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.
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for its predecessor Six of Crows and possibly the Grisha trilogy. It also may contain spoilers for this book itself. You have been warned.
Why we chose it: You’ve heard of Six of Crows right?
Review: We’re going to try and be professional here and not descend into madness, but it’ll be difficult because Crooked Kingdom was awesome and confusing and there were a few shards of disappointment.
We’re harsh critics.
So, Six of Crows was the most amazing surprise when we read it earlier in the year. It had magic and deception and so much wonderful scheming. It also had these great characters who we couldn’t help, but root for. This book has these elements, but it also differs from its predecessor in a fundamental way.
Crooked Kingdom brought us pain and we’re going to be floating about untethered from our sanity as we process it.
What you see above you is our first attempt at reviewing this book. We were unable to complete it because emotions were high and honestly it was more than a little sad knowing that there’s no chance of us getting new stories from Kaz and the gang in the immediate future.
But let’s get on, there isn’t time to wallow.
Staying in Ketterdam Crooked Kingdom sets about building more political schemes, more vengeful schemes and it’s not the route we were expecting. We thought after leaving the gang at the end of Six of Crows in tatters we’d find them all struggling. Nina with the need for the awful jurda parem rushing through her veins and everyone else with Inej being captured.
Of course we expected other little struggles and they did happen. Inej’s capture was dealt with. Nina’s bordering addiction problem was dealt with. In fact the jurda parem stuff was a recurring thing throughout the novel. It was awful and it was wonderful because such things aren’t usually dealt with in YA novels and certainly not in a fantasy setting.
We liked the staying close to home decision made by Leigh Bardugo for the most part, but with the limited page number and the lack of grand adventure we found things piling on top of each other. Higher and higher until we’d reach dizzying levels of confusion.
We were never confused with Six of Crows, so to experience the feeling here threw us a bit and it was being unsure that made us feel disappointment. Plain and utter confusion irritates us and with everything going on, with the plot taking more of a centre stage than the characters in Crooked Kingdom we just knew that we wouldn’t be able to rate this book five stars like so many others.
Now, we’re not saying character development wasn’t a huge part of this book. It definitely was and we’ll tell you why.
Wylan, Jesper, Inej, Nina, Matthias and Kaz are all in some ways weaker and stromger than they ever were before. We got to delve deeper and it was glorious.
Kaz is in some ways far stronger with his scheming and his deceptions, but he is also weaker because everything he now does is no longer motivated by money. It is also motivated by Inej and even though it’s something he loathes to admit to himself – we could see it.
Matthias is by far the odd one out. He’s the one with the most morals, the most limits, but he’s a Fjerdan and you can imagine how far someone like him would go to protect those he loves. What was interesting for him as a character in this book was the aftermath of some of the decisions we same him make last time. They affected him emotionally and physically.
Unbelievably cute and forever endearing Wylan finally got his own point of view and through that we got to see his shift from wealthy albeit unhappy boy to scrapping Barrel boy. His interactions with Jesper and the rest of the crew went so far through the roof in Crooked Kingdom we don’t even know how we managed to cope.
Guns faster and heart beating quicker is something one could define Jesper by. At least it’s something one could define Jesper by at the very first glance. A gambling addict and a sharp shooter who can’t seem to make a sound decision he appears to be, but a sweet boy with wants and hopes and dreams is what we saw him as.
We’re just going to mention that we adored his father and we think there was definitely some Irish inspiration there.
Inej and Nina are two fighting girls who have dealt with confidence issues and the abuse of men and women. We’d original planned to discuss them separately, but somehow it’s just far more fitting to mix them together for sake of comparison and to discuss are last and final disappointment.
Undoubtedly there were so many twists and turns and reveals we never expected to happen in this book. There were sad moments and happy moments. There were heartfelt moments that transcend the two. There was, unfortunately, an unifinished quality to the final moments.
Inej and all the others were gifted with the hope of positive horizons, we can honestly say that the only place those characters will ever go from now is a good one. They got a closure of sorts. Nina didn’t.
Her story line felt left open and it would have taken just one more scene to fix it. Just one more scene that never came.
To sum up, Crooked Kingdom is a book made of dominoes and feathers. Six wonderful multi-coloured feathers that represent our dearest Matthias and Nina, Wyland and Jesper and finally our ever wonderful and striving Kaz and Inej. The dominoes make up the complications, the attempts at order that sometimes become complicated and leave you dissatisfied. We’re not going to call this book a masterpiece, but one can’t deny that it’s a damn good representation at life with more than a few fantasy and heist elements thrown in.
As always, thank you for reading this review. What did you think? Do your opinions on Crooked Kingdom differ from ours or are they somewhat the same? Did you all like the difference between our Six of Crows review and this one? Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:
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