Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Type: Duology (Book 2)
Rating: 5 stars
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.
So. This. Book. Was. Amazing.
Six of Crows was so fabulous, with it’s ruthless characters, high action, twists at every turn and the ultimate heist. And Crooked Kingdom is just as good. The plans were just as daring and exciting, the cast of characters was everything you’d expected them to be after the first book and action and excitement was never ending in this book.
I loved that we really got to see Ketterdam in this book. In the first book we’re there briefly before we’re whisked away to Fjerda for the rest of the story. In this book we really get to see all the various areas of Ketterdam and learn more about the Kerch people.
Now of course this story picks up where we left off, with Inej being taken. And I’m very glad that we didn’t have to spend the entire book getting her back. In fact, the story can really be broken down into 3 heists. 1) Getting Inej back, 2) The Sugar Mill Plan and 3) The Grand Finale. So it was great to see Kaz and the crew succeed in their first plan. It was everything we’d expect from one of Kaz’s plans: everything was planned for, he had backup plans for everything, and when you thought everything was going wrong, it was really all going right.
So it seemed like we were on track to take down Van Eck and Rollins all at once but then plan 2 is not what we expect from a glorious Kaz Brekker plan. Literally everything goes wrong and since we were jumping back and forth between POVs I could not put the book down until everyone was safely in that hotel room after the entire plan fell apart. When Inej fell of the wire I swear my heart stopped.
Then plan 3 was the absolute grand finale. I was very proud of myself for finally catching moment where it seemed things were going wrong and was able to guess what was actually happening. When Wylan got grabbed and taken to his father I guessed that it was on purpose and that he was supposed to tell his father the plan (very proud I could finally keep up with Kaz for 1 second). But then of course even though everything was going so well, nothing prepared me for Matthias’s death. I was not prepared to lose anyone, much like our characters I was under the impression that everyone would make it through this story so losing him was heart breaking. He and Nina had absolutely fabulous chemistry the entire story and some of my favorite lines were from him or about him, particularly those between him and Nina comparing their love to food.
“…stop looking at me like that”
“Like I”m made of ice cream.”
“I don’t care for ice cream.”
“Matthias,” Nina said, “I’m not sure we can continue to spend time together”
“You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled from the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love”.
“I don’t like speculation,” said Matthias.
“Of course you don’t. You like things you can see. Like piles of snow and benevolent tree gods.”
“Oh, there it is!” said Inej, resting her heard on Nina’s shoulder and beaming at Matthias. “I missed the glower.”
In fact, I would call Matthius my favorite member of their gang, if only because his stoic nature and purity is of such amusement to the rest of the group. So of course I am devastated that we lose him. I would’ve been just fine losing no one.
But it happened. So I’ll just be over here mourning and crying and not getting over it.
There were so many little twists in this book and I loved it. I thought the way the characters background stories were incorporated in Six of Crows was great and here it was even better. In Crooked Kingdom we really got to focus in on Wylan and Jesper’s stories which were both so interesting. The fact that poor Wylan was not only almost murdered by his father, but that his poor mother was also not dead and off in an asylum *cries a little harder*.
Wylan was such a star in this book and I was so glad he got to look like himself again and that Kaz did someone manage to give everything his father had to him.
But the real star of this story in my mind is Kaz. He is the ultimate anti-hero. But he has so much character development in this book. Just the little moments of giving Inej that little something extra, or showing that little bit of compassion. The net, paying off her contract, buying her the boat, brining in her parents *swoons*. He was fabulous and of course I loved to see he was one step ahead the entire time, even at the very end where the very first scheme of getting into the lawyers office was part of the end game the entire time. One of my favorite Kaz scenes was when him and Jesper fought. It was adorable the way the others just sort of observed because they realized they both needed to blow off some steam. But then Jesper’s dad breaking it up by calling him his middle name like he was 5 and the way they sheepishly stepped away from each other was adorable.
Now the last thing I’d like to comment on is all the characters from the Grisha Trilogy. If you read my posts you may know I did not care for the Grisha trilogy very much so when I heard we’d be seeing some old friends my thought was the only person I want to see is Nikolai. And for a while it seemed like that wasn’t going to happen. So imagine my joy when Strumhound shows up! And to top it off Kaz immediately sees him for what he really is. Kaz and Strumhoung is a partnership I could get behind and then in the very end the fact that Kaz negotiated the King of Ravka to find Inej’s parents was the nail in the coffin for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series and although the end is defiantly bittersweet, I had such a joy with these characters and their crazy scheme and could read 5 more books with them. But I thought this duo logy was fabulous and give both books a hearty 5 stars.
Thanks for Reading