Review: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2)

The second book in the Grisha Trilogy is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Now, second books are usually the worst in the series and don’t try to argue with me on that. Y’all know it’s the truth! Okay, well maybe except for Golden Son by Pierce Brown, because that book absolutely kicked ass. But yes, for the most part the second books are usually a downgrade from the first. I even sometimes wonder if writers do this on purpose so the final installment seems even way more awesome than the second book. Admit it, you’re thinking the same thing now! Luckily for Bardugo, I didn’t feel that Siege and Storm was a step down from Shadow and Bone (you can find my full review of it HERE).

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.

Just like in the first book, the action picked up right from the start. There was no waiting around for 200 pages for something interesting to finally happen, which is what I like to call ‘Second Book Syndrome’. No, Bardugo immediately thrusts you right back into the thick of things and has us begging to see where Alina is headed to next (and if you’re like me – hoping that Mal dies in the process). I do know that for some, the middle dragged a bit and the pace never quite caught up until the end but for me that wasn’t really an issue. Instead of action, we got a much more thorough glimpse of the politics and power struggle that Ravka is famous for. With someone who has a degree in a political science, I found this to be insanely fascinating. Don’t worry if you don’t though, the book isn’t all politics!


Siege and Storm still finds Alina a bit whiney and in over her head in regards to where her journey has taken her. However, I was much more pleased with the way she begins to handle the situation. She finally finds a backbone and has learned to take control instead of running from her problems as she cries, “why me?” (if you read the first book then you know what I mean!). Also, her interactions with Nikolai are the best of the entire series, seriously.

Which leads me to Nikolai… Can I just say, that without him this series would have felt incomplete? I can? You agree with me? Oh good! It’s true. In Shadow and Bone, I thought there was something missing. I wasn’t sure if I just wasn’t connecting with the characters or if Bardugo just isn’t a character writer. It’s how I felt, sue me! Other than the Darkling, all of the characters were boring and shallower than I don’t know what. Lucky for me, Nikolai was able to change that! He is funny, charismatic, mysterious, and quite a bit manipulative. So basically he’s the Darkling but with humor! You’re already in love with after reading that description, aren’t you? His conversations and interactions with Alina helped her become a better leader in my opinion. He didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear but taught her to face her destiny. Which, after Mal and the annoying way he acts, she needed this.


Mal. His behavior in this book infuriated me. He was even more selfish than before and I’m not even sure how that’s possible but it happened. He’s even more controlling and emotionally stifling for Alina than the Darkling. He keeps trying to influence her and change the way she is by telling her that he shouldn’t be here, blah blah blah. He knows that will make her second guess her choices and think that it would be better if she just left Ravka to its own devices. What a freaking jerk.

The Darkling is still being his deviant self and wreaking havoc. We see just enough of him to keep it interesting but he’s not so much a focal point as he was during Shadow and Bone. Don’t worry though, he definitely makes some grand entrances!

I would say that this book was pretty equal to its predecessor. It was well written, full of excitement, and throws in some important tidbits here and there that you may blink and miss if you aren’t careful. I also appreciated that we get to see more of the world, rather than just trotting around Ravka the whole time. I still think that characters are a bit of a weak spot but it’s getting better (thank you, Nikolai!). THAT ENDING THOUGH. Fabulous, simply fabulous. I wasn’t expecting it and neither will you. If you are one of those people who got/gets bored during the middle of this book, the ending more than makes up for it so stick around!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Review: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1)

Normally, when I hear about books that everyone is obsessed with, I tend to get excited but a little leery. I let my expectations get the best of me just to see them not met. That sucks. Lucky for me, Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo was able to hit those expectations.

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.

Bardugo is a master world creator. Ravka is brought to life so wonderfully and with so many details that slip into it effortlessly. History is wonderful so the fact that Bardugo modeled Ravka after Imperial Russia? Flawless, absolutely flawless. History buffs will appreciate comparing and contrasting the two. Okay, okay, that may just be a me thing because I definitely enjoyed it. She was able to mirror Imperial Russia just the right amount to impress me and help me to better visualize Ravka, yet not enough to where it lost the fantasy aspect.

I also enjoyed the flow and pace of the plot. There was action right from the start, which for me really helps to grab my attention and keeps me interested. Yet, it did slow down enough throughout that you didn’t feel like you were just jumping from one scene to the next (I absolutely hate when that happens). Don’t worry about getting bored though, there’s so much to the story that it will keep you turning page after page to see what happens next!


Alina. Where do I even begin? She’s the main protagonist but I felt her to be a bit of the cliché type that has permeated YA books, the really small and unattractive girl who has always been weak. Listen, I get that there are tons of small girls out there but come on man, YA has basically created an army of them by now. I understand that it’s supposed to be the weak and unassuming that rise to be the hero in the fairy tales and stories but it’s getting a little old now. Tiny? Check. Weak? Check. Orphan? Check. Self-confidence issues? Check. In love with her best friend? Check. Whiny? Check… Guys, I could keep going on with this and the list would just pile up. Do you see what I mean? Maybe this is just an issue that I have but I prefer my protagonists to be kicking ass and taking names. Let’s make her 6’3 with a mind as sharp as her longsword and her tongue just as deadly (and by that I mean her words not her actual tongue).

Her best friend and the love her life, Mal? He’s just blah. He brings nothing to the table to make me think, what a cool dude. Nothing, zip, nada. I’ll be honest, when he disappeared for a while, I was so glad and was hoping he would die in a hunting accident. There was just no depth there. He was the same person throughout the whole book, selfish with his head stuck up his butt.

Oh, Darkling, what would I have done without you? This was a character I could love. In the  immortal words of Shrek, “Darklings are like onions. Onions have layers, Darklings have layers!” Okay, maybe he didn’t say it exactly like that but close enough that it still fits in this situation. The Darkling was such a great character. He was vicious, calculating, mysterious, insane, and oozed sex appeal. Girls, you’ll love him. He’s that character that you absolutely love to hate and can’t get enough of. The best scenes in the book were the ones with him. Easily.


Writing style, plot, and world building was incredible for this story. Bardugo did a fantastic job of creating a story that drew you in and took you to a completely fantastic world. I mean, there’s a reason I finished this book in just two days, it was great. However, I do think that there were a lack of interesting and likable characters, for me at least. I never felt connected to Alina. There was something about her relationship with Mal that just kept me from rooting for them to be together, as well. For me, I was more interested in The Darkling and secondary characters such as Genya. But all in all, that didn’t bother me enough to keep me from finishing this book and I highly encourage for those of you who haven’t read this to try it out for yourselves!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Let me start this off by saying that I found A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to be FANTASTIC. This was my first book by Maas (I know, shocker!) and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. There was so much hype surrounding this book that I was almost tempted to not buy it because I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then have them bashed into a rock a hundred thousand times. Yes, it’s happened before. Luckily for me and my hopes, that wasn’t the case this time!

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Okay, so who here doesn’t love a good fairy tale retelling? Nobody? Wonderful, because then I’d have to ask, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!! Also, I would be doubly disappointed because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. Seriously, I’ve got to get my hand on the Beast’s library… Anyways, moving on.

I loved the Maas was able to blend faerie folklore with this classic tale. I’m a sucker for anything fairy related so I found that aspect to be very intriguing. It really worked for the overall story and plot line but for me, it seemed to take away from the Beast-aspect of Tamlin. I just didn’t find him scary. At all. I mean he was hardly ever even in beast form, most of the time he was in super gorgeous faerie mode. Come on, who wouldn’t fall for that?

This tale was pretty action packed all the way through, moving along at a very steady pace. I never found myself getting bored with the story or wishing for it just finish already (sorry, The Selection, that was a dig at you). Things really start to pick up around page 150 but don’t worry, you won’t find yourself praying that you get there before you chunk the book across the room from boredom. That would be impossible, by the way. (Of course, if you were bored with this book, I am so sorry!)

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I think my only annoyance with this book would be some of the characters. Feyre was a pretty good protagonist for the most part. I appreciate that she was the strong one in her family and really independent. Yay for girl power! However, she did tend to spend quite a bit of time whining. But because character growth is so awesome, she does grow out of it some by the end of the book. Woohoo! As for Tamlin, well I can’t say if I liked him or not. He was just there. I loved that he was very protective, loyal, and just an overall good person. But he had no personality. It’s like Maas said, “No worries, he’s hot and nice. He doesn’t need a personality.” If I was Feyre, I would’ve preferred there to be something more to him before I fell for him. But that’s just me. I tend to go for the sassy ones. Which is why my favorite characters were Lucien and Rhysand, by far. They are both complex characters and with their personal histories full of some intense emotional depth. I’m especially looking forward to getting to know Rhysand better in the next book. Needless to say, I’ve got a fever and the only cure for it is… LOVE TRIANGLE!

This book is a wonderful start to a new trilogy from Sarah J. Maas. The world she created is so whimsical and amazing that I cannot wait to see her expand on it as the series goes on. The sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, is due on May 3rd and I cannot wait. So don’t worry, guys have plenty of time to jump on the bandwagon. There’s room for everyone!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars

The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman: Is It Worth It?


As I am reading this trilogy I will update my thoughts on each book here, so be sure to keep on the lookout!

Here’s a short synopsis:

“Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn’t bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they’d imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician’s Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren’t black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.”

The Magicians, Book One: I have to say that with this book, I was at constant war with myself over if I was actually enjoying it or just being dragged along. Our main protagonist, Quentin, is a bit of a depressive whiner. He goes on and on about how nothing ever measures up to being good enough, how unhappy he is with his life, etc. Myself, I’m a sees-the-glass-half-full-type and just could not connect with him, at all. Yes, he is a teenager but he’s 18, not a brooding 15 year old. In fact, all of the characters participated in this self-destructive and mopey manner, never fully growing out of it. Time to man up there, son.

Lev Grossman is a super writer and it is pretty obvious why he’s a book critic for TIME Magazine. He certainly has a way with words which may be one of the main reasons that I was able to push myself through to finish this book. He was able to fully create a completely new world that soars above the crowded fantasy genre. I was truly engaged in Brakebills and Fillory, feeling the same need as Quentin to just lock myself away there. But come on, Lev, couldn’t you have done a bit more with Q?

The Magicians, Page 216

If only they had listened to Fogg…

The story did tend to weave in and out of exciting and boring at a steady pace throughout the book. The lulls seemed to be there to induce us into a pessimistic outlook, much like our friend Quentin had. Perhaps, as most critics and reviewers pointed out, my trouble was that I was constantly seeing the comparisons between Harry Potter and Narnia. It was a jumbled, adult mixture of the two stories.

If this was a satire on the fantasy genre in general, as has been speculated, then Grossman definitely succeed at what he set out to do. He gave us a drunken, sometimes misogynistic, self-deprecating Potter, and let him loose upon the literary world.

Final Verdict: 3/5 stars – Will finish the trilogy to see if our characters ever actually grow up. Fingers crossed.

The Magician King, Book Two: Honestly, this book made for quite engaging read when compared to the first story. It takes a while to really get to the exciting parts, but it does have a much better flow than the previous one.

There was more depth to the characters in this book, especially with Julia. She was hands down my favorite character (though Poppy is great, too!). I loved how we got her back story as well, alternating between that and the present. It really helped flesh out her character which I think was a problem when it came to Quentin, though I have developed a bit of a theory on that one. Everyone talks about the misogynistic tones that seem to be found in this trilogy, myself included. However, after reading this one and comparing it to the first book, I think Grossman is actually arguing the opposite. The male characters only perceive the women as fun sidekicks to help pass the time with (if you know what I mean), but in the end, the women end up being the actual heroes and I think that is what Grossman wants us to realize. Yay for heroines!!

Final Verdict: 4/5 stars – I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the one ends!

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The Magician’s Land, Book Three: Alright guys, I take back everything I said – this book was GREAT! Seriously, if you can make it through the first two then you are in for a treat.

You know how I have been complaining nonstop about how everyone is depressive and selfish and whiney? Well that’s the thing about book series I guess, characters actually get to develop. However, you have to wait to wait for Quentin to do it until book three. He finally loses that nobody-really-loves-or-understands-me emo nonsense and actually develops into a character that you can enjoy. I loved Q in this book. Adulthood looks good on him. I appreciated Janet’s POV in this book too. You got to see a different side to her which made me like her just a tiny bit more (though she will never be my favorite).

The plot was much more fast paced in this book than the previous two, as well. It starts out strong and never really slows down any, which I definitely appreciated. I enjoyed how all of the moving parts finally came together, with all of the characters and storylines seamlessly blended. THAT FINALE! Loved it. As the final book in this trilogy, it was definitely a winner for me. All good series should just keep getting better with each book and I am so glad that was the case here.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone if you’re looking for something a little different and/or love you some urban fantasy. If the first book doesn’t excite you, don’t worry and try to stick it out because the third book will (hopefully)!

Final Verdict: 5/5 – YAY!!!