The Grishaverse world is deepening in this second book in the trilogy. Even though I was not as excited reading this as I was while reading “Shadow and Bone” it still had something that kept me glued to it.
Alina and Mal flew away after their survival from the Darkling and the expansion of The Fold. Alina is drifting away, as she avoids using her power and she tries to hide the stag’s collar all the time, so as not to give them away. Taste fades away, as well as rest during sleeping hours. She is becoming the miserable little thing she was while growing up. She misses her power and the certainty it would give her, the will for life.
Eventually, the Darkling finds them and captures them both. He has a new plan. There is a second amplifier and he wants to find it. Mal is the best tracker and he will use one against the other in order to have both Alina and Mal cooperate. The Darkling is working with the sturmhond, a privateer with a loyal crew. Turns out that the privateer has his own agenda and he helps Alina and Mal escape the Darkling, offering them his help and his crew. They will find the second amplifier and Alina will become more powerful. More powerful to save Ravka from that monster. That’s if she doesn’t lose herself in the process.
Alina flowers again when she starts using her powers once more. Finding herself is not something she can deny as well as the fact that she wants to save Ravka. She likes being a Grisha and she believes she can do a lot with Mal on her side. Only that Mal is just a man, he doesn’t have powers and the fact that life is a little different for the Grisha Alina than the Alina he knows does not fit well. Men have weaknesses and Mal has his own.
This story reveals that there are Grisha outside the Little Palace. Ones that have not taken the test and are not under the Darkling’s influence. Ones that are not even Ravkan. This adds up to the world built and allows more exploration of what my lay around the Ravkan boarders.
All in all, the story continues from where the first book left it. Only now Alina has totally understood the power she has and what she could possibly achieve with this power. She could become the savior of Ravka or she could become a monster worst than the Darkling. She is connected with him, either she likes it or not. Morovova’s stag has created that connection. She doesn’t know where it would lead, but she will go with the flow, until she finds her purpose.
However, we don’t see much of the Darkling in this story. For the most part of the narration, the Darkling is not present, but his remembrance is. When he does appear though, he is his own powerful self and at the same time he is also lonely and sensitive and someone that wants to be loved. Not something I would expect from him, even though there were some moments of weakness shown in “Shadow and Bone”.
There is one more character we meet in “Siege and Storm”. Nikolai Lantsov is the king’s second son, the one that has been away from the palace for many years. He is back now and he will do his best for his country, his family, his people. Nikolai is a man that can take many forms, depending on the occasion. He is one I expect to see more of in the third installment as well as on the “Six of Crows” duology. And I can’t wait!