Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is a powerful sequel to Shadow and Bone. Bardugo manages to reintroduce a well-crafted world, allowing the reader to go above and beyond the realm of normal imagination. She also brings back a stunning cast, strong and distinct, allowing the reader to remember why Bardugo is a genius. With that, she introduces new characters, each one as impressive and thrilling as the next. Nearly escaping the Darkling and the Shadow Fold, Alina is hunted across the True Sea. For Alina, the nightmares are haunting, and remnant memories of the lives she took in the Fold follow her. Despite hiding who she is, Alina cannot outrun her destiny for long. As Alina's power is amplified, so is the Darklings. His ambition and hunger for power is stronger than Alina's hope for freedom. She retreats into herself, voracious for more power, alienating those she loves and loyal to her. A choice must be made, but which will it be?Alina is a fantastic heroine. Her trials and tribulations are just a layer of the strength she possesses. Her power is an extension of who she is. I loved her journey in Siege and Storm, her growing tenacity, and her new found appetite for power. It makes her flawed in a way that is realistic, allowing a heroine to easily be related to. I connected to Alina for so many reasons, each one more intense than the other. She wears her heart on her sleeve, whether she intends to or not, and I thoroughly enjoyed the progression of this character. Bardugo's secondary characters are as strong and outstanding as her main character. Where Bardugo has re-familiarized her audience with characters that we have grown to love, she added another dimension of "new" to them. I found myself learning more about these characters, whether I loved to hate them or simply loved them. But what surprises me the most is Bardugo's talent to introduce new characters, and in a sequel no less. I thought I had my heart filled with characters to love, but she proved me wrong. Bardugo introduces characters that I quickly enjoyed from their introduction. Each new character has their own personality, adding to wonderful dialogue and showstopping action. But my favorite part of Siege and Storm is the story. Barudgo filled the beginning pages with heart-stopping words, quickly engaging me. It's like a roller coaster, once you buckle in you're definitely in for a ride. There's no letting go once you read the first page. Bardugo knows her audience and knows how to draw them in. I loved every minute, quickly losing track of time. I anticipated each page, giddy with excitement to what was to come. Siege and Storm by Leigh Barudgo is easily a best read for 2013. Definitely pick this up and get lost in the world. You'll love it as much I do. Who knows, possibly even more.