Double Review: Siege & Storm and Ruin & Rising

I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow and Bone when I read it on vacation in May, and was excited that I would get to read the second and third books of the trilogy so soon. And thankfully, I was not disappointed.

grisha2&3I am not really going to talk about each book individually, but here were the highlights of both of the books for me:

– Sturmhond *highlight for spoilers*/Nikolai and his humor and his personality and basically everything about him.

– The pacing in Siege and Storm was amazing! It started with a bang and never let me go.

– The plot was always thickening, the stakes always raising… basically, Bargdugo is excellent at crafting a riveting story.

– The FEELS.

– The ending was absolutely perfect. To remain vague… Part of what happened, I had wanted since the first book but didn’t think was possible, a couple parts I wanted since the first book and thought them possible and were glad they happened, and the rest I couldn’t have dreamed of. It was all just great, exactly what it needed to be… not perfectly happy, but happy with a cost and a perfectly satisfying conclusion for the reader.

I did have a few small problems, however…

– The pacing of the first half of Ruin and Rising was slow and weird for me. The whole first part with the Apparet and being underground just old quick for me and I was ready to move on.

– For some reason, I started to like Alina and Mal’s relationship a little less with each book. *highlight for spoilers* I was still rooting for them overall, but I don’t know, it just became less appealing. While reading, I almost wondered what it would be like if Alina did start to like Nikolai, even though I didn’t want her to flake out on Mal either. I know, it’s so complicated. But I am happy they did end up together at last. By the way, I don’t understand anyone who is Team Darkling. He’s so evil, why do you love him?! But I digress… 

– Even though these books did give me feels, I still felt slightly distanced from the characters (which I mentioned in my review of Shadow and Bone) for reasons I can’t really express. I think I just never really connected with any of them fully. I find the storytelling and the world of The Grisha Trilogy its strong suits, and while I liked the characters, they’re a bit weaker in comparison to the overall story or in comparison to the characters of, oh let’s say The Hunger Games, where I was completely emotionally invested in virtually all its characters. I wanted that with these books, and never got it. But to be clear, I did care about Alina, Mal, and some of the others and their well-being, it just wasn’t quite to the extent that I fully hope for.

The amazingness of this trilogy really outweighs my complaints though, and I would highly recommend this series to anyone thinking about checking it out. Each book gets 4.5 stars from me.

4-5stars-editContent advisory: Mild language, violence, and a somewhat fade-to-black, very discreetly, not-at-all-graphically written sex scene. 

Also, check out these reviews that I enjoyed and are a more eloquently written than this one:

Sana’s review of Siege and Storm

Brittany’s review of Ruin and Rising

Are you a fan of The Grisha Trilogy? What are your thoughts on the series as a whole? Or have you started and not finished (then what are you waiting for?!)? 

10 Responses to Double Review: Siege & Storm and Ruin & Rising

  1. Guilty Darkling fan here! I know he was pretty evil in the 2nd and 3rd book, but I think I had a glimmer of hope for him in the first book, and that really carried me through and I was hoping to see the good in him. 🙂 But I think everything worked out exactly as it should have, so it was fantastic the way Leigh crafted everyone’s journeys. I’m so glad you enjoyed this series! Although I would also rank The Hunger Games as a better series overall in many ways. 🙂

    Thank you for linking to my review too!

    • No problem; I really enjoyed your review! I almost saw the appeal of The Darkling at the beginning of the book, but when Alina for the first time said he was evil I was like, yep, totally agree! I’m glad she never fell for him again and went back and forth because that would have been so annoying!

  2. I am a Darkling fan as well..I think he is an interesting character whose motivations though evil and twisted are interesting in that II think HE believes that what he is doing is for the good of his people and views himself as doing what needs to be done..when really he is becoming a fascist leader and really the world he wants to create is one no would want to live in. Still that idea is really interesting, the idea of the villain who believes he is actually good etc.
    I admit to a fondness as well for Nikolai..I don’t think they would have been a good match and ultimately Alina ends up with the person who loves her for herself which makes sense. Still I hope in her next book series we see him again and that he gets his own romance!

  3. I loved the first two in the series, but somehow didn’t love the last one. I wish I would have read them back to back. I agree on not being invested in all the characters. Plus, I found the pacing weird throughout. I just don’t know why. If it was mood or not reading it close enough to Siege and Storm.
    I loved the character of Nikolai and I want her to make a whole book for just him!

  4. Oh my gosh, more positive reviews for Ruin and Rising! T_T My self-control isn’t going to last very long anymore thanks to you, Amy. Kidding, I’m more than happy to let my self-control crumble when it comes to Leigh Bardugo, haha. I LOVED Nikolai in Siege and Storm — maybe not as much as many other people, but he was still one of the most entertaining characters ever, and his WIT. *fans self* I’m hoping I’ll get to love him more in the third book, because he’s such an awesome character! Another thing I liked a lot about Siege & Storm was how we’re shown that Alina is not immune to power. I don’t know, but most of the YA books these days have heroines so pure and innocent and goody that they’re unrealistic. Alina, though, was power-hungry and was willing to sacrifice others to get what she wanted. I thought that made her more human that way.

    I’m kind of disappointed the first half of R&R was slowish. You know me, I can’t stand boring books, so I hope that won’t be much of a problem. And lol, I think I’m one of the few who still ships Alina and Mal together? I’m a supporter of both Darklina and Malina because both the Darkling and Mal are so swoony. xD

    Anyway, I’m glad that you were able to enjoy these two books overall, despite those minor issues! Great review, Amy!

    • I agree about how great it is that Alina is still human and not so special she can withstand power!

      Ruin and Rising is never really boring, but like I said, some of it wasn’t moving as quickly as I would have liked, especially considering the bar Bardugo had set for fast pacing in Siege and Storm.

      I still mostly shipped Mal and Alina, but their relationship did wear on me for reasons I still can’t explain. But as I said, I think everything ends up perfectly. I’m looking forward to your review when you have the chance to read it, Meg!

  5. I love reading other people’s reviews of these books 🙂 And this is a great one. Yes, more Nikolai! Since we are friends I will confess to you my deep, dark, book secret. I didn’t connect with the characters in the Hunger Games that much. *I shall run and hide now* But this series I have to admit, I loved the characters. I was so engaged with them I didn’t notice all sorts of things, like my sister just read Siege and Storm and she picked up on this moment with Mal and Alina that I totally glossed over the first time because I was so caught up in, “oh! This is the moment she tells him and everything’s going to be ok again.” and then of course it wasn’t but that’s how I missed it. I totally picked up on it in the reread, though and that propelled me through Ruin and Rising some. Ruin and Rising just took the characters so much deeper for me and made them so much more complex. In some ways there was a very Battlestar Galactica feel to Ruin and Rising that I don’t know if I can articulate. But it was dark and complex and wonderful all at the same time for me.

    • Yet another reminder that I need to watch Battlestar Gallactica! I hate that the Hunger Games characters didn’t connect for you! Maybe it had something to do with when I read the books (when I was in a reading drought), but for some reason I just really connected with all of them!

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