This series keeps being so maintaining great standards!
The book has a really strong start: action, adventure, drama and development quickly unfold. The even better aspect is that there are at least three characters being introduced - which won my heart over pretty much right away! They are all solid characters!
Tolya and Tamar, twin brother and sister, amazing fighters and Grisha (only not trained by the Grisha which makes them even more deadly and loyal) and I totally missed the connection with the Apparat until the twins save Alina from the to-be riot.
Sturmhond (and who he really is behind the pirate mask - and do not tell him I called him pirate, he tends to be sensitive on the topic!) is just the right mix of strength, skills, leader, brains and looks. Besides his extremely annoying ability to have a response to everyone with the most inappropriate answer of all. Which also gives the best and funniest interactions in the book. I shared the itching of Mal and Alina to punch Nikolai in the mouth most of the book! Yet, he felt an incredibly relevant character, a very welcome addition to the story. He also is the tool to bring the political intrigue back - and to present his idiot brother who has two purposes in the book: to look like a pampered idiot - and make Nikolai look better suited for the part of the king - and to inadvertently help the Darkling in conquering the royal palace and achieve the Darkling's dreams of ruling the land.
Talking about the Darkling, I think he has a significant role in the book but he is not as prominent as in Shadow and Bone. He is displaying a shocking ability to appear by Alina's side also in a very inconvenient way and he is ruthless as usual. The interaction with Alina brings to something new all together and I cannot wait to read Ruin and Rising to have a closer look to their interaction.
As for Alina, I believe she was so much better in this book. She really had development and depth, her struggle to avoid change yet embracing it to beat the Darkling. It is quite fascinating. I loved how she tried to resist as much as possible her hunger for power and how she was concerned her longing was affecting her. I could almost feel her struggle and I really enjoyed the depth that was put in her development. Even more shocking is the end of the book, when she looses her ability to summon light. But is it a true loss or
is it temporary? And I truly enjoyed the last interaction with the Darkling. It really was something almost unexpected and certainly defining for both of them.
I loved the fact that the book finally uses more of the geography and tries to add super cool elements to it, such as that flying ship. I also really enjoyed the use of magic into the story. The relevant magic are not only the Darkness and the Light. It felt like the other type of Grisha had a unique position and their abilities become unique and useful!
I was truly impressed by the story and the details. Some parts do not seem too relevant at this point, for instance what was the whole interaction with Nadia to convince Alina to keep her brother there instead of moving with the whole school? I hope for more in Ruin and Rising. Siege and Storm ultimately was mostly a book poor with action: It starts with a boom but the vast majority was set in an environment that did not seem challenging too much besides Alina's relationship with Mal, which made me depressed for most of second
half really because I could totally relate to what Alina was going through. So the hope is that Ruin and Rising will be so much more action packed and let's see how this series ends!