Check out this review at Great Imaginations!First of all, let me get this out of my system:There. Siege and Storm has been on my personal WANT IT list forever, and the sequel was a great follow up to the first book in the series, Shadow and Bone. I did adore the first book, but I could detect a bit of the sophomore slump syndrome with the second book in the series. Let's start with the positive. Bardugo knows how to yank the old heart strings. And yank she does. I would use the descriptive words "emotional," "heartbreaking," and "chilling" to describe the overall atmosphere. Don't come looking for fluff here. The first book was a light romp in the park compared to this one. The entire arc of the book was built around the difficult decisions and the imperfections of Alina. I rated the book so high because of my fondness for Alina and all of her faults. She's not perfect, and she never sets out to be an ideal role model. That attracts me instantly to a character - their own willingness to face their own shortcomings. I do not want to spoil anything for future readers, but I can say that Alina's internal struggle plays a pivotal role in the entire story. She's constantly facing down her inner demons and struggling to keep what she has left in her life close to her while she unravels. It comes as no surprise, since the character cast drew me into the first book. Siege and Storm doesn't fail to deliver and introduces a new slew of wonderful characters, and they will not disappoint the fans of book one. I like the concept surrounding the mythology and the world building of the Grisha lifestyle, but it is the people that keep sucking me back into the plot. The stakes are raised, and the ending will leave you sending bribes to the author wanting the next book immediately.The richness of the writing was yet another strong point as well. Bardugo can describe a scene without beating her readers over the head with heavy prose and overused similes and metaphors. I'm all for description, but the Storyline Express can hit a traffic jam as the audience struggles through five pages of unnecessary word vomit. Bardugo always seasons her writing with well-chosen words to create the picture. She also has a knack for stabbing me right in the heart. It took me nearly a month to read this one, and I will confess that it was due to some of the deep empathy I felt for the characters. This book is powerful. No emotions will be spared during this book. The only issue I had with was the drama. I sound like someone who wants her cake and can eat it as well. I know that internal struggles and moral dilemmas come with a whole heap of struggle and bickering, but it did wear a little thin. It seemed that the plot depended on the entire dramatic dynamics a bit too much in certain spots. I also wanted to see a little more Grisha action. Overall, I believe that the huge fanbase of the first one will also enjoy the sequel. Powerful, character-driven, and downright touching, Siege and Storm will be topping a few 2013 favorite lists for sure.