Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #16 – Final Stop!

On Leigh Bardugo‘s sixteenth and final stop in her Siege and Storm blog tour, she shares where and how she gets into “writing mode.”

Phase 1: Drafting

I work with an outline, but the outline has to start somewhere too. I begin with a series of beats or scenes that I know will be in the book, then I begin to fill in the blanks between them—sometimes I just ask questions: How do they get from A to B? What is the significance of X? I start with a single page that has twelve distinct moments, then the process of creating a first draft is just a matter of expanding from those initial story beats.

For me, the trick of drafting is momentum. I literally try to type as quickly as I can. When I get stuck I just write questions or problems into the draft and move on to the next thing. The goal is to get the story and the flaws in the story onto the page and out of my head. During this phase, I need noise and company. Otherwise, the scope of what I’m trying to do just feels overwhelming.

cafeshot

One of my favorite Los Angeles cafés

I have two favorite cafes where I like to work. One has fantastic music and even better food. The other has neither, but it’s just a few blocks from my house and there are outlets at practically every table. (The latter is also where I saw Nathan Fillion, so I can’t help but feel it has its own magic—not that I got anything done that day.)

I’ll often try to meet a friend for what we call “Friendly Surveillance.” We try to keep each other off the internet and will even hide each other’s cell phones.

Tools of the Trade:

Every time I start a new book or a major revision, I buy a three-subject notebook in a different color.

I'm officially running out of colors.

I’m officially running out of colors.

Noise-cancelling headphones. Sometimes the noise or the bad music are just too much, so I’ll put on my headphones and either set them to cancel or actually listen to music. For my Siege and Storm work mix, you can check out that on Novel SoundsHERE!

Also, there’s a program called Mac Freedom that I can’t do without. It shuts down the internet for up to 8 hours so even if you want to log on, you can’t. My third book would not have gotten written without this. Actually, this blog post wouldn’t have gotten written without it.

Drink of choice: Skim latte

Food of choice: Fish tacos

Snack of choice: Wasabi peas

Phase 2: The Bunker

When the first (very rough) draft is done, I go into the bunker. This means I disappear into my house and I don’t leave. It’s also when I begin to break the book out into chapters. While I’m working on a given chapter, I always keep a “discards” file open at the same time. This helps me edit with impunity because I know that nothing is gone forever.

My writing assistant, Bertie

My writing assistant, Bertie

 

Unfortunately, she's a bit of a slacker

Unfortunately, she’s a bit of a slacker

Once the draft is starting to make sense and hold together, I focus on individual chapters. I read through a chapter on my laptop and make changes in the file. Then, I print it up and read it aloud with a red pen in hand and my notebook nearby so I can make changes and additions. At this point, the pages look like the work of a crazy person—all scrawls and arrows and numbered lists. Then it’s back to the laptop to transfer the changes to a new file, and then on to the next set of pages. Once I reach the end of the manuscript, I do it all over again, and then again, until I feel I’m ready to string the chapters back into a complete draft.

I have a system. Really.

I have a system. Really.

Final Read Throughs:

Now, hopefully, I have a real draft in my hands—one that feels almost ready to show to other people instead of weigh down with rocks and cast into the sea. I read through the manuscript in large sections, usually around 50 pages at a time, making notes and minor corrections. I read it all out loud.

The revisions chair. This is where I like to do my final read through. And yes, I do the voices.

The revisions chair. This is where I like to do my final read through. And yes, I do the voices.

Tools:

Whiteboard + two colors of marker: I wish I could have a whole office with walls that are whiteboards. It would be glorious. For now, I settle for one big whiteboard that I keep on my mantle. I’ve never gone to the trouble of hanging it because I like to carry it around the house. I’ve even taken it into the garden on occasion.

An actual shot of the first Siege and Storm whiteboard. Blurred and kept tiny to avoid too many spoilers.

An actual shot of the first Siege and Storm whiteboard. Blurred and kept tiny to avoid too many spoilers.

Drink of choice: I make this weird little concoction of powdered cocoa, coffee, and milk every morning.

Food: Whatever is in the house. Book 1 was bags of raw broccoli. Book 2 was all about seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s. Book 3 was dried pineapple. When I’m anxious (oh lawd, am I really going to confess this?), I’ll just sit there with a spoon and eat jam from a jar. Don’t you judge me.

This brings me to another part of my process: Days off. I’m learning to recognize the signs of burnout a lot better in myself. When I’ve finished a particularly grueling section, I’ll give myself a day or half day off. That means I don’t do anything but watch movies or catch up on tv shows and relax. I don’t go online and most importantly, I don’t feel guilty about it.

(via sixteenth blog tour stop: Monlight Book Reviews.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Advertisements

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #15

On Leigh Bardugo‘s fifthteenth stop in her Siege and Storm blog tour, we get to know more about Sturmhond, Alina Starkov, and Botkin Yul-Erdene.  Sturmhond is a character that is introduced in book two, so he would be unfamiliar to you if you haven’t read the first five chapters, but he’s already attracted more than a handful of fans.  Let’s read more, shall we?

adrawlingSturmhond

(source: Ardawling)

Name: Sturmhond
Most Frequently found Wearing: A teal frock coat, leather breeches, and a brace of pistols
Line of Work: Privateer
Skills: Smuggling, arms trading, breaking blockades, making mayhem
Likes: Money, good wine, enthusiastic women
Dislikes: A fair fight
Inspired by: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, and someone too spoilery to mention.
Frequent Fancasts: He’s new to the scene, but Lee Pace, Colin O’Donoghue, Caleb Landry Jones

“My mother was an oyster and I’m the pearl.”

Leigh’s Comment: Sturmhond practically writes himself. Whereas most of my characters struggle with their motives and themselves, Sturmhond is pure confidence. He knows exactly who he is and exactly what he wants. It’s a pleasure to write that kind of clarity of intent.

ellieAlina

(source: Ellie)

Name: Alina Starkov
Most frequently found wearing: Blue and gold
Occupation: Former cartographer’s assistant in the First Army, Sun Summoner
Skills: Summoning and manipulating light, the Cut
Likes: Sweet rolls, time spent in the meadow
Dislikes: Herring
Inspired by: … hard to say. But I like to think there’s a little Emma Stone in there.
Frequent fancasts: Crystal Reed, Taissa Farmiga, Sarah Bolger

“I’m not the world changing type.”

Leigh’s Comment: People often ask if I’m like Alina. I’ve always felt like an outsider and we definitely share a similar sense of humor, but beyond that, we’re quite different. Alina is braver and more forthright than I could ever hope to be, and she’s simply had a much rougher time of it. It’s not always easy to see her fail or make a bad choice, or to watch her struggle with her own fear and doubts, but I like heroes who don’t always get it right, and I hope all the hell I put her through makes for a more interesting story.

eventhepartBotkin

(source: Kira)

Name: Botkin Yul-Erdene
Most Frequently found wearing: roughspun and something lethal
Line of Work: Combat instructor at the Little Palace
Skills: A trained mercenary, Botkin is deadly no matter which weapon he wields
Likes: Seeing progress in his students even if they have to suffer for it
Dislikes: Bullies
Inspired by: One of my grade school teachers who was also a former marine
Frequent Fancasts: Jason Momoa, Sifu Kisu, Clive Russell

“Steel is earned.”

Leigh’s Comment: Botkin is a Shu mercenary tasked with training Grisha in hand-to-hand combat. He’s tough on his students because they tend to rely too much on their powers, and drives them mercilessly in drills and sparring bouts. Though Botkin is gruff, he’s never cruel. He really is quite a bit like Mr. Lee, my fifth grade humanities teacher. He was a little terrifying and definitely hard to impress, but that made his praise all the more valued.

(via fifthteenth blog tour stop: Mundie Moms.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #14

On Leigh Bardugo‘s fourteenth stop in her blog tour, she talks about her love for music in a different way, by sharing her two different music lists, each list serving their own purpose during different points of her writing process.

There are two ways I use music when I’m actually writing (as opposed to brainstorming):

1. White Noise
I can’t listen to anything where the lyrics are too present. Even most classical has too strong a period feel and emotional pull. There are a few exceptions, but mostly I just need something that fills the silence (or obliterates a noisy cafe), and that doesn’t get in the way of the scene.

2. Dance Breaks
You know how people dance in the Harlem Shake videos? Picture that with less pelvic thrusts. When your concentration is ebbing or you’re stuck in a scene, sometimes coffee isn’t the answer, but capering around your room like a loon with a squirrel in your pants is. (I’m going to regret saying that, aren’t I? It’s going to end up on my tombstone.)

Here are a few favorites from both categories that helped keep me focused and inspired while working on Siege and Storm.

Dance Breaks

Situation, Making Friendz
Shuffle, Bombay Bicycle Club
Body Movin’, Beastie Boys

Universal Mind Control (UMC), Common
Ants in My Pants, The Sparks
Ten-Twenty-Ten, Generationals
Get Some, Lykke Li
I Love It, Icona Pop
Gravity, Nico Vega

White Noise

Glue of the World, Four Tet
Everything is Alright, Four Tet
She Moves She, Four Tet
As Serious As Your Life, Four Tet
Montanita, Ratatat
Gettysburg, Ratatat

Love Story Meets Love Story (Taylor Swift Remix), Jon Schmidt
Timestretch, Bassnectar
Retche Mama Da Me Jeni (Mother Has Decided to Marry Me Off), Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic
Modern Drift, Efterklang
Daydreaming, Dark Dark Dark
Lights (Bassnectar Remix), Ellie Goulding
Fingers Never Bleed, Yeasayer (recommended by Elena at Novelsounds)
Vision One, Röyksopp
Penelope, Pinback
Into the Fog (from Master and Commander), The Newman Scoring Stage Orchestra
Not Driving Anymore, Rob Dougan

(via fourteenth blog tour stop: Fic Fare.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #13

On Leigh Bardugo‘s thirteeth stop in her blog tour, she shares her favorite books while growing up, which shows her peculiar, and ultimately geeky, side, which sure enough helped influence her writing process in some form or other.

I’ve talked about classics like Dune and my love for Madeleine L’Engle. I could go on at you about the Witch of Blackbird Pond, or Howl’s Moving Castle, or From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. But these are a few of the books that I adored as a kid and that don’t often make it into interviews. They’re the weird, lovely, creepy tales I read and reread, that shaped my early taste in stories and still do to this day.

catwitch-book-cover1. Catwitch by Una Woodruff, text by Lisa Tuttle
As you may have guessed, this book is about a cat. Who is also a witch. Jules is a kitten who longs for adventure, so he leaves his brethren behind and ends up familiar to a witch (a fading starlet looking to regain her glamor). There’s a nefarious real estate developer, a fairy court, and yes, even a unicorn brought to life in absurdly lush illustrations. I adored this book and must have reread it hundreds of times as a kid. It’s one of those books where the illustrations reveal something new with every close perusal. Plus the story has a real sense of darkness and magic, and a plot twist that left my impressionable mind reeling.

bunnicula-book-cover2. Bunnicula by James Howe 
My first vampire book. Is this the novel that paved the way for my future infatuation with Lestat? Bunnicula arrives straight from the Carpathians (Transylvania) and when vegetables begin appearing drained of their juice, it’s up to a grumpy cat and a cupcake-loving dog to ferret out what secrets this cuddly predator may be hiding. This book sounds really cute, right? But I remember finding it pretty scary in places and being truly engaged in the mystery. Also, I wrote to James Howe when I was a little girl and he wrote back. He answered all of my questions with great seriousness and generosity. From then on, whenever I saw one of his books, I felt like I had a connection not just to him, but to all writers.

dragonlance-book-cover3. The Dragonlance Series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
No Tolkien cred for me. This was my first foray into secondary world fantasy. One of my best friends and I used to call each other Laurana and Sturm. (Actually, we still do. Makes for fun texts: “Congrats on baby #2, Brightblade!”) Though my interest lagged after the first six books, the Legends trilogy was my favorite, mostly because of a certain Raistlin Majere, an arrogant mage with a thirst for power and what might best be described as reluctant humanity.

 

different-seasons-book-cover4. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Maybe it seems a little strange to turn to a story of false incarceration, torture, and human misery as a comfort read, but when I think back on junior high school, I’m not really surprised. After all, this novella is essentially a story of liberation and of never losing yourself, no matter what you endure or how often people tell you you’re nothing. (It’s also a very satisfying tale of revenge.) I was actually distressed when they made a film out of it, and though it’s a good one, I will always have my own set of images associated with the story, particularly the stone walls and fields that Red searched.

batman-tdkr-book-cover5. The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
As a kid, I loved superhero comics. But I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started to drift away from them around age 11—the same time I started being aware of the male gaze. Looking back, I think the problem may have been the dawning understanding that the superheroines I loved were also sexual objects. I saw myself in them and the reflection that came back was distorted. A lot of people hate on Carrie Kelley, the thirteen-year-old girl who becomes Batman’s new Robin, but she was who I needed to see: an ordinary girl with an ordinary body and iffy taste in eyewear. Say what you will about Miller (no really, say it loudly), but I think this book was for me what Watchmen seems to be for everybody else—a fallible, human, resonant reinvention of the superhero.

(via thirteenth blog tour stop: Into the Hall of Books.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone along with a hardcover copy of Siege and Storm!)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #12

On Leigh Bardugo‘s twelfth stop in her blog tour, she goes into detail about the power of research and the whole worldbuilding thing when coming to expanding the world of Ravka.

I have a love-hate relationship with research. When it comes to folk and fairytales, a well written history, or just about anything involving food, I can spend hours getting blissfully lost. While writing Shadow and Bone, I would spend the day reading, highlighting passages and taking notes as I went. Then I’d go back and turn those notes into lists: Food and holidays, names and language, religion and mythology, flora and fauna, clothing and customs. I enjoyed just about every minute of it. This is my favorite mode of research—I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, I’m just looking.

But deadlines make that kind of browse-and-meander approach a luxury, and it gets even tougher when I know I need something specific for a particular scene or beat. Sometimes it’s an easy find. When Mal and Alina were hunting the stag in Tsibeya, I was looking for ways to bring the tundra to life around them and “fire lichen” practically jumped out of one of my field guides. But around the same place in the story, Mal points out a bird’s nest to Alina. It took me hours to decide which type of bird it should be. I needed to put the right bird on it: one that nested in trees and that could conceivably survive in this habitat. I also wanted the name to have beauty to it. I chose “sparrowhawk” and it was only later that a reader pointed out the connection to one of Ursula Le Guin’s characters from her Earthsea series. I still wonder if memories of him were floating around in my subconscious and guiding that small choice.

seige_and_storm-cover

When it came to Siege and Storm, I had to get into nautical research: schooners, whalers, privateering. Not surprisingly the research into privateers (essentially pirates with a license) was the most fun. I love reading about the American Revolution so I started with Patriot Pirates and George Washington’s Secret Navy.  Pirates & Patriots of the Revolution: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Colonial Seamanship was invaluable because of the clear diagrams of sails and knots, and the illustrations of everything from a ditty bag to a battle whistle.

Fiction was a great resource too—Moby Dick and particularly the Bloody Jack series. The latter was recommended during a fantastic panel at WorldCon back in 2011, and this brings me to the important point that books and articles don’t have to be your only resources when it comes to building a world. There are a lot of conventions out there that are geared towards writers. At that WorldCon alone, I attended panels on pirates and privateers, language building, and a talk by the absurdly charming and generally amazing Taylor Anderson on Victorian warfare. At a George R.R. Martin signing in Los Angeles, I met Davey Krieger, a fellow fan who happens to be a full-fledged pirate expert and who let me pick his brain when it came to logistics like moving between decks and boarding an enemy ship.

I’m also lucky in the fact that I seem to know a lot of smartypants people who know even more smartypants people. There’s a particular sea-going craft that appears in Siege and Storm that presented some engineering problems. So I took to Facebook with the request: I need to talk to someone with experience in… Well, I can’t tell you the specifics because it would amount to a spoiler. But I can say that, when it comes to world building, there seem to be two kinds of scientists:

Type 1.

Me: I have this idea—

Scientist: Impossible.

Me: But in my world—

Scientist: Impossible. (chortle) That’s just impossible. Let me tell you all the reasons why it’s impossible.

 

Type 2

Me: I have this idea—

Scientist: You mean like X?

Me: More like Y.

Scientist: Ooh, this reminds me of this and that and also this! Let me draw you some sketches!

Curiously enough, Type 1 scientists tend to bust out with things like, “Well, can’t you just magic something up?” Believe me, there are times I wish I could. But I think magic feels more real when it has limitations and the magical system I created for the Grisha Trilogy is bound by certain constraints for that very reason.

Not surprisingly, Type 2 scientists tend to be fans of gaming and speculative fiction. They seem to understand the balance of fact and fiction, and the pleasure of bending the rules without actually breaking them. I suspect they’re also more fun at parties.

With research, I use only a small fraction of everything I encounter, but I never know where another story idea might come from or what I might end up using in the future. I think the best thing you can do is keep all of the doors open, take notes, and remember that inspiration can come from anywhere. When I was around ten, I went on a class trip and we got to tour a tall ship. The guide handed around an onion and made each of us take a bite to demonstrate one of the ways sailors tried to prevent scurvy when there was no fresh citrus to be had at sea. I never forgot the taste of that onion, and many years later, that little detail wormed its way into the prologue of Siege and Storm.

(via twelfth blog tour stop: Birth of a New Witch)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #11

On Leigh Bardugo‘s eleventh stop in her blog tour, she gives her reasoning for and how the song “Winter Prayer” came about.  It’s a beautiful song that Leigh actually sung herself.  She did, after all, sing in a band in her pre-S&B days.

captainAutogursky

If you flip to the back of Shadow and Bone, you’ll see that my official bio claims I can sometimes be heard singing with my band, Captain Automatic. Unfortunately, it’s been a long while since we’ve rehearsed or played out at a club. This is a pic taken after one of my favorite shows we played at Safari Sam’s.

The club no longer exists, and since that photo was taken, two of the guys in it have become dads, one of them bought a house and started his own business. And the lady with the bad case of red-eye landed her dream job and wrote a fantasy trilogy.

>But I still miss music and I often find myself driving around making up songs. One of these became “Winter Prayer,” the song we released as part of the Siege and Storm pre-order campaign. Honestly, I was really scared to put it out there. But the song isn’t just something I made. It represents work from so many of my amazing friends, and I wanted to share it. So how did “Winter Prayer” go from me mumbling on my cell phone to an actual song?

1. The idea: I have a mind like a sieve. A sieve from a giant’s kitchen. So, when I get an idea—whether for a story or a song—I record it on my cell. A little over a year ago, I was trapped in traffic on the way back from dinner, playing around with a folk melody that was stuck in my head and thinking about a particular scene toward the end of Shadow and Bone. An idea for a lyric popped into my mind and I sang it into my phone. That became the first verse of the song and it never changed.

2. Though I’ve occasionally dabbled with bass, I have this problem wherein I don’t, y’know, practice. So I called up our lead guitarist (who can play something like twelve instruments) and I sang him the melody. He came over and I described the way I wanted the song to start slow, pick up speed, and wind back down all while keeping to this same repeated melody. We cobbled together a version of it on my upright piano and recorded it on my laptop.

3. The song didn’t feel like the right fit for Captain Automatic. I wanted a bigger, lusher, more orchestral feel. I reached out to my friend Aaron who is a composer and producer. (He and his wife had actually both been a part of the original Captain Automatic lineup.)  Once he was on board, I sent him the recording and a bunch of links to different musical references—everything from Florence + the Machine to Bulgarian folk songs. The first time he came back to me, the sound wasn’t quite right—too dirge-like, too dignified. I wanted something a little wilder, that felt like it could be sung around a campfire. On his next try, he got it just right. We went back and forth a few times, trying some different things with pacing and instrumentation, and had his wife Laura Recchi step in to record temporary vocals. “For me,” says Laura, “this song evokes a sense of place and imagery. I can see the snow, the light and shadows, and I feel the excitement and fear of the journey. I’m also a sucker for a good folk tune in a minor key.”

LauraAurora

Laura and her daughter Aurora rocking Tsarpunk style at the Shadow and Bone launch party. I look a little sinister. Like maybe I’m gonna steal that baby. Or her hat.

4. Once we had the basics down, Aaron brought in Richard Adkins on percussion. With the rhythm in place, it was time for me to do my part. We recorded at Aaron’s house and I have to admit it was stressful. I don’t have a lot of training and I’m keenly aware that I’m no Florence Welch. If I’m not flailing around on stage, I tend to get very self-conscious about my voice. But Laura and Aaron were endlessly patient and I got to record plenty of takes.

5. To fill out the sound, Aaron had his friend Daniel Fabiano improvise a part on violin, and Laura and her friend Belinda Wilkins became the choir. Yup, that’s just two ladies belting it out in Aaron’s living room. (They’re actually singing in Ravkan.)

Aaron emailed me the file and we went back and forth, playing with dynamics and ironing out some of the rough edges. Here’s what he had to say about the process:

“It’s always nice to work with someone who has a clear idea of what they are going for. All I had to do was fill in the ‘musical blanks,’ so to speak.

It also helped that Leigh and I used to perform together in a band, so I was familiar with her voice and her performance style. Although we tracked drums in a ‘real’ studio, we took the DIY approach of turning my living room into a mini soundstage to record marching/stomping, violins, and slavic choirs—all using the magic of multi-tracking. It was a lot of fun!”

For a while, I wasn’t sure what to do with the song so I just let it sit. Then I worked up the courage to send it to my agent and she passed it along to the publisher. A few weeks ago, my editor at Macmillan got in touch to ask if I’d be willing to have “Winter Prayer” used as part of the pre-order campaign. Like I said, it was scary to think about putting something this different out there, but I also hated the idea of just letting it molder. I spoke to Aaron and he suggested having a friend of his mix and master the track before we took it live.

7. Nik Freitas worked his magic at his studio, Poppy Peak:

“When I first got the recorded session of the song, I opened it up and scrolled down the screen and realized there were a lot more tracks than I thought! At first listen I could hear where the song wanted to go, I just needed to clear up some of the instrumentation with equalizer and put more emphasis on certain parts like the bass drum and lead vocal. Once that was sounding good sonically, the song’s emotional tone was more in focus and all the other instruments seemed to sit better and do what they needed to do in elevating all their parts. I’m really happy with how the song turned out.”

I like to think Nik is still trapped behind that piano.

We went back and forth a few times, but somehow, we all knew when the song was where we wanted it to be.

It can be easy to say we don’t have time for art or to do the things we love, that we’re simply too busy. But I believe my writing benefits when I take the time to be creative in other ways. Music has an immediacy to it that writing doesn’t. It’s there and then it’s gone and no two performances are ever alike. When I’m singing or playing, I’m not thinking about all the things I have to do or what is or isn’t working in a draft, I’m just in the moment. It’s less a distraction than a shift in focus, and sometimes it’s just where inspiration is hiding.
When I wrote “Winter Prayer” and recorded it, I really had no idea what I would use it for, if anything. But putting it together gave me a chance to make music and work with some of my wonderfully creative friends. No matter how crazy life gets, I never want to lose that.

(via ninth blog tour stop: Two Chicks on Books.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone and a Hardcover copy of the upcoming Siege and Storm!)

Leigh Bardugo’s SIEGE AND STORM Blog Tour Stop #10

On Leigh Bardugo‘s tenth stop in her blog tour, there’s actually two book reviews involved in this, and from somewhat very different perspectives, but still, neither can deny that the story still attracts them to find out more about the story and what challenges face Alina as well as the supporting characters.

Here’s what Kate from The Book Monsters had to say on her final verdict:

Siege and Storm is a battle read, plain and simple. The line has been drawn in the sand. Alina and the Darkling fighting for what each believes in. And there may only be one winner at the end of the day. Who will it be? I don’t know. But I do know that Siege and Storm is one of the best sequels I have ever read. It is dark, crushing, gut renching, and so, so much more. I loved every moment of this read, and hate that I now have to wait so long for the next installment.

And here’s what Kristen had to say on her final verdict:

Slow at times, Siege and Storm felt a little too chunky and weighted down with a lot of down time and lack of action. I put this one down a lot when it got slow, but found myself drawn back into the story and not forgetting any moments even when taking a month to read it on and off. Definitely a series I will finish off.

Don’t forget to check out their site to enter the book giveaway!

(via ninth blog tour stop: The Book Monsters.  Enter to win a paperback copy of Shadow and Bone and a Hardcover copy of the upcoming Siege and Storm!)