I finally finished “Crooked Kingdom” by Leigh Bardugo, and despite me struggling for half the book, the other half was beyond my expectations.
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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.
“Crooked Kingdom” outdid it’s expectations. I read “Six of Crows” and thought… ok, a bunch of thieves looking to break into an icy Fortress, let’s see where this goes. Then I read “Crooked Kingdom” and wondered for half the book, where is this going? How are they going to get their vengeance? Then I got halfway through the book and was blown away.
I think that’s the sentiment of Leigh Bardugo for both books. I’m blown away by the intricate details of the Crows’ plan, of all their plans, for vengeance thanks to the ending of “Six of Crows”. I wish I could write like her, with all her research and attention to detail and downright plausible characters, it was a phenomenal read by the end.
That doesn’t mean to say it was hard going in parts. I was waiting anxiously for the other shoe to drop, and sometimes I got a bit fed up with the characters’ inner monologues. But overall, I very much enjoyed the series and will likely pick up her other books too, besides the ones I’ve already read.
There were parts I really enjoyed to read – the interactions of Jesper and Wylan were some of my favourites. And Kaz is such a great character on his own, I was always eager to read his chapters. He’s dark, yes, but he’s honest about what he is and his background really has done a number on him. All of the Crows are individual, and Leigh Bardugo does a great job of bringing each of their characteristics into the limelight, guiding them together to foil merchants and mob bosses alike in each of their quests for revenge.
“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.”
The burgeoning relationships with all of them are bright and powerful. The enemies to lovers dynamic with Matthias and Nina was lovely to watch, and so much more in the second book that I was astounded by the end – definitely a shock moment. Jesper and Wylan were adorable, but I truly loved the interactions between Inej and Kaz. You can see each of them wants more, but knows that they can’t rush things. Not with all the emotional baggage and horrific backstories they both have.
Yes, there is fighting, there is war, and there are battles that not all of them win. But if you want a story with heart and fierceness, gritty danger at every turn, and an ending that makes you crack a wry, satisfied smile, I say this is the book for you.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x