Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 27, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
Crooked Kingdom retained all of the elements that I loved in Six of Crows—strategic scheming, morally ambiguous characters, strained romances—and expanded on them.
To start with, whereas the first book revolved around planning and executing a heist, Crooked Kingdom was all about getting revenge on someone who had crossed the group. This made the book delightfully darker as we got to see how wicked the crew could be—specifically Kaz. Time and time again, the crew leader proved how clever he was by staying one step ahead of everyone. I admired how Bardugo stayed true to Kaz’s backstory by showing how unrelenting and unforgiving he could be to people that get in the way of his one true purpose of life ==no spoilers==.
On a similar note, Bardugo did an excellent job of weaving flashbacks of the characters’ lives into the plot of the story. It allowed for smooth transitions between chapters as they alternated between the different points of view of the crew members. I think this book would adapt well into a movie for this reason. The flashbacks also enabled Bardugo to add more layers to the characters and story without info-dumping. It was inspiring to see the immense personal development each individual underwent—especially Matthias and Wylan. Unlike in Six of Crows where I only seemed to like the crew because they were ~cool~ and #misunderstood, in Crooked Kingdom I was able to appreciate how hardy and tenacious the whole lot is.
Despite the constant effort the crew was exerting to avenge themselves, there was still room for romance—and angsty romance at that. My only complaint with it though is that I WANTED MORE. However, when I seriously look back at the amount of romance in the story, the *ahem* murder:fluff ratio should be acceptable for both readers that don’t like romance in books and those who do
(but if you’re like me and trash for angst, then IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE).
In my review of Six of Crows, I mentioned how I was disappointed with the ending and hoped that Crooked Kingdom would neatly wrap up the duology. It pains me to say that I’m still not satisfied with the ending. In fact, the ending of Crooked Kingdom is the only thing keeping me back from rating this book five stars. There was just one //thing// that happened towards the finale that I found to be completely unnecessary
(those of you who have read this book will know what I’m talking about). It almost feels like Bardugo threw it in as an afterthought to somehow add more depth to story—which it did not. It just seemed pointless and random.
Crooked Kingdom surpassed my expectations and entertained me considerably more than Six of Crows. Although I loved reading about the crew’s schemes to get revenge, the fantastic character growth was what set this story apart from the previous book. This book was so close to becoming a favorite of mine before one
//thing// happened at the end of the story.
i almost loved it
Thanks for reading! Have you read Crooked Kingdom? What did you think of it? If you want to discuss the details of the book in the comments, just put a spoiler warning 😊.
Side note: I’m considering joining the Round 2 of the Contemporary-A-Thon hosted by chelseadolling reads, but we shall see how busy I get with school this week
and how well I can manage my time. If I do end up joining, you can expect a post about the challenges and books I completed some time next week. Let me know if you have joined this read-a-thon!