Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series(?): The Six of Crows Duology (#2)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Source & Format: Hardcover, bought from Book Depository
Page Count: 546
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.
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 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.
** SIX OF CROWS SPOILERS **
Crooked Kingdom took my heart and ripped it to shreds
I wasn’t prepared, although I don’t think you ever be prepared for the events that occurred in Crooked Kingdom. Leigh Bardugo’s writing was on point, her characters were on point and the story was just asdfghjkl. There’s just something about the way that Bardugo writes that has me so engrossed within the world she creates. (Bring on The Grisha Trilogy and The Language of Thorns!)
I’m not ready to let go of these characters, to let go of Ketterdam. They’ve had quite the impact on me as a person. This is one of the novels where I truly feel that representation was done correctly. A big massive thank you for that.
Hopping straight to this after Six of Crows was a benefit as I continued the story without feeling detached from the world. I highly recommend having both to hand before reading if you haven’t delved into the series before. If you’ve read Six of Crows, delving back into this world isn’t that hard as the writing makes it easy for you to become immersed once more. I can just imagine the people who waited for this to be released after reading Six of Crows. Oh boy.
Although, like I mentioned in my Six of Crows review, definitely read The Grisha Trilogy before, especially with Crooked Kingdom as some things are spoiled for The Grisha Trilogy. But, I think the reread of this after reading The Grisha Trilogy will be interesting.
( Also, if you missed it over on my Instagram, I cosplayed as Jesper for a photo! It’s possibly one of my most favourite photos on my bookstagram but also Leigh Bardugo replied when I set it as my profile picture over on Twitter! My heart went. I’m also using the photo for a future bookish discussion! )
The story flowed on the river of my tears.
**AGAIN SIX OF CROWS SPOILERS**
Since we left off with Inej’s capture, the story wasted no time in delving right into the action, which I loved. The scene was already set up from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom carried it on amazingly well. The pacing and the flow of the story were quite in time with the moments as well, slow when they were meant to be and fast when the had to be.
Seeing the many choices each of the characters had to face was interesting, it definitely exposed some of their underlying issues and the problems they still had to face. This further emphasized many of the obstacles they still had to face, that Six of Crows wasn’t the end of their problems. For some of them, it was merely the beginning.
Although, many of my reactions during the plot were emotional ones. Laughter, sadness, and happiness were some of them. I threw my book at the wall at one point. (Yes, I did apologize to the book straight after, haha!) It’s so amazing how hilarious moments can immediately turn it into serious ones when they need to be.
Leigh Bardugo can take characters’ histories and make them part of the character’s motivations to drive the plot forward. This is something she does exceptionally well with the amount of character insight we gain in Crooked Kingdom. I definitely believe this empowered the plot with more emotion as I knew what the characters had been through and what something could potentially cost them.
Fear is a Phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.
Never have I ever met a group of characters that take my heart like this.
Although there’s also Lazlo Strange, this group of six characters are so distinct from each other. I could hear the individual voices in my head while I was reading their perspectives and it was awesome. The journies that each of these characters has been on are so poignant but also enlightening for them as their perspectives change slightly through the novel. I loved how many of the insecurities of the characters were shown in Crooked Kingdom, allowing me to know them on a deeper level.
We’re also joined by Kuwei Yul-Bo in this novel, who is the son of Bayur Yul-Bo who unfortunately died. Kuwei is mostly silent, but some of the things he does in this novel is mostly intelligent or hilarious. But, I think there’s something I can’t forgive him for. (but y’know, he can ring me up anytime.) Although, I do wish he did have a bigger part within Crooked Kingdom as his role did seem a little insignificant.
Otherwise, everything else was just perfection. But, can I just mention…
THE SHIPS WERE FREAKING DELIGHTFUL.
My heart was set alight with the interactions between the ships and I just want to hug them. And I’m so proud of the characters, they set my heart alight.
We do get to meet Jesper’s father in Crooked Kingdom, and he is one of the sweetest, heartfelt, and loving men I have met. You can definitely feel the resemblance between Jesper and his father. Jesper’s father is so supportive of his son, but he doesn’t take crap. He will get the answers he needs. It’s also the only good relationship we see between a father and son in this entire series. Plus, it’s a book where the parent hasn’t magically disappeared!!!!!!
The minor characters were rememberable too. From Alys to a few appearances from what I do believe was The Grisha Trilogy, there are definitely some amazing minor character personalities that I don’t think I’ll be forgetting.
Wylan Van Eck, my sweet child has been through so much in Six of Crows. His inability to read, the drama with his father and his struggles to find a place he belongs. He was definitely one of my favourite characters to follow in Crooked Kingdom. Seeing how far he has come, I was proud of this smol bean.
The world was expanded! We got to see a lot more variety.
With the events of Crooked Kingdom, many different cultures are presented which was so great to see. The amount of diversity in both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom were fabulous and I can’t ever say enough how much that means to me. To find a character that you can feel that they represent you is a wonderful thing and it’s also a freaking wonderful feeling.
Ketterdam was expanded upon as well, including some of the intricate laws and rules within it which I found extremely interesting as a writer too. Seeing the amount of world-building details Barudgo put into her world definitely gave me a few tips as to some things I can include and involve in my world creations.
Crooked Kingdom is definitely worth the 5 stars that I rate it.
The duology as a whole?
A small point, but I do think Leigh Bardugo was craving waffles while writing this duology. But, both books were exceptional and I definitely think it’ll be on my top recommended books of all time.
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns— with more to come.
Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of Tor.com and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the forthcoming Ninth House.
Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
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Did you read Crooked Kingdom? If so, what were your thoughts? If you haven’t, READ IT IMMEDIATELY.