Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
My rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads summary: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
I finished reading Crooked Kingdom early this morning, and it’s taken me the rest of the day until now to really digest all of my feelings about it. Being probably my most highly anticipated book I’ve read in some time, I was going into this with a lot of expectations. I had my heart set on a few things going a certain way, and although not everything turned out exactly how I was hoping, I was still very satisfied with this sequel.
I think what I loved so much about this duology was the characters. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan were such a compelling gang. I enjoyed reading each of their perspectives very much! It’s hard to choose a favorite character because they each had such different qualities about them. If I absolutely had to choose however, it would have to be Kaz because his character is just so dark and cold and calculating and such a badass; I love it.
An honorable mention would be Wylan because we really got to learn a lot more about him in this book. He didn’t get all that much attention back in Six of Crows (he honestly felt like more of a extra character than a main one), but in Crooked Kingdom he had a lot more time in the lime-light and he grew from a spineless and naive boy into a brave young man with some seriously cool demolition skills who despite everything, never lost his kind heart.
Though the awesome characters were a huge part of what made this duology such a winner in my eyes, the plot itself was also excellent. There were so many twists and turns, so many foiled plans and crazy “by-the-seat-of-your-pants” risky moves, and so much SCHEMING! If anything I found the first hundred pages or so to be maybe just a tiny bit slow, but beyond that this story had its claws sunk into me real good. Be prepared to be perched on the edge of your seat with this book; my heart took a beating with all the many ups and downs!
Like probably anyone else who is a fan of the Grisha trilogy, I was over the moon to be able to return the Grishaverse with this duology. I simply adore Leigh Bardugo’s writing style! Her Grishaverse has to be one of my most favorite fantasy worlds ever written; I love the overall 19th century European vibe it has, the Russian-esque feel of Ravka, and the fierce, unforgiving quality of Ketterdam. If Bardugo ever decides to write any more books set in this world I will be first in line. I think something about Fjerda or the Shu Han would be super interesting, or hey, just give me more KAZ!
Crooked Kingdom was chock full of some unforgettable fight scenes and in contrast some beautiful moments between friends and love interests as well. I shipped all the ships, all the time! Especially Kaz and Inej; I adored the scene where Kaz was helping Inej with her bandages, it was such a vulnerable and honest moment. It’s rare for Kaz to let his guard down at all, so that bit along with any other armourless moments were really precious! I only wish that we got a bit more of Kaz/Inej; I was left feeling a little unsatisfied when everything wrapped up in their last scene, but it was still a very charming moment between them!
All things considered, I really, really, loved this book. If only this wasn’t only a duology because I think could read about this badass group of characters forever! There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at this to avoid any spoileryness.
I want more!!