Buy This Book Buy This Series
Other books by Leigh Bardugo
Other books you may enjoy

“I can give you the chance to change Ravka," said Sturmhond. "I can give you a chance to bring your people hope."  –Siege and Storm

Siege and Storm

Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2

by Leigh Bardugo
AR Test, Strong Female

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

After narrowly escaping the Darkling and his army, Alina and Mal are on the run. They try to make a new life for themselves in Novyi Zem, but they have to be careful. Alina, the Sun Summoner, is hardly inconspicuous wearing her amplifier made from Morozova’s stag as a collar, and the Darkling has spies everywhere. 

But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies. They aren’t in Novyi Zem long before the Darkling finds them. He captures them and brings them on a ship led by Sturmhond, a famous privateer. The Darkling intends to drag Alina and Mal back to Ravka and continue expanding the Fold. But first, he is determined to hunt down the sea whip – the second in the triad of Morozova’s legendary creatures that can be used as powerful amplifiers – and force Alina to kill it and claim its scales as a second amplifier. This would magnify her summoning abilities and give the Darkling access to even more of Alina’s power.  

But Sturmhond and his crew are not what they seem. When they turn on the Darkling, Alina finds herself with powerful allies and renewed hope. Her new alliance with Nikolai Lantsov, the ever-witty and incredibly charming second-born prince of Ravka, throws her into Ravkan political dealings. Ravka’s precarious position in world politics means the country cannot be saved with Grisha power alone. Alina begins accompanying Nikolai to war council meetings as Ravka attempts to broker peace treaties with its neighboring countries, and she quickly realizes that Ravka was in much greater danger than she ever imagined. But will all of Alina’s efforts be enough to stand against the Darkling, who remains Ravka’s greatest domestic threat? And can Alina and Mal’s strained relationship survive Alina’s growing power and importance? 

If writing a good first book in a trilogy is hard, then writing a good sequel is even more strenuous. But Siege and Storm electrically picks up Alina’s story right where it left off and keeps the momentum going all the way to the end. The plot involves many twists and turns and never lets readers be lulled into a false sense of security. From heart-stopping action scenes to breathtaking exchanges between characters, there is never a dull moment. 

In Siege and Storm, Bardugo fleshes out her world even more, expanding on Ravka’s function as a country by placing it into a larger “world” context. Readers learn about this complicated history along with Alina, so the new information is masterfully woven throughout the story. Alina is a fascinating narrator, and readers get to experience her thought process and understand how and why she makes her decisions. Alina is not a perfect heroine by any means, but her flaws are what make her relatable. Even when she makes mistakes, she strives to fix them, and her self-awareness, compassion, and perseverance are traits that make her an admirable protagonist.  

Siege and Storm brings back all of the fan-favorite characters from the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone. Plus, several new characters are introduced that are equally quotable and loveable. Bardugo delves even deeper into her characters, forcing them to confront their darkest demons and complicating their relationships with each other. As tensions rise and power dynamics shift, Alina and her friends and allies must fight to remain united in the face of the real threats instead of turning against each other and letting their jealousies and vulnerabilities win. Siege and Storm ends on a dramatic cliffhanger that will leave readers excited beyond measure to get their hands on the next (and final) book in the series, Ruin and Rising.  

Sexual Content 

  • Mal kisses Alina harder than usual when they are in private. “His tone was light, but when his lips met mine, there was nothing playful in his kiss. He tasted of heat and newly ripe pears from the Duke’s garden. I sensed hunger in the slant of his mouth, an unfamiliar edge to his need that sent restless sparks burning through me. I came up on my toes, circling my arms around his neck, feeling the length of my body melt into his. He had a soldier’s strength, and I felt it in the hard bands of his arms, the pressure of his fingers as his fist bunched in the silk at the small of my back and he drew me against him. There was something fierce and almost desperate in the way he held me, as if he could not have me close enough.” 
  • During a fight, Mal tells Alina that he distances himself from her to protect her position as a leader. “‘Why do you think people asked me on the royal hunt? The first thing? They wanted to know about me and you.’ He turned on me, and when he spoke his voice was cruel, mocking. ‘Is it true that you’re tumbling the Sun Summoner? What’s it like with a Saint? Does she have a taste for trackers, or does she take all of her servants to her bed?’” 


  • Alina has nightmares. “Sometimes she dreamed of broken skiffs with black sails and decks slick with blood, of people crying out in the darkness. But worse were the dreams of a pale prince who pressed his lips to her neck, who placed his hands on the collar that circled her throat and called forth her power in a blaze of bright sunlight.” 
  • The Darkling describes how he will punish Alina if Mal refuses to track the sea whip [a dragon]. “Because every day we don’t find the sea whip, I’ll peel away a piece of her skin. Slowly. Then Ivan will heal her, and the next day, we’ll do it all over again.”
  • The Darkling and Sturmhond’s crew capture and kill the sea whip. “Beads of water flew from [the sea whip’s] mane, and its massive jaws opened, revealing a pink tongue and rows of gleaming teeth. It came down on the nearest boat with a loud crash of splintering wood. The slender craft split in two, and men poured into the sea. The dragon’s maw snapped closer over a sailor’s legs and he vanished, screaming, beneath the waves.” This scene is described over three pages. 
  • After Sturmhond’s crew turn on the Darkling and become Alina’s allies, the Darkling and his army attack them. “Pistol shots rang out. The air came alive with Inferni fire. ‘To me, hounds!’ Sturmhond shouted, and plunged into action, a saber in his hands.” This scene occurs over 10 pages. The following two bullet points happen during this scene. 
  • Ivan, the Darkling’s right-hand man, is killed by Tolya, one of Sturmhond’s crew members: “The fingers of Tolya’s outstretched hand curled into a fist. Ivan convulsed. His eyes rolled up in his head. A bubble of blood blossomed and burst on his lips. He collapsed onto the deck.”  
  • The Darkling unleashes his nichevo’ya, or shadow monsters, on Alina and her allies. “The nichevo’ya reached the masts of the schooner, whirling around the sails, plucking sailors from the rigging like fruit. Then they were skittering down onto the deck. Mal fired again and again as the crewmen drew their sabers, but bullets and blades seemed only to slow the monsters. Their shadow bodies wavered and re-formed, and they just kept coming.” Sturmhond’s crew manages to confuse the nichevo’ya long enough to escape. 
  • Sturmhond tells Alina she needs to be more ruthless, and tells her how he earned the respect of his crew. The first time he ever tried to board an enemy ship, the captain laughed at him and mocked him, so Sturmhond “cut off his fingers and fed them to [his] dog while [the captain] watched.” 
  • Mal spars with other Grisha soldiers in practice fighting matches. “Eskil [a minor character who is Grisha] let out a loud oof as Mal clamped his arms around him, keeping the Grisha’s limbs pinned so that he couldn’t summon his power. The big Fjerdan snarled, muscles straining, teeth bared as he tried to break Mal’s hold. . . Mal tightened his grip. He shifted, then drove his forehead into [Eskil’s] nose with a nauseating crunch. Before I could blink, he’d released Eskil and hammered a flurry of punches into [Eskil]’s gut and sides.” This scene occurs over three pages. 
  • Alina wanders outside the city and encounters the Ravkan peasants who congregate outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of Sankta (or Saint) Alina. They crowd around her, trying to get close to her and touch her. “The bodies pressed tighter, pushing and shoving, shouting at each other, each wanting to be nearer. My feet lost contact with the ground. I cried out as a chunk of my hair was ripped from my scalp. They were going to tear me apart.” Tolya and Tamar, Alina’s bodyguards, rescue her before it’s too late, and Alina is left shaken but uninjured.  
  • The Darkling and his nichevo’ya attack the Grand Palace after Vasily, Ravka’s lazy and arrogant crown prince, double-crosses his brother, Nikolai. Nikolai is Alina’s ally and friend, and he had plans to save both Alina and Ravka. However, many people die in this nichevo’ya attack. Vasily, Alina, and many others are injured. This scene occurs over 13 pages, with several interludes for dialogue.  
  • During the fight, “Vasily lifted his saber high and charged, bellowing with rage. Mal stepped in front of me, raising his sword to block the blow. But before Vasily could bring down his weapon, a nichevo’ya grabbed hold of him and tore his arm from its socket, sword and all. He stood for a moment, swaying, blood pumping from his wound, then dropped to the floor in a lifeless heap.” 
  • Alina attacks the nichevo’ya to save her friends. “Another pack of nichevo’ya descended from the windows, clawing their way toward Nikolai and his mother. I had to take a chance. I brought the light down in two blazing arcs, cutting through one monster after another, barely missing one of the generals who crouched cowering on the floor. People were screaming and weeping as the nichevo’ya fell upon them.” Alina and many of her friends, including Mal, escape, but they don’t know whether or not Nikolai was able to get to safety. 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • Novyi Zem is the center of the jurda trade. Jurda is a stimulant people use to stay awake. For example, “Zemeni men liked to tuck the dried [jurda] blooms between lip and gum, and even the women carried them in embroidered pouches that dangled from their wrists. Each store window [Alina] passed advertised different brands: Brightleaf, Shade, Dhoka, the Burly.” 
  • When Mal returns from a hunt, he tells Alina about how he and the other Grisha who went on the hunt entertained themselves. “We spent more time every day playing cards and drinking kvas [an alcoholic beverage analogous to beer] than anything else. And some duke got so drunk he passed out in the river. He almost drowned. His servants hauled him out by his boots, but he kept wading back in, slurring something about the best way to catch trout.” 
  • Alina complains about how boring war council meetings are, and Nikolai jokes, “Next time, bring a flask. Every time [Vasily] changes his mind, take a sip.” Alina replies, “I’d be passed out on the floor before the hour was up.” 
  • After missing his guard shift, Mal is found hungover. Alina and Tolya find him the next morning. “[Mal] hadn’t changed his clothes from last night. There was stubble on his chin, and the smell of blood and kvas hung on him like a dirty coat.” 


  • None 


  • Siege and Storm involves a magic system known as the Small Science, which is a way of manipulating matter that appears supernatural or magical. Those who can wield the Small Science are known as Grisha; many of the main characters in this novel are Grisha.  
  • The Grisha are split into three orders: Corporalki (the Order of the Living and the Dead), Etherialki (the Order of Summoners), and Materialki (the Order of Fabrikators).  
  • The Darkling and Baghra, Alina’s tutor, are Shadow Summoners, while Alina is a Sun Summoner. These are unique abilities that no other known Grisha possesses. For example, Alina uses her power when Sturmhond steers his ship through the Fold: “Hurriedly, I braced my feet against the deck and threw up my hands, casting a wide golden swath of sunlight around the [ship].” 

Spiritual Content 

  • When she and Mal reach Novyi Zem, Alina prays, “Let us be safe here. Let us be home.” 
  • Ravkans worship Saints, and some have started to worship Alina as a living Saint, calling her Sankta Alina (Saint Alina) and Sol Koroleva (Sun Queen). 
  • Some Ravkan peasants sell relics of Saints, such as fake bones supposedly once belonging to different Saints. Nikolai tells Alina, “There are rumors that you died on the Fold. People have been selling off parts of you all over Ravka and West Ravka for months. You’re quite the good luck charm.” 
Other books by Leigh Bardugo
Other books you may enjoy

“I can give you the chance to change Ravka," said Sturmhond. "I can give you a chance to bring your people hope."  –Siege and Storm

Latest Reviews