“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
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.
I wasn’t sure that this series could get any better after the phenomenal piece of writing that was Six of Crows – but trust me it does. Crooked Kingdom is one of the best sequels that I have ever read and trust it’ll take a lot to trump that in the future.
Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to the fantasy heist novel Six of Crows. The first book was filled to the brim with exciting (and diverse) characters, adrenaline and twists and turns everywhere – and the sequel was just as amazing!
This book has all of the fantastical elements and gripping writing that I read in the Grisha trilogy – but with a plot that is so much more compelling and exciting. My copy of Crooked Kingdom has 536 pages and my worry with all big books is that a lot of it usually filler to keep you going until the end of the novel. That was certainly not the case in this book. The 6 (?) varying perspectives enabled Leigh Bardugo to jump between events and plans whenever she wanted; leaving cliffhangers at the end of most chapters, but still letting you have a much better grasp on everything going on at the same time.
Aside from the breathtaking plot, the characters were another of my favourite parts of this book. I wouldn’t say there was an insane amount of character development – but for once I liked that. The characters didn’t change so much, more the readers got to know more about who each character was as their own person.
The romance was another great aspect of this duology. It was always there but not so much that it took away from the plot. Matthias and Nina, wasn’t the best relationship, to begin with, but they learned to grow together and it was such a lovely and cute relationship to see and read about. (SPOILER: until the end that killed me but I’m happy she didn’t bring him back because that’s what not he would have wanted and showed that she didn’t really need romance to live and reach her dreams. SPOILER OVER)
Wylan and Jesper are the perfect examples of how I personally would like myself to be represented as a pansexual person. There wasn’t any shock horror at their relationship. It was cute, innocent and flirty and wasn’t written to alienate the reader or characters. It also wasn’t made out be a huge thing that took away from the plot or anything – it was just there.
Kaz and Inej… Well… I nearly cried when I finished the book and saw how their relationship ended. It wasn’t confirmed if they got to an intimate relationship or not but both took it slow and respected the others’ wishes. I have problems with skin contact and I’m happy that it wasn’t a case of either of them just holding hands one minute to having sex the next. Inej waited for Kaz to become more comfortable and although he never really becomes completely comfortable with more than holding hands by the end it was still progressing and she was obviously understanding and caring. This is my definition of a healthy relationship and it was so lovely to see.
I’d also just like to take a second to comment on the fact that Kaz’s leg was an educational thing for me. When I used to hear the phrase Chronic Pain I thought it referred to a pain that never stopped. But the pain varied and fluctuated throughout the book, and although sometimes it annoyed him I was so happy to see that he didn’t get it healed when he got the opportunity. I love learning things while reading and this was completely new for me!
I honestly wish this was longer than a duology because I don’t think I’ll read another book like this for a while now. This book is one of a kind and I’m so happy that Leigh Bardugo and her writing skills are something I am here to read.