Siege and Storm

Paperback | June 17, 2014

byLeigh Bardugo

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The second book in The Grisha Trilogy by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But 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.

Siege and Storm is the second book in The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Book one, Shadow and Bone, is a New York Times bestseller, and book 3, Ruin and Rising, is an Amazon Best Book of the Year and a USA Today bestseller. This title has Common Core connections, and this deluxe paperback edition features bonus materials like an interview with Leigh Bardugo, a bonus short story, "The Tailor," and more.

A New York Times bestseller
An Amazon Best Book of the Year

Praise for the Grisha Trilogy:

"A heady blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure." -Rick Riordan, bestselling author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, on Siege and Storm

"This is what fantasy is for." -The New York Times Book Review on Shadow and Bone

"An action-packed, heartbreaking ending will leave [readers] breathless for the final installment." -School Library Journal on Siege and Storm

"The action scenes in Siege and Storm are I-N-T-E-N-S-E." -USA Today on Siege and Storm

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From the Publisher

The second book in The Grisha Trilogy by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.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, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But ...

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she hides out in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as a makeup artist in Hollywood. She can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic. Her first...

other books by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
Six of Crows

Hardcover|Sep 29 2015

$17.62 online$21.99list price(save 19%)
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel To Six Of Crows
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel To Six Of Crows

Hardcover|Sep 27 2016

$24.00 online$26.99list price(save 11%)
Ruin and Rising
Ruin and Rising

Hardcover|Aug 24 2016

$6.00 online$21.99list price
see all books by Leigh Bardugo
Format:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 8.14 × 5.46 × 1.3 inPublished:June 17, 2014Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:125004443X

ISBN - 13:9781250044433

Customer Reviews of Siege and Storm


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome follow up I loved the first book of this series, and I really liked this one as well. Can't wait to read the finale
Date published: 2016-12-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! I sped through this book so fast because I just couldn't put it down! Very gripping and and lovely writing from Bardugo.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I read Shadow and Bone a little over a year ago (and I thoroughly enjoyed it). Unfortunately, by the time I started reading Siege and Storm , I had already forgotten everything that happened in the first book. It affected my reading experience -- at first, I wanted to just stop and move on to something else. Thankfully, the memory of how much I enjoyed the first book urged me to continue reading. I'm glad I did. I think this book was good because even though I'd forgotten most of the things that happened in the previous one, it still managed to keep me hooked (after the first 150 pages, that is). I think some of the characters introduced in this book contributed to the experience, too -- especially Sturmhond. I could read his dialogues with Alina all day and not get bored.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh I was very excited to read this sequel since the first was quite strong and kept me intrigued. However, this one was slower than I imagined and there were many aspects of the story which I wish had been either more detailed and explained or simply eliminated from the story.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow I couldn't put it down. I can't wait to see how this will end between the Darkling & the Sun Summoner. Love it!
Date published: 2014-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Keeps you on your toes! This book kept me on my toes from the very beginning! The action at the beginning of this book all the way through to the end was so riveting that I couldn't put it down! Definitely in love with this series
Date published: 2014-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Characters. Once again Leigh's writing is fabulous. The characters development in this book is amazing and the new characters she's brought into this'd think you've known them all your life. It's just that good.
Date published: 2014-06-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Darkness never dies Mmmmmmm Nikolai. In this sequel to Shadow and Bone I found myself in the same prodicument as I did in the first novel. There was just too much stuff to wrap my head around. With all the different Grisha jobs, the different powers and finally the different language. I would always find myself with a headache and couldn't enjoy myself. Even with the headache I very much enjoyed Prince Nikolai, seriously he's my favourite. He's so full of a deeper knowledge, I don't really know what to call it but what he says just always gets to me, and his sass! I can't get enough of it. Even though I found that this book was a little too much for me personally to handle and never deeply understood the first two novels in the series I will defiantly give the final book in the series, Ruin and Rising a try because seriously? This series really does deserve it. Ruin and Rising releases June 17th, 2014 and is the final book in The Grisha Trilogy.
Date published: 2014-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! In a nutshell? Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling. Siege and Storem is an action packed romantic adventure through the Russian country of Ravka. Sturmhond is a sly and excellent character. His little quips made me laugh. And I love that he's another contender for Alina. Most love triangles make me gag but in those case, since I love both of the guys, I don't mind it as much. I also loved how much more dark Alina's thoughts are only because her power is growing. I can't wait until more questions are answered about her powers. What was missing from this book was action. I'm all for alliance building and political intrigue, but sometimes you just want the characters to duke it out and fight for their beliefs. It all ended up being in the end so I was happy enough to read those sequences. I'm forever and always a Bardugo fan. Love her writing style and the way she weaves her stories together. Brilliant! Also, props to the Art department, this is one FABULOUS cover design! 
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After A sequel is always tricky, especially when it follows after a book you loved. As excited as I was for Siege & Storm, I was a bit anxious as well, after how much I loved Shadow & Bone I wasn't sure how this sequel would compare. And I think the simplest way to explain my feelings about Siege & Storm was that I couldn't love it as much as Shadow & Bone. I think it's the kind of book I would have loved so much more on its own, had there not been this incredible first book setting the stage. While Siege & Storm is a good book with some great additions to The Grisha trilogy, you can tell that this is the "growing pains" book where the characters have to adjust to a situation none expected nor wanted. Reasons to Read: 1. Fantastic new character additions: This was the absolute best part of Siege & Storm for me: I know, I know. Everyone and their mother loves Sturmhond. But it's for good reason! Leigh's writing gives him a voice that stands out so much from other characters, with his clever comebacks and dry wit. He definitely helps balance out some of the more depressing issues at hand in the story, because when things get REALLY bad? Sometimes you just need to laugh. Or, if you're Stumhond, smirk. 2. Emphasis on Alina's internal struggle: For a book that has had so much attention on developing the setting and world of the story, I'm amazed by how much detail is given to Alina's internal struggle as she tries to adapt to her new powers and position. It seems to me that this is truly the most important conflict in the book - moreso than anything with any other character, even the Darkling. Alina's battle isn't with some external force, it's with herself. It's such an introspective story, one where it is truly a privilege to be so in tune with Alina's thoughts and feelings because she doesn't share them with anyone else. 3. An expanded setting: When Siege & Storm starts off, we have Alina and Mal on the run in an entirely different country. They end up meeting a number of other characters from other places as well, and we finally get a bit more of a glimpse at the rest of the world. To me, this is what makes a setting believable and come to life - hints that the world is still turning outside of the main characters' location. I really like that, and I think it helps build the plot and help the reader understand exactly what is at stake here. The biggest problem for me? So very little happens, and what does happen occurs very quickly. The action feels rushed, and the waiting seems to go on forever. It's a slow book, and I mentioned how introspective and sensitive to Alina's conflict with herself the book is. While that is a good thing, it also means other parts of the story suffer as a result of so much time and focus spent on Alina. Much of the time is spent waiting for something to happen, and I understand that part of this is simply because Alina (and company) are acting defensively. After Shadow & Bone featured SO MUCH (so much action, so much romance, so much creepiness) I was hoping for more, and I think my expectations are mostly to blame here. But we still have an excellent book here. Leigh Bardugo's writing is as exceptional as ever, and I think really showcases her knack for juggling a multitude of character voices and emotions. She is truly a master at tugging at her readers' heartstrings, and never leaves us with predictable characters or story lines. Although the romance is left on the back burner for most of this book, the tension is incredible and I appreciate that it didn't overshadow the rest of the story. ARC received from Raincoast Books for review; no other compensation was received. 
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! Siege and Storm picks up almost immediately where Shadow and Bone left off, providing the reader with immediate action and many unexpected plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The inclusion of original fairy tales and mythology, coupled with exquisite food dishes, beautiful clothing, and vivid settings add even greater depth to the imaginative world of Ravka. Alina is no longer the weak, naive girl that we saw in Shadow and Bone; she’s truly coming into her own, though the journey is decidedly bittersweet. Alina begins to hone her strength and assert herself in anticipation of a fight with the Darkling, though she struggles against the desire to attain even more power – and the repercussions that it could have for herself, her relationships, and Ravka. Though I know that I shouldn’t care for him, the Darkling still holds the honour of being my favourite character in this series. He’s quite an intriguing and complex character: he’s power-hungry, manipulative, and could even be described as evil, though he also has touches of humanity that are difficult to ignore. To my dismay, his presence in this book is minimal, although he captured my full attention whenever he appeared in a scene – especially when showing off his dark new skills. A new character is introduced in Siege and Storm, and he managed to win me over with ease. Sturmhond is witty and charming, bringing much-needed touches of humour to story. He’s also incredibly well composed, calculating, and adaptive, which are necessary qualities given his agenda. And then there’s Mal. He started to grow on me towards the end of Shadow and Bone but, sadly, I didn’t like him in this book. He spends too much time feeling insecure in his relationship with Alina. I understand his reasoning – after all, she is the most powerful Grisha and he is a tracker who deserted the army – but after a while, I got tired of reading about it. Hopefully he’ll be more like his end-of-book-one-self in the sequel, since that guy was pretty adorable. If I haven’t made it clear already, I absolutely loved Siege and Storm. It’s unputdownable and the perfect example of how to write a proper middle installment. I can’t wait to see what happens in Ruin and Rising – until then, I’ll be traipsing about in my very own kefta and trying to befriend guys that look like the Darkling.
Date published: 2013-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than Great! Leigh Bardugo does not disappoint in this second instalment of the Grisha Trilogy. I really enjoyed this read! Alina's character is beautifully developed as she attains even more Grisha power and attempts to retain a little of her old self. The conflict within Alina is interesting to see unfold and her relationship with Mal becomes strained. The introduction of Sturmhund, a mysterious and unscrupulous pirate, or as he calls himself, "a privateer", is my favourite part of the story. I absolutely LOVE this character! Without giving up a key spoiler, let's just say, that Sturmhund is just FANTASTIC!!! He makes this novel come alive. While The Darkling is still centre-point to the the story, we don't really see too much of him and for this, I'm not disappointed. He is an atypical antagonist and just the threat of him is enough for me. The Darkling just doesn't have as much personality as Sturmhund and Mal. There were a few slow spots in the middle of the book, but overall, this one is a page-turner! Especially near the end. I'm looking forward to book #3. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until 2014!
Date published: 2013-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it Leigh Bardugo's debut Shadow and Bone blew me away last summer when I read it. It was absolutely incredible. I read it while driving with a couple friends to see Coldplay. It was a good trip and Shadow and Bone will forever be a part of that. I flew through the book and as soon as I was done I was eager to see what was going to happen next. Siege and Storm essentially picks up exactly where Shadow and Bone leaves off. Alina and Mal on the run from the Darkling and trying to figure out their next move. I have seen it mentioned a few times that there had been a bit of confusion because there is little recap in Siege and Storm regarding its predecessor. This is something that I generally get frustrated with as I have the worst memory for details. But I did not seem to have this problem with Siege and Storm. This could be attributed to the fact that it has been less then a year since I read Shadow and Bone, but I don't think so. I think I was so involved with the story when I read it that it all stuck with me. In saying that, I would suggest you refresh your memory with Shadow and Bone before reading Siege and Storm if you feel like you need it. One of the things that really impressed me with the first installment of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy was how creative it was. I am always so impressed with what can come from someone's mind. There are so many little details that needed to be thought out and developed. The world and all that it comes with was one of my favourite things about Shadow and Bone, and I was not disappointed with how Bardugo was able to expand it and make it more magical and more compelling to readers. She takes us someplace else throws us in and lets us enjoy the beauty of it all. There were a few twists and turns in Siege and Storm that I wasn't expecting and it was a blast to experience it all. There are a number of new characters that we are introduced to in this novel- some pleasant, others not so much. Strumhond, the privateer that we meet is my kind of character. He was sarcastic and mysterious and cocky and just plane hilarious! There were a few scenes within the book where he was involved that had be lol-ing for real. Alina goes through some major changes in Siege and Storm. She battles internally with the responsibilities of being the sun summoner and a few other things (which would get a little spoiler-y if I let it slip). It's because of these struggles that her relationship with Mal suffers a bit. I enjoyed seeing this new side of Alina. She becomes more independent and more assertive. These new developments in her character felt normal and natural. There were times, however, where I wished she would have handled these transitions better and trusted those around her more (but really who deals with change perfectly). The Darkling is absent ninety percent of the time. But this didn't bother me. While I was as enchanted with him as anyone else when reading Shadow and Bone. However, the few times he did make an appearance in Siege and Storm I didn't feel the same charm from him. Yes, he wasn't wooing Alina anymore, but there was something about him that just didn't impress me. I am curious to see what Bardugo will do with him in the next book. Overall, Siege and Storm was a perfect addition to the Grisha trilogy. The plot was wonderfully developed and had me from the very beginning and the characters were fierce and loyal. I am SO excited for everyone to get their hands on this and I am ever more excited to see what's in store for Alina, Mal and the Darkling.
Date published: 2013-06-10

Extra Content

Read from the Book

CHAPTER1 TWO WEEKS WE’D been in Cofton, and I was still getting lost. The town lay inland, west of the Novyi Zem coast, miles from the harbor where we’d landed. Soon we would go farther, deep into the wilds of the Zemeni frontier. Maybe then we’d begin to feel safe.I checked the little map I’d drawn for myself and retraced my steps. Mal and I met every day after work to walk back to the boardinghouse together, but today I’d gotten completely turned around when I’d detoured to buy our dinner. The calf and collard pies were stuffed into my satchel and giving off a very peculiar smell. The shopkeeper had claimed they were a Zemeni delicacy, but I had my doubts. It didn’t much matter. Everything tasted like ashes to me lately.Mal and I had come to Cofton to find work that would finance our trip west. It was the center of the jurda trade, surrounded by fields of the little orange flowers that people chewed by the bushel. The stimulant was considered a luxury in Ravka, but some of the sailors aboard the Verrhader had used it to stay awake on long watches. Zemeni men liked to tuck the dried blooms between lip and gum, and even the women carried them in embroidered pouches that dangled from their wrists. Each store window I passed advertised different brands: Brightleaf, Shade, Dhoka, the Burly. I saw a beautifully dressed girl in petticoats lean over and spit a stream of rust-colored juice right into one of the brass spittoons that sat outside every shop door. I stifled a gag. That was one Zemeni custom I didn’t think I could get used to.With a sigh of relief, I turned onto the city’s main thoroughfare. At least now I knew where I was. Cofton still didn’t feel quite real to me. There was something raw and unfinished about it. Most of the streets were unpaved, and I always felt like the flat-roofed buildings with their flimsy wooden walls might tip over at any minute. And yet they all had glass windows. The women dressed in velvet and lace. The shop displays overflowed with sweets and baubles and all manner of finery instead of rifles, knives, and tin cookpots. Here, even the beggars wore shoes. This was what a country looked like when it wasn’t under siege.As I passed a gin shop, I caught a flash of crimson out of the corner of my eye. Corporalki. Instantly, I drew back, pressing myself into the shadowy space between two buildings, heart hammering, my hand already reaching for the pistol at my hip.Dagger first, I reminded myself, sliding the blade from my sleeve. Try not to draw attention. Pistol if you must. Power as a last resort. Not for the first time, I missed the Fabrikator-made gloves that I’d had to leave behind in Ravka. They’d been lined with mirrors that gave me an easy way to blind opponents in a hand-to-hand fight—and a nice alternative to slicing someone in half with the Cut. But if I’d been spotted by a Corporalnik Heartrender, I might not have a choice in the matter. They were the Darkling’s favored soldiers and could stop my heart or crush my lungs without ever landing a blow.I waited, my grip slippery on the dagger’s handle, then finally dared to peek around the wall. I saw a cart piled high with barrels. The driver had stopped to talk to a woman whose daughter danced impatiently beside her, fluttering and twirling in her dark red skirt.Just a little girl. Not a Corporalnik in sight. I sank back against the building and took a deep breath, trying to calm down.It won’t always be this way, I told myself. The longer you’re free, the easier it will get.One day I would wake from a sleep free of nightmares, walk down a street unafraid. Until then, I kept my flimsy dagger close and wished for the sure heft of Grisha steel in my palm.I pushed my way back into the bustling street and clutched at the scarf around my neck, drawing it tighter. It had become a nervous habit. Beneath it lay Morozova’s collar, the most powerful amplifier ever known, as well as the only way of identifying me. Without it, I was just another dirty, underfed Ravkan refugee.I wasn’t sure what I would do when the weather turned. I couldn’t very well walk around in scarves and high-necked coats when summer came. But by then, hopefully, Mal and I would be far from crowded towns and unwanted questions. We’d be on our own for the first time since we’d fled Ravka. The thought sent a nervous flutter through me.I crossed the street, dodging wagons and horses, still scanning the crowd, sure that at any moment I would see a troop of Grisha or oprichniki descending on me. Or maybe it would be Shu Han mercenaries, or Fjerdan assassins, or the soldiers of the Ravkan King, or even the Darkling himself. So many people might be hunting us. Hunting me, I amended. If it weren’t for me, Mal would still be a tracker in the First Army, not a deserter running for his life.A memory rose unbidden in my mind: black hair, slate eyes, the Darkling’s face exultant in victory as he unleashed the power of the Fold. Before I’d snatched that victory away.News was easy to come by in Novyi Zem, but none of it was good. Rumors had surfaced that the Darkling had somehow survived the battle on the Fold, that he had gone to ground to gather his forces before making another attempt on the Ravkan throne. I didn’t want to believe it was possible, but I knew better than to underestimate him. The other stories were just as disturbing: that the Fold had begun to overflow its shores, driving refugees east and west; that a cult had risen up around a Saint who could summon the sun. I didn’t want to think about it. Mal and I had a new life now. We’d left Ravka behind.I hurried my steps, and soon I was in the square where Mal and I met every evening. I spotted him leaning against the lip of a fountain, talking with a Zemeni friend he’d met working at the warehouse. I couldn’t remember his name … Jep, maybe? Jef?Fed by four huge spigots, the fountain was less decorative than useful, a large basin where girls and house servants came to wash clothes. None of the washerwomen were paying much attention to the laundry, though. They were all gawking at Mal. It was hard not to. His hair had grown out of its short military cut and was starting to curl at the nape of his neck. The spray from the fountain had left his shirt damp, and it clung to skin bronzed by long days at sea. He threw his head back, laughing at something his friend had said, seemingly oblivious to the sly smiles thrown his way.He’s probably so used to it, he doesn’t even notice anymore, I thought irritably.When he caught sight of me, his face broke into a grin and he waved. The washerwomen turned to look and then exchanged glances of disbelief. I knew what they saw: a scrawny girl with stringy, dull brown hair and sallow cheeks, fingers stained orange from packing jurda. I’d never been much to look at, and weeks of not using my power had taken their toll. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well, and the nightmares didn’t help. The women’s faces all said the same thing: What was a boy like Mal doing with a girl like me?I straightened my spine and tried to ignore them as Mal threw his arm around me and drew me close. “Where were you?” he asked. “I was getting worried.”“I was waylaid by a gang of angry bears,” I murmured into his shoulder.“You got lost again?”“I don’t know where you get these ideas.”“You remember Jes, right?” he said, nodding to his friend.“How do you go?” Jes asked in broken Ravkan, offering me his hand. His expression seemed unduly grave.“Very well, thank you,” I replied in Zemeni. He didn’t return my smile, but gently patted my hand. Jes was definitely an odd one.We chatted a short while longer, but I knew Mal could see I was getting anxious. I didn’t like to be out in the open for too long. We said our goodbyes, and before Jes left, he shot me another grim look and leaned in to whisper something to Mal.“What did he say?” I asked as we watched him stroll away across the square.“Hmm? Oh, nothing. Did you know you have pollen in your brows?” He reached out to gently brush it away.“Maybe I wanted it there.”“My mistake.”As we pushed off from the fountain, one of the washerwomen leaned forward, practically spilling out of her dress.“If you ever get tired of skin and bones,” she called to Mal, “I’ve got something to tempt you.”I stiffened. Mal glanced over his shoulder. Slowly, he looked her up and down. “No,” he said flatly. “You don’t.”The girl’s face flushed an ugly red as the others jeered and cackled, splashing her with water. I tried for a haughtily arched brow, but it was hard to restrain the goofy grin pulling at the corners of my mouth.“Thanks,” I mumbled as we crossed the square, heading toward our boardinghouse.“For what?”I rolled my eyes. “For defending my honor, you dullard.”He yanked me beneath a shadowed awning. I had a moment’s panic when I thought he’d spotted trouble, but then his arms were around me and his lips were pressed to mine.When he finally drew back, my cheeks were warm and my legs had gone wobbly.“Just to be clear,” he said, “I’m not really interested in defending your honor.”“Understood,” I managed, hoping I didn’t sound too ridiculously breathless.“Besides,” he said, “I need to steal every minute I can before we’re back at the Pit.”The Pit was what Mal called our boardinghouse. It was crowded and filthy and afforded us no privacy at all, but it was cheap. He grinned, cocky as ever, and pulled me back into the flow of people on the street. Despite my exhaustion, my steps felt decidedly lighter. I still wasn’t used to the idea of us together. Another flutter passed through me. On the frontier there would be no curious boarders or unwanted interruptions. My pulse gave a little jump—whether from nerves or excitement, I wasn’t sure.“So what did Jes say?” I asked again, when my brain felt a bit less scrambled.“He said I should take good care of you.”“That’s all?”Mal cleared his throat. “And … he said he would pray to the God of Work to heal your affliction.”“My what?”“I may have told him that you have a goiter.”I stumbled. “I beg your pardon?”“Well, I had to explain why you were always clinging to that scarf.”I dropped my hand. I’d been doing it again without even realizing.“So you told him I had a goiter?” I whispered incredulously.“I had to say something. And it makes you quite a tragic figure. Pretty girl, giant growth, you know.”I punched him hard in the arm.“Ow! Hey, in some countries, goiters are considered very fashionable.”“Do they like eunuchs, too? Because I can arrange that.”“So bloodthirsty!”“My goiter makes me cranky.”Mal laughed, but I noticed that he kept his hand on his pistol. The Pit was located in one of the less savory parts of Cofton, and we were carrying a lot of coin, the wages we’d saved for the start of our new life. Just a few more days, and we’d have enough to leave Cofton behind—the noise, the pollen-filled air, the constant fear. We’d be safe in a place where nobody cared what happened to Ravka, where Grisha were scarce and no one had ever heard of a Sun Summoner.And no one has any use for one. The thought soured my mood, but it had come to me more and more lately. What was I good for in this strange country? Mal could hunt, track, handle a gun. The only thing I’d ever been good at was being a Grisha. I missed summoning light, and each day I didn’t use my power, I grew more weak and sickly. Just walking beside Mal left me winded, and I struggled beneath the weight of my satchel. I was so frail and clumsy that I’d barely managed to keep my job packing jurda at one of the fieldhouses. It brought in mere pennies, but I’d insisted on working, on trying to help. I felt like I had when we were kids: capable Mal and useless Alina.I pushed the thought away. I might not be the Sun Summoner anymore, but I wasn’t that sad little girl either. I’d find a way to be useful.The sight of our boardinghouse didn’t exactly lift my spirits. It was two stories high and in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. The sign in the window advertised hot baths and tick-free beds in five different languages. Having sampled the bathtub and the bed, I knew the sign lied no matter how you translated it. Still, with Mal beside me, it didn’t seem so bad.We climbed the steps of the sagging porch and entered the tavern that took up most of the lower floor of the house. It was cool and quiet after the dusty clamor of the street. At this hour, there were usually a few workers at the pockmarked tables drinking off their day’s wages, but today it was empty save for the surly-looking landlord standing behind the bar.He was a Kerch immigrant, and I’d gotten the distinct feeling he didn’t like Ravkans. Or maybe he just thought we were thieves. We’d shown up two weeks ago, ragged and grubby, with no baggage and no way to pay for lodging except a single golden hairpin that he probably thought we’d stolen. But that hadn’t stopped him from snapping it up in exchange for a narrow bed in a room that we shared with six other boarders.As we approached the bar, he slapped the room key on the counter and shoved it across to us without being asked. It was tied to a carved piece of chicken bone. Another charming touch.In the stilted Kerch he’d picked up aboard the Verrhader, Mal requested a pitcher of hot water for washing.“Extra,” the landlord grunted. He was a heavyset man with thinning hair and the orange-stained teeth that came from chewing jurda. He was sweating, I noticed. Though the day wasn’t particularly warm, beads of perspiration had broken out over his upper lip.I glanced back at him as we headed for the staircase on the other side of the deserted tavern. He was still watching us, his arms crossed over his chest, his beady eyes narrowed. There was something about his expression that set my nerves jangling.I hesitated at the base of the steps. “That guy really doesn’t like us,” I said.Mal was already headed up the stairs. “No, but he likes our money just fine. And we’ll be out of here in a few days.”I shook off my nervousness. I’d been jumpy all afternoon.“Fine,” I grumbled as I followed after Mal. “But just so I’m prepared, how do you say ‘you’re an ass’ in Kerch?”“Jer ven azel.”“Really?”Mal laughed. “The first thing sailors teach you is how to swear.”The second story of the boardinghouse was in considerably worse shape than the public rooms below. The carpet was faded and threadbare, and the dim hallway stank of cabbage and tobacco. The doors to the private rooms were all closed, and not a sound came from behind them as we passed. The quiet was eerie. Maybe everyone was out for the day.The only light came from a single grimy window at the end of the hall. As Mal fumbled with the key, I looked down through the smudged glass to the carts and carriages rumbling by below. Across the street, a man stood beneath a balcony, peering up at the boardinghouse. He pulled at his collar and his sleeves, as if his clothes were new and didn’t quite fit right. His eyes met mine through the window, then darted quickly away.I felt a sudden pang of fear.“Mal,” I whispered, reaching out to him.But it was too late. The door flew open.“No!” I shouted. I threw up my hands and light burst through the hallway in a blinding cascade. Then rough hands seized me, yanking my arms behind my back. I was dragged inside the room, kicking and thrashing.“Easy now,” said a cool voice from somewhere in the corner. “I’d hate to have to gut your friend so soon.”Time seemed to slow. I saw the shabby, low-ceilinged room, the cracked washbasin sitting on the battered table, dust motes swirling in a slender beam of sunlight, the bright edge of the blade pressed to Mal’s throat. The man holding him wore a familiar sneer. Ivan. There were others, men and women. All wore the fitted coats and breeches of Zemeni merchants and laborers, but I recognized some of their faces from my time with the Second Army. They were Grisha.Behind them, shrouded in shadow, lounging in a rickety chair as if it were a throne, was the Darkling.For a moment, everything in the room was silent and still. I could hear Mal’s breathing, the shuffle of feet. I heard a man calling a hello down on the street. I couldn’t seem to stop staring at the Darkling’s hands—his long white fingers resting casually on the arms of the chair. I had the foolish thought that I’d never seen him in ordinary clothes.Then reality crashed in on me. This was how it ended? Without a fight? Without so much as a shot fired or a voice raised? A sob of pure rage and frustration tore free from my chest.“Take her pistol, and search her for other weapons,” the Darkling said softly. I felt the comforting weight of my firearm lifted from my hip, the dagger pulled from its sheath at my wrist. “I’m going to tell them to let you go,” he said when they were done, “with the knowledge that if you so much as raise your hands, Ivan will end the tracker. Show me that you understand.”I gave a single stiff nod.He raised a finger, and the men holding me let go. I stumbled forward and then stood frozen in the center of the room, my hands balled into fists.I could cut the Darkling in two with my power. I could crack this whole saintsforsaken building right down the middle. But not before Ivan opened Mal’s throat.“How did you find us?” I rasped.“You leave a very expensive trail,” he said, and lazily tossed something onto the table. It landed with a plink beside the washbasin. I recognized one of the golden pins Genya had woven into my hair so many weeks ago. We’d used them to pay for passage across the True Sea, the wagon to Cofton, our miserable, not-quite-tick-free bed.The Darkling rose, and a strange trepidation crackled through the room. It was as if every Grisha had taken a breath and was holding it, waiting. I could feel the fear coming off them, and that sent a spike of alarm through me. The Darkling’s underlings had always treated him with awe and respect, but this was something new. Even Ivan looked a little ill.The Darkling stepped into the light, and I saw a faint tracery of scars over his face. They’d been healed by a Corporalnik, but they were still visible. So the volcra had left their mark. Good, I thought with petty satisfaction. It was small comfort, but at least he wasn’t quite as perfect as he had been.He paused, studying me. “How are you finding life in hiding, Alina? You don’t look well.”“Neither do you,” I said. It wasn’t just the scars. He wore his weariness like an elegant cloak, but it was still there. Faint smudges showed beneath his eyes, and the hollows of his sharp cheekbones cut a little deeper.“A small price to pay,” he said, his lips quirking in a half smile.A chill snaked up my spine. For what?He reached out, and it took everything in me not to flinch backward. But all he did was take hold of one end of my scarf. He tugged gently, and the rough wool slipped free, gliding over my neck and fluttering to the ground.“Back to pretending to be less than you are, I see. The sham doesn’t suit you.”A twinge of unease passed through me. Hadn’t I had a similar thought just minutes ago? “Thanks for your concern,” I muttered.He let his fingers trail over the collar. “It’s mine as much as yours, Alina.”I batted his hand away, and an anxious rustle rose from the Grisha. “Then you shouldn’t have put it around my neck,” I snapped. “What do you want?”Of course, I already knew. He wanted everything—Ravka, the world, the power of the Fold. His answer didn’t matter. I just needed to keep him talking. I’d known this moment might come, and I’d prepared for it. I wasn’t going to let him take me again. I glanced at Mal, hoping he understood what I intended.“I want to thank you,” the Darkling said.Now, that I hadn’t expected. “Thank me?”“For the gift you gave me.”My eyes flicked to the scars on his pale cheek.“No,” he said with a small smile, “not these. But they do make a good reminder.”“Of what?” I asked, curious despite myself.His gaze was gray flint. “That all men can be made fools. No, Alina, the gift you’ve given me is so much greater.”He turned away. I darted another glance at Mal.“Unlike you,” the Darkling said, “I understand gratitude, and I wish to express it.”He raised his hands. Darkness tumbled through the room.“Now!” I shouted.Mal drove his elbow into Ivan’s side. At the same moment, I threw up my hands and light blazed out, blinding the men around us. I focused my power, honing it to a scythe of pure light. I had only one goal. I wasn’t going to leave the Darkling standing. I peered into the seething blackness, trying to find my target. But something was wrong.I’d seen the Darkling use his power countless times before. This was different. The shadows whirled and skittered around the circle of my light, spinning faster, a writhing cloud that clicked and whirred like a fog of hungry insects. I pushed against them with my power, but they twisted and wriggled, drawing ever nearer.Mal was beside me. Somehow he’d gotten hold of Ivan’s knife.“Stay close,” I said. Better to take my chances and open a hole in the floor than to just stand there doing nothing. I concentrated and felt the power of the Cut vibrate through me. I raised my arm … and something stepped out of the darkness.It’s a trick, I thought as the thing came toward us. It has to be some kind of illusion.It was a creature wrought from shadow, its face blank and devoid of features. Its body seemed to tremble and blur, then form again: arms, legs, long hands ending in the dim suggestion of claws, a broad back crested by wings that roiled and shifted as they unfurled like a black stain. It was almost like a volcra, but its shape was more human. And it did not fear the light. It did not fear me.It’s a trick, my panicked mind insisted. It isn’t possible. It was a violation of everything I knew about Grisha power. We couldn’t make matter. We couldn’t create life. But the creature was coming toward us, and the Darkling’s Grisha were cringing up against the walls in very real terror. This was what had so frightened them.I pushed down my horror and refocused my power. I swung my arm, bringing it down in a shining, unforgiving arc. The light sliced through the creature. For a moment, I thought it might just keep coming. Then it wavered, glowing like a cloud lit by lightning, and blew apart into nothing. I had time for the barest surge of relief before the Darkling lifted his hand and another monster took its place, followed by another, and another.“This is the gift you gave me,” said the Darkling. “The gift I earned on the Fold.” His face was alive with power and a kind of terrible joy. But I could see strain there, too. Whatever he was doing, it was costing him.Mal and I backed toward the door as the creatures stalked closer. Suddenly, one of them shot forward with astonishing speed. Mal slashed out with his knife. The thing paused, wavered slightly, then grabbed hold of him and tossed him aside like a child’s doll. This was no illusion.“Mal!” I cried.I lashed out with the Cut and the creature burned away to nothing, but the next monster was on me in seconds. It seized me, and revulsion shuddered through my body. Its grip was like a thousand crawling insects swarming over my arms.It lifted me off my feet, and I saw how very wrong I’d been. It did have a mouth, a yawning, twisting hole that spread open to reveal row upon row of teeth. I felt them all as the thing bit deeply into my shoulder.The pain was like nothing I’d ever known. It echoed inside me, multiplying on itself, cracking me open and scraping at the bone. From a distance, I heard Mal call my name. I heard myself scream.The creature released me. I dropped to the floor in a limp heap. I was on my back, the pain still reverberating through me in endless waves. I could see the water-stained ceiling, the shadow creature looming high above, Mal’s pale face as he knelt beside me. I saw his lips form the shape of my name, but I couldn’t hear him. I was already slipping away.The last thing I heard was the Darkling’s voice—so clear, like he was lying right next to me, his lips pressed against my ear, whispering so that only I could hear: Thank you. Copyright © 2013 by Leigh Bardugo

Editorial Reviews

"An action-packed, heartbreaking ending will leave teens breathless for the final installment." -School Library Journal"This action-packed, suspenseful grand tale of war, adventure and love, with a maritime setting, colorful battles, and female warriors, will appeal to a broad readership and is an enticing prelude to the anticipated Book 3." -VOYA"Bardugo populates her fully realized world with appealing three-dimensional characters and an involving plot that keeps a steady pace. . . . The buzz will be big." -Booklist"Bardugo builds on strengths she brought to the first volume, including a richly crafted fantasy world with its own twist on magic, a surfeit of handsome leading men, and plenty of teen-appropriate romantic angst." -The Horn Book"Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace to an end that may surprise them and will definitely leave them panting for the series' conclusion." -Kirkus Reviews"Mesmerizing. . . . Bardugo's set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for." -Laini Taylor in The New York Times Book Review on Shadow and Bone"This is one book series you want to get hooked on." on Shadow and Bone"Set in a fascinating, unique world rich with detail, Shadow and Bone was unlike anything I've ever read. Alina is a clever, sympathetic character I will gladly follow into the next installment-which can't come soon enough!" -Veronica Roth, New York Times-bestselling author of Divergent on Shadow and Bone"I loved it! This is just my kind of fantasy--rich, satisfying, and gorgeous, laced with heart-pounding action and pitch-perfect romance. The characters--protagonists and antagonists--are layered and complex. I'll be thinking about it for a good long time." -Cinda Williams Chima, bestselling author on Shadow and Bone"* Fast-paced and unpredictable, this debut novel will be a hit with readers who love dark fantasy. . . . Bardugo creates a unique world complete with monsters, magic, danger, romance, corruption, and extravagance." -School Library Journal, starred review on Shadow and Bone"Filled with lush descriptions, intriguing magic, and plenty of twists, this memorable adventure offers action and intrigue mixed with an undercurrent of romance and danger." -Publishers Weekly on Shadow and Bone"Bardugo weaves a captivating spell with lushly descriptive writing, engaging characters, and an exotic, vivid world. Readers will wait impatiently for the next installment." -Booklist on Shadow and Bone"Readers will be rooting for this lonely, tough heroine as she navigates perils physical, magical, and emotional." -BCCB on Shadow and Bone"A rich fantasy landscape, an inspired magical structure, and a gratifying emotional hook keep the pages whirring." -The Horn Book on Shadow and Bone