maybe Baghra? Or Sturmhond? The Darkling too, let’s be real. Or maybe not. Who knows…
So things happen, people happen and in between Alina accidentally gains a bit of power. It’s quite fascinating really because she’s rather opposed to it all but oh, all the guilt… life is hard when you have to be the one to save the country/world/universe. I think Alina and Harry Potter ought to have dinner sometime and talk about it all. Speaking of which, IT’S TIME FOR MY FAVOURITE QUOTE.
“Nicely done,” he said. “Today shall be forever remembered as the date of the Great Herring Decree.” He stepped inside and closed the door behind him. “Not the smoothest delivery, though.”
I don’t remember if it was a great issue in Shadow and Bone but it’s very important that Alina doesn’t like herring. Sucks to be her, I guess. Maybe she could convince people of a better alternative for a perfect breakfast? Perhaps meatballs? Everybody likes meatballs!
Aside from that and the threat of, I don’t know, annihilation of Ravka? Lord Voldemort – sorry, I mean the rather more attractive Darkling taking over the world? something like that, anyhow… aside from that, Alina is very busy pondering and explaining the many reasons why her kefta should be certain colours. And by certain colours I mean not black. Cause she can’t dress like the Darkling! That’s just no good, as far as Alina is considered. Too bad, really, cause I think if they added some sparkles to the black blackness, they could really ~shine.
There are a lot of fashion choices to be made, of course, and black is only the colour of my true love’s hair, right? I don’t know why Alina didn’t go for something daring that could’ve served as a mirror-thingy to amplify and direct her magical sun power…
… or something that would illuminate just how hot the sun can be…
… but I guess she knows best what suits her, right? It’s not like that never ticked off the jury, or anything. Alina, feel free to go against your make-up artist and costume designer, but don’t be surprised when you stick out like Madonna’s boobs in the 80s.
All in all Siege and Storm was interesting, but as Ren mentioned in her review of Shadow and Bone the world it is set in lacks details and it doesn’t improve in Siege and Storm. I enjoyed the story and the fact that is not set in a Western sort of world, but generally, I’m rather disappointed. It was gripping, yes, and I was really into the political changes and both Alina’s and Sturmhond’s roles in it but I’m not really satisfied. I still can’t recall why I loved Shadow and Bone. Sorry, Alina, but I feel like you’ve reached your tether and we can’t let you move on into the final of Ravka’s Next Top Model. And as for Mal… I understand that you really rock that ~peasant roughspun~ look and the whole ~woe is me, my girlfriend is powerful and other people like her~ jealousy thing, but it’s not going to get you on a catwalk anytime soon.
Fingers crossed that
Jack Harkness Sturmhond is gonna take them all by surprise and miraculously win not just a contract with a world renowned model agency but also a fancy car ship to sail the True Sea with.