I had high hopes for this book. I loved Six of Crows, so I was hoping its sequel could live up to the hype.
Crooked Kingdom surpassed anything I thought it would be. Leigh Bardugo is a master. I had been reading this for a few weeks now, which is a long time for me. I tend to fly through books because I can’t stand the suspense. But I took my time with this book, that was until last night. I read until 3:00 a.m. I work full time and had to be at my job at 7:30 a.m. Let me just tell you how awake I was for work today….. yeah not.
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
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.
Just an FYI – I have so many favorite quotes from this book. Leigh’s words are magic. She has a beautiful way of writing and I’m living for every moment of it. So here are a FEW of my favorite things.
“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
“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.”
“Wait,” he said. The burn in his voice was rougher than usual. “Is my tie straight?”
I never thought I’d like a book as much as I love this duology. I thought I was mostly into contemporaries. Little did I know what was waiting for me inside these blood-red pages.
Seriously, I was emotionally destroyed after reading this book. I was crying my eyes out the whole last quarter of that book while lying in my bed at 3:00 in the morning. Not a good look. I adored Six of Crows with a passion so I knew this had to be good. But DAMN this was good.
As part of a spoiler free review: listen. Read this book. The world building is incredible. We get to see so many different cultures, people and places, it’s absolutely amazing.
This book, and Six of Crows, are character driven. And I love all these characters individually. We get such a diverse cast including a disabled main character, victims of trauma working on overcoming their past, those dealing with addictions, characters of different color and religions, abilities and powers, different sexualities. I FREAKING LOVE IT. Leigh does it so well, she gives us so many different lenses to look through by giving each character their own point of view.
Also – the relationships in this book. Ugh. I think they’re much stronger in this book than in Six of Crows, where we’re just getting to meet them and sort of feeling them out. I loved getting to watch them grow in their each own unique way. From different friendships to different romances, each one is wonderful and I love them.
Leigh’s ability to create such a clever plot is outrageous. Things come out of nowhere, but then not out of nowhere at the same time. I was never able to quite connect the dots and figure out what was going on, which is such a breath of fresh air.
Okay, so I’m going to go all spoiler-y on you. So if you haven’t read it, go ahead and depart. Thanks for taking the time to read my review! Go read it now. You’ll thank me later.
Here is a picture of with this book before I got to the seriously emotionally devastating moments of this book. I was so happy and naive.
Are you gone? Okay great. We’re left with the people who can understand my devastation with this book. It just seemed to have wrecked me.
We start back off in Ketterdam, which I really liked because we didn’t get to see much of it in Six of Crows. I liked getting to know this city and the place that they call home.
But MATTHIAS. Man, I can’t believe it. I’ll be honest and say I never saw it coming. Until he turned around and say that little boy with a gun and I knew he was a goner. We couldn’t have everyone live, could we Leigh? I heard her say in an interview that he was killed by his younger self, which kind of blew my mind. That little boy was how he used to be, filled with so much hate and anger. But Matthias doesn’t die with hate in his heart. His last thought is to save his country and to save Nina. And that made me cry more.
If someone was going to die, I thought it would be in this epic way. Sacrificing themselves for one of their friends, not Matthias quietly getting shot when no one else was around. It was still heartbreaking though. I cried ugly tears.
It made me feel so much for Nina. I really hope that Leigh gives us more Nina because I want to know more about her story. How his death will affect her future, more about her how her powers have changed, etc. She has so much more to tell.
Jesper and Wylan. I LOVE IT. I was so excited when Jesper found “Wylan” at the piano and just went up and kissed him. I was cheering him on, until he realized it wasn’t Wylan but Kuwaii and then I just cringed so hard. And of course Wylan saw it happen. But it ends happily for those two and I was so excited.
Inej and Kaz. Man, they are my favorites forever. I know, Kaz is not a good guy, but he’s not a bad man. I loved getting to watch him change throughout this book, working through his feelings for Inej and oh my god, that scene where he was changing her bandages. Leigh has a great way in creating sexual tension without any sexual content because that scene was HOT.
This ship has sailed, my friends. I have loved them together from the start and I was so beyond happy with this ending for them. When she got that letter from him and went to the docks and there he was with NO GLOVES. WHAAT?! Then the ship comes and it’s for her with her name on it. I about died. And then he found her PARENTS! I love the line, “Wait, is my tie straight?” Bring on the tears! Ugh it’s so cute. I’m so happy about it.
Such amazing characters. I loved them all.
This was such a character-driven book, but the plot was crazy good. There are so many different heists and twists and turns, it was great. Except about three-quarters of the way through, I took a little break. I was getting a little frustrated because we hadn’t resolved a single thing yet. We kept piling this on top of each other of stuff they had to do before they got to do this OTHER stuff. We had to do this and this and this and then we get to do this. I think that’s what took me so long to read this because I was just at a point in this book where I was like – okay, I’m a little confused. What’s happening again? How are we going to fix all of this?”
But Leigh pulled it through in ways that seemed to have come out of nowhere, but really didn’t. It was just so intricately intertwined and well-plotted out. Little details just threw me for a loop because I just kept thinking – WHAT?! And then THAT happened?!
There are so many heartbreaking, tension-filled moments in this book, I could probably write for days. It was beautifully written with amazing characters and a kick-ass plot. Overall, a spectacular book. I’m sad it’s only a duology, but then again I’m not. I’m happy that it’s all wrapped up. Leigh keeps her endings open so she can come back to these characters one day. I hope that happens because I don’t think I’ve had my fill of these criminals.
10 out of 10 will recommend forever! I have not read the Grisha trilogy but I think I will now. I have become addicted to Leigh’s writing.