BONUS BOOK: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“The line went slack. Inej fell, twisting in the air the way she had as a child, searching for her wings.”

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction

Book Jacket Synopsis: “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.”

Review: Having never read anything by Bardugo before, I was stunned at how quickly and completely I fell in love with Six of Crows. The characters were so unique and multifaceted that I couldn’t help but love everything about the first book in the duology. The only downside to loving Six of Crows as much as I did was that it left me with (perhaps impossibly) high expectations for Crooked Kingdom. Crooked Kingdom picks up where Six of Crows left off, with Inej kidnapped by Jan Van Eck and the crows without any of the prize money they were promised for successfully pulling off the Ice Court heist. I really enjoyed watching Kaz once again lead his crew in some fantastic scheming, with the objective this time to rescue Inej and make Van Eck suffer for his deceit. However, I felt that this second installment had some minor setbacks that were absent in Six of Crows. For example, there were several instances where I found myself very confused by the chain of events (often when Kaz revealed how he had pulled off some masterful deception). It just wasn’t as easy to figure out how all of the puzzle pieces fit together. My favorite characters from Six of Crows, Inej and Nina, were still my favorite characters in Crooked Kingdom. But I felt like Nina, with the loss of her original Heartrender power, just wasn’t herself. Perhaps that was what Bardugo intended, but the new version of Nina that emerged by the end of Six of Crows just wasn’t as lovable as the original had been. While I would have had a hard time picking between Inej and Nina in Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom helped Inej emerge as my true favorite character.

“But wasn’t that what every girl dreamed? That she’d wake and find herself a princess? Or blessed with magical powers and a grand destiny? Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

I also felt like the novel didn’t wrap up as well as I would have liked. Spoiler alert: I can’t believe that there wasn’t at least one chapter from Nina’s perspective after Matthias died. Overall, it felt like the balance of perspectives in this book was more heavily skewed to Jesper and Wyland. But I suppose there is something to be said for the skill of an author when they leave you wanting just a bit more. Overall, I really loved this duology and will definitely read whatever Bardugo comes up with next.




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