4.5 out of 5 stars
My entire imagination could fit on one page of a Leigh Bardugo book.
This is a 5-star book if you haven’t read the Six of Crows duology. Set in the same world, the Grishaverse trilogy is the timeless, sweeping legend behind the gritty knife’s edge of Six of Crows. Both are brilliant, but they’re bulls-eyes in different targets – and Six of Crows was a tougher shot, by a more experienced hand. That doesn’t make the Grishaverse any less spectacular.
Orphan-turned-incredibly powerful Grisha Alina Starkov survived the Darkling’s original plot to maximize and monopolize her power. She escaped across the hell of the Fold with her lifelong best friend, Mal. In Seige and Storm, Alina must decide who and what she’ll fight for, and how. With a supporting cast of perfectly sketched, always surprising characters, Alina and the Darkling are among the most riveting hero/villain nemeses I’ve read. They travel the known world, chasing legends, solving puzzles, and blurring the lines between good and evil, and between themselves. It’s high adventure for your head and heart.
What I love most about Leigh Bardugo is the effortlessness of her romance. It’s sigh-inducing and gut-punching and you’ll bury your face in the book to scream, but it’s so natural. Romance weaves itself around the conflict, living in the lines where it’s not written. It is and is not the heart of the story. The requisite love triangles (and squares) exist, but they’re tuned to perfection. In comparison, other writers’ romances are anvils falling on your head. Bardugo turns the “everyone loves fill-in-the-blank heroine” idea into something you want, instead of an inevitable trope you dread.
Gah, these books are so good! I couldn’t get the next (and final) book, Ruin and Rising, open quickly enough. Review to follow, if there’s anything left of me.