Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Date published: September 27th 2016
Page Count: 536
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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 badly weakened, 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 the Grisha world.
I’ll be upfront and say that I enjoyed Crooked Kingdom more than Six of Crows, and I don’t know how it was possible, because I really really really liked SoC. Crooked Kingdom is packed with so much more character development, a good douse of angst, and heist after heist after heist.
The last book of the duology didn’t have a defined plotline that SoC did. You knew where the first book was going, but the second book … well, you latched onto Kaz and you find out. The constant element of surprise kept me on the edge of the seat.
The best part of the book was seeing how seeing how they interacted with each other. I love the back stories, diversity, and all the ships. OML the shipsss.
Developing the romance became an increasingly bigger role in the second book. AND I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT. The relationships are different for each pair, so you get a bit of flirtations from Wylan and Jesper, mixed with sexual tensions between Nina and Matthias, and then the slow burn affections between Inej and Kaz. It was a perfect balance with the rest of the book; just enough to keep the spice going, but never overwhelming the plot. I loved that each pair got some time to grow together.
But truly, the character development was profound. Sure there was a bit of development in the previous book, but Crooked Kingdom gave way for growth in some of the more resilient characters like Kaz, Inej, and Jesper.
First, let’s start with Kaz. As I’ve mentioned in my SoC review, I initially wasn’t a fan of Kaz. I know that his experience and traumas have caused him to be so closed off and seem so heartless, and he’s definitely more a man of action than a man of words. In some ways, I felt that Inej deserved better. Just my opinion, but for the first half of the novel, I wanted to just throttle Inej and scream “GET AWAY FROM HIM.”
Kaz was a really complicated character to read about, and it took a long while for me to really open up to him (and that’s saying a lot, because I tend to feel for anti-heros). But his path to redemption was so admirable and moving. The contrast was so evident, that when Inej realized how much he’s changed, I got pretty emotional. He really did redeem himself in the end.
And Inej. Can I say, that I suddenly felt a rush of feel and love for Inej in the second book? She felt like a really quiet character in the first book, but I couldn’t help but acknowledge her strong presence in CK. And her Suli proverbs really did grow on me ❤
But Jesper. I FREAKING LOVE JESPER. I lived to hear his side comments and jokes. Can I have him please? It almost broke my heart to watch Jesper let go of his easygoing facade to face his demons. But it was rewarding to see him be more than just smiles and laughs and represent something more.
This book just packed a punch of emotions and feels for the characters. It ached my heart when learning about the characters past (whyyy Wylannn). Literally, why do all the main characters have a such a sorrowful past?
So Six of Crows was mostly focused on one big heist of breaking into the Ice Court. Crooked Kingdom was heist after heist after heist. And not only that, they’re ingenius. While the heist in Six of Crows was one main scheme where they broke into the Ice Court to steal Kuwei, it’s not quite clear what the main goal of Crooked Kingdom was. Rather, the only thing that readers know at the beginning of the CK is that they’re off to save Inej.
But that’s not where it ends. After one heist is the beginning of the other. And they build on top of each other to lead to who knows what.
There are times when there are
some quite a few slip-ups and I literally get a heart attack. Then I just pray to god that Kaz has it under control. Cuz it be cut-throat sometimes.
Whenever Kaz opens his mouth to talk about what his intentions were, things begin fitting into place and piecing together. Then you just sit there and wonder, how the hell does he come up with this?
But eventually, everything came to a perfectly clean wrap up. If you thought Kaz Brekker was clever in SoC, haha, well, you definitely haven’t seen him yet for his final stand with the crew. It’s victory, vengeance, and satisfaction wrapped up in
a bottle two bottles smashed upon Jan Van Eck’s and Pekka Rollin’s head. I loved every moment of it.
It was sad coming to the end of the duology. But Leigh Bardugo paid a good farewell the the characters. The ending wasn’t overly sentimental; it was realistic and perfectly suitable for each of the characters.
- [Matthias] knew what it was to be out of your depth, and he sometimes suspected they could forgo all of Kaz’s planning and simply let Jesper and Nina flirt the entirety of Ketterdam into submission.
- Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.
Six of Crows AHHHHH. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but I’m so glad I finally got to pick up the duology. So excited to read more of Leigh Bardugo!!