Book: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows 2) by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 27th 2016
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Other books in this series I reviewed
Six of Crows
Possible spoilers for the first book in the series
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.
‘No Mourners. No Funerals.’
But there were tears. Mostly mine.
I’m kidding. (Or am I?)
‘We are not our fathers.’
At this point I think a lot has been said about Crooked Kingdom and the Six of Crows duology in total. After reading The Grisha books I had not quite expected to love this as much as I did. But despite it being in the same world I feel that this duology has such a different feel to it. The characters are so very different. All flawed in their own way. There are no goody-two shoes here. But real, crooked people.
That is why I love this duology so much. I love how they interact with one another. Their bonds. Their flaws. Is this book perfect? No. I still have little bits and things with this book. Mostly because I wanted more in some areas. Imagine that after a 500+ pages book.
This book continues on a little after the ending of Six of Crows where there is now more at stake than just their money. I won’t go to much into the plot. But I was unsure of the plot in the first 100 pages because it felt it was just going to be drawn out with an easy plot. But then we got the plan within the plan within the plan. Within the plan. And I loved that. Kaz is the master! Don’t be scared because we get more crooked heists in this one.
I did have different expectations when it came to the ending and surrounding character’s deaths. No, I won’t say if some died if any died at all. That would be spoilers. But I don’t think the hard decision was made in this aspect. I can’t be too disappointed with that though. Because I loved everything else.
While Six of Crows you could easily read without having read The Grisha trilogy I feel that this is not the case with Crooked Kingdom. There are more mentions of characters from that trilogy. Plus there are appearances of characters and relationships between characters that you might not entirely get without having read that trilogy. So I really recommend reading the trilogy before reading this book in any case. It enhances the reading experience, I promise!
‘ ‘A lock is like a woman,’ he’d said blearily. ‘You have to seduce it into giving up its secrets.’
Sure, a lock was like a woman. It was also like a man and anyone or anything else – if you wanted to understand it, you had to take it apart and see how it worked. If you wanted to master it, you had to learn it so well you could put it back together.’
I have to say that I am very pleased (for the most part) with how Leigh Bardugo dealt with Kaz his disability, ptsd and character overall. I have seen far too often that when a character has a disability that it gets magically cured. I hate that. Because how is that representation? But that isn’t the case with Kaz’ leg. I also loved that at the end of this book Kaz his ptsd is still there but he is making small improvements which is very realistic. Not because Inej changed him, but because he wants to make the effort for Inej. And you know, Kaz remains Kaz. He never takes the easy way out. He didn’t all of a sudden turn soft and say sweet words to them all.
‘Kaz is wondering if he should keep you alive,’ said Jesper. ‘Terrible for the nerves. I recommend deep breathing. Maybe a tonic.’
Ah my precious Jesper. My favorite character from the first book. He remains his humoristic self, but clearly has to deal with the aftermath that his decisions created in Six of Crows. Especially his relationship with Kaz seems to have taken a hit, and he tries so hard to fix it. I found his powers that were a bit more addressed in this book interesting. I would have loved to have seen more of it throughout the book though instead of an afterthought at the end.
‘Wylan knew Nina could handle just about any man and any situation, but he didn’t think she should have to sit half-dressed in a drafty gambling parlor, perched on some leering lawyer’s lap. At the very least, she was probably going to catch a cold.’
I wasn’t sure of Wylan at the end of Six of Crows but now that we got his point of view I have fallen for this character. Above quote one of the reasons. His point of view really deepens him out. His background with his father but also his mother. I also love how observant he is of Jesper and how he grows into being a part of the gang without losing a part of himself. And I loved how he didn’t seem to have any ill feelings towards his step mother. One of those annoying tropes I hate.
‘We meet fear, he’d said. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear arrives, something is about to happen.’
And fear I did meet in this book.
Inej is precious. There is really nothing to say more than that, really. I love how she sticks to her own things. She isn’t willing to give up everything for Kaz despite how she feels about him.
‘You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.’
And then of course there are Nina and Matthias. There is really no separating them. Nina is dealing with the changes to her body and powers after taking the drug. These changes are rather interesting and I hope that this might possibly be touched upon more if Bardugo decides to return back to the Grisha world in the future. Matthias on the other hand is dealing with accepting that there is nothing wrong with the Grisha powers. In that he makes so much progress without it being an over the top change in him. It’s still hard on him. And amongst that they come together more. Is anyone really surprised?