Just to get it out of the way - the pacing of SIEGE AND STORM is far different from SHADOW AND BONE. It reads like a different book because, well, it is a different book. I had a similar reaction to reading Ally Condie's CROSSED in comparison with MATCHED. In order for the end to be as insanely compelling - as it is - and "holy crap I did not expect that", there needed to be a spot where we could have some important character interaction and S&S offered this in spades. Yes, the Darkling does not appear in this book to the extent that he does in the previous, but that worked for me. The Darkling, at the end of S&B, is creepy and manipulative and it's completely understandable why Alina would want to avoid him at all costs. The development, however, over the course of S&S balanced this out.A longer review will be written soon to post in June.