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Reading, Writing and Being Generally Awesome

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Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo Leigh Bardugo has to be one of my favorite authors. She may only have one (almost two) books released, but based on the fantastic tales she's written thus far, I'd say she breathes perfection. With characters that are easy to connect with, prose that fits the plot, and a detailed storyline that has its audience on the edge of their seats, Leigh gives us the second installment of The Grisha Trilogy, Siege and Storm, which I felt was even better than the first (and I love, love, loved the first one).It's hard to really describe the plot of Siege and Storm without spoiling the entire story because the bulk of the main events happen in the first third of the novel. What I can say is that Alina goes through hell in this book. She battles with more than just the leftover conflicts from the first book. She also must face the people of her country, her love for Mal and come to terms with what she wants for herself, all while straddling the line of reality and fantasy. Watching everything unfold was… magnificent. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, I shouted my feelings. At one point or another, I felt every emotion ever.The characters frustrated the hell out of me, but I loved them with my entire being. Even Mal, who I felt very meh about in book one, tugged at my heartstrings and made me fall in love with him. Alina, though she grew stronger in this book, did not always make the most agreeable decisions. Both she and Mal will have readers gnashing their teeth to keep from uselessly shouting at them as they make mistakes. (Which they are prone to do.) We are introduced to several new characters, including the hilarious, Sturmhond, who adds much needed comedic relief as the reader drowns in drama and tension. This book also delves further into the ones who we grew to love (or hate) in the Shadow and Bone. The Darkling's role in this book is not as large as it was in the previous book. This has been an issue from some of my friends, but in my opinion, the book was perfect the way it was and the focus on Alina's struggles was fit right in with what has been built up in the story. Huge fans of The Darkling and the romance in this series may not be as receptive to the turn Leigh takes this novel, but I believe everyone can find something to love in this installment.What I really love about Leigh's work is she has this fantastic way of taking complex ideas and simplifying them so the reader can understand and enjoy them without making it seem condescending. Normally, fantasy is not my favorite genre because of the extreme details, but I did not have that problem in Siege and Storm. In fact, every little detail only drew me further into the story. The author has created an absolutely fascinating world for this series. Not only did the setting enchant me, but the plot moved steadily and almost seamlessly. It's a bit slower than Shadow and Bone, but it really sets up for a phenomenal finish to the series.The final book in this trilogy will be released next year. I cannot wait to read it, but I'm also sad that it is coming to an end. Siege and Storm is a beautiful addition to a glorious series. If you enjoyed the first book, I believe you will be blown away by book two. And then, you'll be stuck waiting with me until next year. If you haven't read Shadow and Bone, go forth and do so now. You won't regret it! This review can be seen on my blog as wellI received an ARC of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review.