[Book Review #34] Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Book Specifications:

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Format: Hardcover

Part of a Series: Yes. The Grisha Trilogy #2.

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

No. of Pages: 435 pages

Price: 865.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Russian, Adventure, Dystopian, Paranorma

Book Review:

The Cover: Just like the first book in the series, the cover of Siege and Storm features a silhouette of a Russian place with a dragon-like figure placed on the top. The cover would seem relevant specially to the fans and readers of this book, since an Ice Dragon was a part of the story. It was Alina’s second amplifier. With just the cover alone, a bibliophile would definitely categorize this book as a cover buy! (5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: Following the life of Ravka’s very own Sun Summoner, Alina Starkov, this sequel starts off as a continuation to Shadow and Bone, where Alina and Mal, the tracker, fended off for themselves after surviving the battle in the Shadow Fold. The story also focused on Alina and her quest to find her second and third amplifiers with the help of Mal and Nikolai, a prince of Ravka. Constantly, this was a book where Alina struggled to stay as far away as possible from The Darkling. Below are some of this book’s great (and weak) points.

  • The world building, just like in Shadow and Bone, was absolutely breathtaking. Ravka became a world where I wanted to linger in and every page was filled with wonderful facts about the Grisha world. With all this intense and mind boggling world development, a reader may not want to live outside of the setting.
  • I liked the addition of another amplifier for Alina. I liked how she grew stronger and less afraid of the Darkling each time she wakes. But what I fear to happen is for her to fully give in to the darkness. Her drive and urge to greedily search for and acquire her third amplifier is taking a toll on her which may or may not bring out not only the strength in her, but also the darkness that she’s been trying to contain for so long. Hopefully, she keeps it together.
  • One thing I disliked about Alina through out this sequel is her complaints. There wasn’t a chapter where she had no complaints. She was demanding as fudge and there were instances where she really got on my nerve with all her trying to outsmart the Darkling and all. I don’t know.
  • One more negative comment I have was that I don’t know if it’s just me or this book was incredibly slow paced. It took me two weeks to read this book and I actually squeezed in Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma while I was reading this. Maybe it’s just me. But I really don’t know. I’m having mixed feelings about this book. Hmm.

Overall, I felt like something was missing from this sequel. I wanted to love this book but something about it just seemed off to me. But then again, maybe it’s just me. (2 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* The last few pages of this book was absolutely action-packed! I didn’t know what to expect because every page will really have a reader on the edge of their seats, waiting in anticipation as to what will happen next. And the part where Alina Starkov has finally come face to face with the Darkling was such an intense scene. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I loved that about the ending! And as for the wait for the next book, I have to say that I need to read the conclusion to this series soon. (3 out of 5 stars)


The Verdict: Being the second book of this trilogy, I was expecting quite a lot from it since most of my favorite books in a trilogy  are usually the second book (Prodigy, Catching Fire, Insurgent), but with this one, I really don’t know. I have mixed feelings about this because I felt like it was so slow I actually had to read a different book to get me out of a slump. Hopefully, the third book in the series redeems it for me. (3.33 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“The less you say, the more weight your words will carry.”

“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”

“Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea.”

“I have loved you all my life, Mal. There is no end to our story.”

“Oh, and the easiest way to make someone furious is to tell her to calm down.”

“Sturmhond had a way of talking that made me want to shoot someone. Preferably him.”

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[Stacking The Shelves #4] May 2015 Bookhaul

IMG_3771These books were all purchased within the month of May, and I must say that my book buying game has gone to an all new level. I acquired a discount from a specific bookstore last May 3, and I took a good advantage of it. And as some of you may know, May is the last month of my classes and on the month’s last week, I went on a haul to reward myself for my hard work this semester. Below are some details of my haul.

  1. The Selection by Kiera Cass – Hardbound, from National Book Store – PhP625.00
  2. The Elite by Kiera Cass – Hardbound, from National Book Store – PhP625.00
  3. The One by Kiera Cass – Hardbound, from Powerbooks, Trinoma – PhP649.00
  4. The Heir by Kiera Cass – Hardbound, from National Book Store, SM North Edsa – PhP685.00
  5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Hardbound, from Powerbooks Greenbelt – PhP865.00
  6. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – Hardbound, from Powerbooks Greenbelt – PhP865.00
  7. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – Hardbound, from Powerbooks Trinoma – PhP899.00
  8. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover – Trade Paperback, from National Book Store – PhP609.00
  9. Looking for Alaska 10th Anniversary Edition Signed Copy by John Green – Hardbound, from National Book Store – PhP839.00
  10. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno – Hardbound, from National Book Store – PhP649.00
  11. This Girl by Colleen Hoover – Trade Paperback, from National Book Store – PhP595.00
  12. Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover – Trade Paperback, from National Book Store – PhP595.00
  13. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – Hardbound, from National Book Store – PhP385.00
  14. Slammed by Colleen Hoover – Trade Paperback, from Powerbooks Trinoma – Php609.00
  15. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – Trade Paperback, from National Book Store – PhP665.00

I, personally, want to thank my parents, for never having failed to give my allowance from which these books were from. And I would like to thank a friend for granting me discounts from your store. You are heaven sent! And lastly, my discount cards for always being reliable whenever I go on book hauls. Lastly, I want to thank the Lord for allowing me to make this possible! Life is so good right now! 🙂

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[Book Review #30] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

Book Specifications:

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Format: Hardcover

Part of a Series: Yes. The Grisha Trilogy #1.

Release Date: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

No. of Pages: 368 pages

Price: 865.00Php

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Russian, Adventure, Dystopian, Paranormal

Book Review:

The Cover: The cover features a Russian type of infrastructure with abstract designs on both sides of the book. The color patterns are attractive and so is the font. The font might be one of my favorites, used in a book cover. I absolutely loved it! And just by looking at the cover, you could guess that it’s of Russian inspiration. Russian culture happens to be one I am most interested in. So, I’m giving this a good rating. (5 out of 5 stars)

The Story: The story is focused on a girl named Alina Starkov, whose self discovery of her powers, and her being the Sun Summoner got the best of her all through out the book, her best friend, Malyen Oretsev, and The Darkling, the mysterious and dark force who leads the Grisha. The Grisha, on the other hand, are an elite force of humans that have varying “magical” talents, who the country of Ravka relies on for their safety against their enemies. Just like in most of my reviews, some important details of the story are listed down below:

  • I loved how the story was focused on or was based on Russian culture. I haven’t read any books that were written with a different inspiration. I found this fact interesting, and it drove me more to read about the story behind Alina, Mal, and the rest of the characters.
  • At first, I really didn’t like how whiny our Sun Summoner was. She had complaints all the time, and at first, as she was trying to cope up with her newly discovered powers, and duties as the sun summoner, it was understandable. But she wouldn’t move on from the fact that there was nothing she can do but to deal with it and man up. She just started embracing what she really was when I was like about to put the book down, which lead me to read it some more.
  • After reading quite a number of contemporaries and romance novels: (Confess, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, The Heir), I decided to take a break and start reading this book to relieve me of those feels. And, to be honest, this book worked like a charm. Shadow and Bone was filled with action, tension, and adventure which took me out of my contemporary streak. It’s a good action novel, thanks to the story.
  • I absolutely adore the beginning of Alina and Mal’s love story. They are best friends. Practically like brothers and sisters, and although they started growing separately before, faith and destiny do have a knack of messing things up just to make sure that the right people end up with the right people. And with that said, I would like to point out that the relationship of our two protagonists, wasn’t the perfect one. But I certainly want to know more as to where it might go.
  •  Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I seriously felt like this book was absolutely slow-paced. It took me a week to read it, when, usually, it would only take me 3 days. Especially with the fact that it’s an action and fantasy type of novel. But, I don’t know. There was something about it that slowed me down. Maybe it’s Alina’s bucket of complaints.

Overall, I liked the story. It stayed true to it’s genre, it’s theme, and the Russian references, to me, were sufficient. I’m looking forward to read the two remaining books in the trilogy, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. Hopefully, it still lives up to it’s hype. (4 out of 5 stars)

The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.*  I totally fret for Mal’s sake!!! I was afraid he’ll die in the hands of The Darkling, but thankfully, Alina was able to summon the power of her amplifier, the antlers of the Morozova’s stag, and be the badass female she was ought to become! She flew out of the Shadow Fold and was able to free both her and Malyen from the evil clutches of The Darkling. For an ending to a beginning of a trilogy, I say that’s pretty impressive! (4 out of 5 stars)


The Verdict: As I have stated above, Shadow and Bone was a great beginning to the Grisha Trilogy. This novel just set a standard that needs to either be maintained or surpassed by the next two novels in the series. Hopefully, just like this one, they don’t disappoint. (4.33 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” – Malyen Oretsev

“The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.” – The Darkling

“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.” – Malyen Oretsev

“I hate hiding how much the stupid things he did hurt me, but I hated the idea of him finding out even more.” – Alina Starkov

“I had spared the stag’s life. The power of that life belonged to me as surely as it belonged to the man who had taken it.” – Alina Starkov

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