Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

3 stars

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

Six of Crows was one of the top books of 2015 for me, it reinforced my love for Leigh Bardugo after the Grisha series. I fell in love with the characters and the possibilities, and after the ending I was dying for the next book.
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It didn’t live up to my expectations.

After finishing this book I thought on it a lot and I think what didn’t work for me was the first book was heavily character driven, and had so so many feels that I ate right up. With Crooked Kingdom I honestly didn’t feel much for the characters. The plot was the main focus and it was like there was so much crammed in that there was no room for feels, only a few feels made the cut.

“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.”

Things I enjoyed:
-The development of Wylan and Jesper as characters. In the first book, while they were MC’s, the other four caught my attention more often. That was not the case here, I found myself wishing for the POV chapters of these two. We got a lot more background on Wylan and his family, same with Jesper. It helped develop them immensely and connected me to them as a reader.

-Bardugo’s writing: her lyrical writing is what made this book a three instead of a two. I found myself lingering on some sentences and the power behind the words. The imagery was stunning, world building two thumbs up. Bardugo has only improved her writing style with time.

What didn’t work for me:
-Kaz and Inej: after the build up for them as a couple in the first book I found this one lacking. I wasn’t longing for their POVs because nothing was happening, they didn’t go anywhere for me.

-Nina and Matthias: Same thing with them, HUGE build up in book 1, felt totally brushed over in this book. And one huge spoilery thing happened……… I didn’t feel a thing :/

Anyways, I think I am in the minority. Many other people loved this book, and you may too. Six of Crows is still hands down one of my favorite YA novels ever, so don’t let this review deter you from reading that book.

“How many times have you told me you’re a monster? So be a monster. Be the thing they all fear when they close their eyes at night.”

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Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”

You know when you go into a book and you can just feel in your bones that you’re going to love it? This book generated that exact feeling. Going into this book I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. The Grisha series is one of my favorites, and I loved it but I am sometimes skeptical of new series by beloved authors. Well I had no reason to worry because this book rocked my gloves socks off!!

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Our story begins in Ketterdam, a city by the ocean and a harbor for trade. It’s a city overrun with gangs in constant war for territory and power. At the top of them all is the criminal Kaz, a ruthless businessman and thief. He is offered a job, to reclaim a prisoner from an impenetrable city. In order to pull off this heist, Kaz pulls in 5 other plays. Together they are:

A convict.

A sharpshooter.

A runaway.

A spy.

A Heartrender.

A thief.

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This book started out a bit slow for me, about 50 pages in is when it really kicked off and then I couldn’t put it down!! Having six different character point of views didn’t take away from the book but enhanced it. I loved learning their pasts and secrets, connections and fears.

I loved all of the main characters and there was never a moment when the POV changed and I was mad, I was enraptured by each one of them. I would like to know more about Jesper and Wylan, they seemed to have the least amount of perception shown but I suspect we will see more of them in the second book.

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“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

The dynamics between the 6 are really what made the book. Whether it was 2 of them or all 6 together I smiled throughout all of the dialogue. There are also 3 potential romances and I am hardcore shipping them ALL. I better see some HEA’s in the future that’s for damn sure.

This book was also surprisingly very dark and gritty. The life in the slums, stories of survival, and the soldiers hunting down the Grisha. There were some serious allusions to the Holocaust and genocide, with the aftermath of the Grisha wars in the other series and how it affected the entire world. I would describe it kind of like X Men, where those with special abilities are being hunted down simply for existing. The fear from the Grisha characters was so tangible and their stories of what’s happening to them horrifying.

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns you heart.”

The writing is one of my favorite parts of this book. It flowed so well and was beautiful. Honestly, I had a hard time seeing this book as a YA novel, it read like an adult one. I had to keep reminding myself that these characters were all 18 and younger. But this made sense, the land and cities they grew up in made them so much stronger and more mature than teens in our society.

This book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there are some loose ends. Needless to say I am dying for the next book. Write fast Bardugo, write fast!!

I love watching Leigh Bardugo grow as a writer, and while she was already one of my favorite authors before this book, Six of Crows just reminded me of why I love her and her books so much. I really hope I convinced you to read this book, it’s a winner.

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”