Reviews

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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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.

Goodreads

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Alright y’all, I’m trying something new! I am going to start rating all of the books I review on a  5 star scale. Its something that I enjoy seeing in a review, so I thought I would try it out.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone who follows me on Twitter that I loved this book. In fact, I’m sure you’re wondering why I rated a book written by one of my favorite authors 4.5 instead of 5 stars. I have my reasons! (Okay it was only one reason) Because the plot of this book is so entwined with the development and narrative of each different character, I am going to be reviewing it one character at a time. This review does contain some Six of Crows spoilers – if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading it immediately! I posted a review for it a couple of weeks ago.

Wylan

“Kaz?” Jesper said tentatively.

But Kaz was staring into the middle distance. Wylan thought he knew that look.

“Is that-?” asked Wylan.

“Scheming face?” said Jesper.

Matthias nodded. “Definitely.”

In Six of Crows, Wylan was more of a secondary character, in my opinion, so I was ecstatic to see more of him in this book. Throughout the first half of this book, Wylan struggles to come to terms with the kind of monster his father, Jan Van Eck really is. Learning more of Wylan’s background, and seeing Van Eck’s treatment of his son, not only sheds light on Wylan as a character, but Van Eck as a villain. In Six of Crows, I disliked Van Eck, but through Wylan’s eyes, the reader is able to completely grasp how much of a corrupt, narcissistic, thug he is. While I thoroughly enjoyed this new view of Van Eck, my favorite thing about Wylan’s chapters, was his acceptance not only into the crows, but of of his new life. (Oh – and of course his relationship with Jesper)

Jesper

“My revolvers!” Jesper exclaimed, clutching them to his chest. “Oh, hello, you gorgeous things.”

Jesper can best be described as comic relief in what is otherwise a pretty dark series. I don’t think I was able to complete a single one of Jesper’s chapters without laughing. That being said, Crooked Kingdom helped the reader better understand Jesper’s struggles and gambling addiction. In Six of Crows, Jesper is reluctant to reveal that he is a Grisha – in Crooked Kingdom we learn why, as a big part of Jesper’s story in this book revolves around his past and present relationships with his father.

Nina & Matthias

“Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.”

“How about I bite your lip?”

“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.”

I decided to combine my review of Nina & Matthias because while Nina plays a large part in this book, I felt that Matthias’ role was relatively minimal. Remember that half a star I deducted from my rating? Nina and Matthias are the reason. I loved them throughout the book – they were sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed their banter. Nina is still struggling with the effects of using parem, and Matthias is worried but supportive of her while she works through the changes in her powers.The only thing I didn’t like about their story was its ending. I felt that Leigh Bardugo left some things unfinished with them. Hopefully, this means that when she does return to the Grishaverse, she will conclude their story.

Inej

“I’m not ready to give up on this city, Kaz. I think it’s worth saving.”

Crooked Kingdom begins with Inej in captivity – which didn’t worry me as much as you’d think. One of the many things I love about Inej is that she is so self sufficient. She is terrifying in her own right, The Wraith. Her history with the high wire was enjoyable to read and not at all surprising – who was shocked to learn that Inej didn’t listen to her father and learned the wire at her own pace? Certainly not me! The end to her story was probably my favorite – it was exactly what I wanted for Inej.

Kaz

“Do you? Do you want your money? The money we fought, and bled, and nearly drowned for? Or do you want Van Eck to be glad he picked a bunch of nobodies from the Barrel to scam?”

Its no secret that Kaz is my favorite Six of Crows character – if I didn’t already have a book husband (I haven’t forgotten about you Rhys!), Kaz may even have been my fictional boyfriend of the week. In Six of Crows, we learned about Kaz’s brother and his need to destroy Pekka Rollins. While Kaz’s main goal in Crooked Kingdom is to take down Van Eck, taking down Rollins “brick by brick” is always in the back of his mind. What makes Kaz such an incredible character, is his ability to get back up and keep fighting no matter the circumstances. At the climax of this book, when all of Ketterdam is against Kaz and his companions, he keeps his head held high and rallies. While he does show more humanity in this book than in the last, Leigh Bardugo kept his growth believable – he wasn’t miraculously able to overcome his fears in 500 pages, he struggles with them throughout the book and will continue to struggle with them most likely as long as he lives.

My Takeaway: With the exception of Mattias and Nina’s ending, I loved every page of this book. I can only hope that Leigh Bardugo chooses to revisit the Grishaverse in the near future!

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