Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I can sum up everything I don't like about this book in two names.
Alina and Mal.
Of course, there was that long, long, middle sequence with the nobels and the marriage proposals and the election to sainthood literally nothing happening, but other than that, yeah, my problem is with Alina and Mal.
I never got into either of them in the first book and I never got into them in the second. Together. Apart. It doesn't matter. I feel greater sympathy for practically all of the minor characters and about five or six times more sympathy for the Darkling than Alina.
I was never convinced of their love, and all the high-school antics just reminds me why I have issues with YA. I wanted adventure and magic and great derring-do. Instead I have to sit through more love triangles between princes and Mal? Mal? Broody boring lame Mal? MOVE ON.
And Alina? I've been looking for any sign that she's more complex and multidimensional, the way a good MC should be, but instead, I've resorted to wishing she'd just side with the Darkling all the way and reign over all the lands with that fascinating man as "the Sun and the Moon" or some such nonsense. Hell, maybe then the truly enormous death toll would have been good for something besides trying to pluck on my heartstrings that have been left too far out of tune for too long on characters I should have been loving, but are simply leaving me flat.
Don't get me wrong. I just came glowing out of Six of Crows and know this author has it in her to make a nicely complicated tale with lots of interesting characters AND the ability to make a tough love work. Even the worldbuilding is a lot better in Six of Crows.
I did like almost all of the action sequences. Nickolai was fun, and the Darkling was divine. I didn't precisely *hate* anything at all. I just didn't care about the MC. I'll continue, but I hope to hell Mal does a stage left. :)
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