Siege and Storm certainly didn't wait around to get to the action.
There's a bit of a time lapse from the end of the first book to the start of the second, but not too much time has passed. And within the first chapter, the story's already shooting forward, running at breakneck speed. It was yet another reason I was glad I waited until I could read the entire series straight through.
If I had one complaint about this book, it'd be that there wasn't nearly enough Darkling in it. (I will admit that those scenes where Alina thinks she's going mad because she keeps seeing him everywhere were very...haunting. *ducks*)
I just love his character. He's a bit of a mystery, and tries to come across as this powerful, immortal god, yet each interaction between him and Alina only serves to highlight how very human he is, after all. He claimed to want to end the war and bring peace to the world, yet aimed to do so by becoming powerful enough to keep the entire world in line. Alina betrays him again and again, yet he keeps coming back to her, because she's the only person who can really understand what his life has been like.
And Alina, for her part, gets it. She understands where exactly he's coming from. She doesn't agree, but she understands, and realizes how similar they really are as she falls deeper and deeper into a lust for power, herself. They're two sides of a coin - the light and the dark. And I'm a sucker for relationships that play off of that duality.
Okay. I'll stop gushing about the Darkling now...I promise. >__>
Mal got a bit more characterization in this book, as he recognizes the growing gap of power between him and Alina, and has to deal with the fact that no matter how much he might love her, she's becoming an icon, a symbol far more important than his own personal feelings.
I'm still waiting for the revelation that his tracking skillz are magic. Because really. It's getting ridiculous what he can do, and still be considered "normal" by everyone. Actually, I'm not quite sure how nobody in the story has questioned how Mal's ability works, yet.
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like Sturmhond. His character is, by far, the best quipper in the series, and he definitely had the best lines of the book. Thankfully, he never abused his powers of quipping. The guy took things seriously, and had the occasional actual conversation to break up all of his sarcasm and snarkiness. So while I didn't love him, I certainly appreciated that he wasn't all snark, all the time. Unlike some other recent YA heroes I could mention. You know who you are.
For everything that happens in the book, nothing much happens
. The beginning and end are packed full of plot, but the middle sort of stalls, and becomes a waiting game. How many meetings can Alina attend before something important happens? The answer is: a lot.
I didn't really mind that, though. There was a lot of relationship building between various characters going on during that downtime that needed to be done, as well as Alina's gradual decay into what she believes is madness brought on by her power, and I can see how each meeting and party is important to the overall development of the story. Really, I just figured I should say something
about the plot, so that this wasn't just me rambling about the main characters.
And now, on to the final book. Part of me almost doesn't want to read it...I don't want the story to end yet. But, it must, and so must I.