Title : Crooked Kingdom
Author : Leigh Bardugo
Series : Six of Crows #2
Genre : YA Fantasy
Punlished on : 27th September, 2016
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.
This book was insanely incredible. Maybe I’m feeling this way because I finished it just a few hours ago, but looking back to Six of Crows, and how that book still roams around in my mind even though it’s been quite a few weeks since I read it, I don’t think Crooked Kingdom will lose its shine that easily. This book was a phenomenal sequel, never faltering and wrapping up everything satisfactorily and yet leaving the reader dying for more. If my review of Six of Crows did not convince you to pick this up anyway, I totally suggest you do so because I promise, it’s one hell of a ride.
The biggest asset of this duology is its characters as well as characterization. I know this is a review only of the second book, but please excuse me if I speak about the entire duology as a whole anywhere. The characterization in Crooked Kingdom is taken one step forward, and whereas SoC was more about creating a base for the characters to develop and grow, CK saw that come alive. I didn’t think it was possible for more layers and facets to be revealed about any of the characters, but we get more in this book. We’re taken deeper into their hearts, deeper into their past and each character stands glorious as an individual, each equally important as the other and all of them together making up a team, a family.
As for the plot, I have no words to say except just rise and applaud Bardugo for treating us with this piece of sheer brilliance. The plot is strong and fast-paced, and complex enough to constantly keep us on the edge of our seats. It’s filled with twists and ‘WTF’ moments and is backed by strong writing and master storytelling.
I loved how the plot had minimal romance, and it was all so exciting and it fit in. It wasn’t over-the-top in any manner and nor did it interfere with the plot anywhere. I loved all of the pairings and how the couples complemented each other. However, not in a single scene did the romance overpower the plot, characters or common sense. It was all natural and at the same time, exciting.
(I did not annotate or take notes while reading this so I can’t go into details. Also, this is mainly going to be about me gushing over the three couples.)
Okay, let’s take a moment for Matthias. I did not see that coming. Going into the book, I knew that not all would be alive but somewhere along the book, I think I developed hope. Hope that maybe they would all have their happily-ever-afters, that they all would be safe and alive and hearty. When Matthias died, I almost dropped my kindle because WHAT? My immediate thought went to Nina and how she would react because even though she’s strong and fierce and wild, she needs her Matthias in order to live. I loved the scene where she watched him die in her arms and departed with his soul, it was just so painful.
As for their actual romance, it was cute and sparky and also funny. Matthias’ restraint and Nina’s wildness just fit and they are so perfect OMG.
My next favorite couple is Wylan and Jesper – there is just something so innocent and childlike and humorous about them. Their kiss was perfect and Wylan and his flushed face is SO CUTE.
As for Kaz and Inej, I didn’t really like them in the first book, but their relationship (whatever you may call it) developed so well in the second. I’m so glad that Bardugo showed Kaz slowly trying to get over his fear of touching skin – it was so realistically portrayed. I think I would’ve been furious had there been a makeout scene or even a kiss between Kaz and Inej, because you can’t get over trauma that easily, but Kaz’s baby steps – kissing Inej’s neck and then recoiling and even in the end when they intertwined their fingers was beuatifully portrayed. Also, what Kaz did for Inej at the end was perfect.
Overall, this book, and this duology – it was absolutely brilliant. It’s one of my top favorites, and I’m sure it will be for years to come. This is the kind of story which keeps you yearning for more books like these, but at the same time disappointed because you know there’s nothing quite like this. I highly, highly, highly, recommend picking this duology up!