Crooked Kingdom was amazing sequel to Six of Crows filled with intense and complex plot, non-stop actions, brilliant twist and turns, and amazing characters and world.
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date : September 27th 2016
Publisher : Orion Children’s Books
Pages : 561
Genre : YA Fantasy
Previous books in Grishaverse –
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 was fantastic sequel to Six of Crows that revolved around Kaz getting back one of his crew member and also what they were promised in the beginning of Six of Crows. The story was about money, power, greed, trust, revenge, and friendship.
Writing was just as good as Six of Crows (SoC) with multiple third person narrative from perspective of Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan. It was filled with action, adventure, twists and turns making it irresistible to put down the book until I finished it.
After SoC, I wasn’t expecting plot to be complex but how wrong I was. It started exactly where the first book ended and it got even more intense and dangerous as the story progressed with not just one but two formidable enemies (i figured that as this was last book in SoC), experimented Shu Grisha hunting Grishas in Ketterdam (including our crew), Fjerda hunting Matthias, Dregs not happy with Kaz, Inej in danger, assassin attack, change in Nina’s power, and characters from S&B in Ketterdam (which I was expecting).
Characters were even better than SoC. There was more depth to them, we know them even more closely specially Wylan and Jesper. They all faltered, were bested by their enemies, often thought to strangle Kaz but I loved how they also knew and trusted Kaz to get them out of whole mess, got up to fight, became braver and stronger, and bond between them strengthened as story progressed.
Inej‘s capture and mental torture was heart wrenching and it was hard to see doubts creeping in her mind. It shifted what she and Kaz had. Her hope and trust teetered throughout the book but I loved how Kaz won it back, balanced her every time she faltered. Her act and fight at Silos was mind-blowing. I get it in this book why she said no one can be fearless and she was right to believe in that.
Nina‘s struggle was sad to read but like a hero she put a brave face to it and I loved the way she discovered her power. It was creepy and she wasn’t happy with it or to use it but I liked how practical she was. Like Zoya and Matthias said, she was a soldier and she did whatever she needed to help her crew and save Grishas.
Jesper was interesting here. I enjoyed reading about his family, his mother who taught him much more than just shooting guns. His father was lovely. I could feel Jesper’s anger towards him and it was well placed, it made him fear his skill and some scenes made him realise his father wasn’t wrong but I loved how much they worried, cared and loved each other and how being with Grishas, Nina, and crew made him accept what he had as gift.
Wylan was also amazing. We didn’t know him much in SoC but here we know him even better. Mystery of why he left his father’s home and comfort to live in streets of Barrel was lifted in this. It made me hate Van Eck even more. After reading that I was expecting what he discovered later. He was most layered character and he managed to surprise me often. It was lovely to see how company of Crew was turning him into proper Dreg.
Matthias was little in background in this. I felt he just did his job and occasionally threw in his views (I know why but I don’t want to say it here) but I liked seeing change in him, his support to Nina and his dream but he definitely picked wrong time for that and I didn’t like that.
Kaz was fabulous. He was utterly genius. He was monster and deadliest person created by the city that no sane person would like to cross. He was non-judgemental, ruthless, held grudge close to heart, wasn’t there to make friends but was caring in his own wired way. It was amazing to read how this guy who had plan for everything, didn’t leave anything to chance was bested by his enemies, ways to get out of the mess without one of them being captured or killed were blocked from all sides and yet he came up with plan to to kill two pigeons with one stone and got his crew out also with money. And only he can strike a deal with a royalty, I wasn’t surprised he found out. I loved him even more for keeping his crippled leg as it was even though he had chance to mend it.
Romance between Kaz and Inej was best. I loved author kept it realistic and not making it centre of the book. They both were most dangerous and strongest people among streets of Barel and yet they both were vulnerable and couldn’t touch each other without showing weakness and spiralling into darkness and yet moments between then were amazing. I loved how they both showed were patient with their feelings. I haven’t seen more romantic lines than this-
“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.”
That’s as romantic as Kaz can be and I loved it. Moments between Nina-Mattias and Jesper-Wylan were also lovely.
Among all the intense scenes, actions, adventures and scheming I loved light moments and many lines that made me smile and laugh often. This was my most favourite –
“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias.
“This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.”
He shrugged. “They all seem like practical choices.
– And also those scenes with Alys.
World was amazing. Setting of Kerch was atmospheric. We know Kerch and city- Ketterdam- even more here along with characters. I was in awe of how much details were there about the city- streets, laws and rules, money minded people, how much city depended on taxes that came from businesses in Barrel and why authority couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything about street violence, thieves, slavers, and bosses of Barrel. The Map of Kerch was really confusing just like Matthias said, “the city planning was the worst” and I still enjoyed reading about it. No one knew the city like Kaz did and I loved how they used it to their advantage.
Best part of the book was of course, all the scheming and plans of Kaz, the one they made to rescue Inej, another for getting their money back, climax – when they were bested and their meeting at hotel, fight between Kaz and Jesper (at that time they truly felt like teenagers), whole auction part, and the end (even though it hurt).
And last but not least, it was so good to see Shadow and Bone characters once again.
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was mind-blowing, brilliant, fantastic and perfectly written sequel to SoC with amazing world and characters.
I highly recommend this if you love,
lots of well written twists and turns
quick-witted and intelligent dialogues
well written characters and world
Brilliant and complex plot
Discussion with Toni (there are spoilers. Read this part only if you have read both shadow & Bone and SoC duology)
Toni – Which do you prefer: a single POV (like the S&B trilogy) or multiple POVs?
Me -Multiple POV was much better here and it didn’t break rhythm of the story even though most of the book crew was working separately or in pairs. It also created a little suspense here making us think what happened and mean by time we see what was happening with the other pairs. It also strengthened the bond between characters like Matthias, Jesper and Kuwai then between Kaz and Wylan, Nina and Matthias…
I wouldn’t have enjoyed S&B with multiple perspective. It was much better with Alina’s.
Toni – Great point about POVs creating suspense!
Alina’s POV was great and I loved the way it focused SB, but we never got the Darkling’s side of the story – I thought leaving him unnamed in the cast of characters was a nice touch.
Me– I do think we get a fair enough back story of Darkling and we see his mindset and personality through his action. I don’t think his side of story would make difference. If author have included his perspective, we wouldn’t have that surprising twists from Baghra in first book that he created Shadow fold, in second about how Baghra felt bad for raising him to be this ruthless and in third about the journals that motivated Darkling.
Me- What do you think about Dunyasha? I haven’t heard about those monk thing she got her training from. i would like to read more about that. She was totally delusional.
Toni – Dunyasha…delusional is the perfect word. Well, I can’t believe the monks didn’t teach her to fight wounded or incapacitated. Still, I feel there was more potential for developing a character like this- what exactly her claim was, who helped her to get her training, would she be able to find enough support in Ravka to cause trouble for our charming Nikolai?
Me -I think I agree with Matthias saying about Dunyasha. Her claim might have been baseless and product of her delusion. I also wonder who might have helped her in getting training. But like Pekka said she was dangerous and had no mercy. I didn’t like her for killing people thinking she was getting rid of murderers but not realising she was one too.. And who is she thinking she had right to do so! She never given a thought that people’s circumstances make them who they become, like Inej, and that doesn’t mean they are beyond becoming better person.
Me – Were you anticipating Rollin’s interference? Why do you think Kaz never shared anything about his brother and how he survived with the crew? How do you feel about those Shu Grisha who attacked and about S&B characters appearing here?
Toni – I was anticipating Rollin’s interference. For a moment I thought the council of Tidemakers interrupting the auction was his doing….too ingenious,it was Kaz, of course…I feel we’re not done with Kherguud or the tidemakers and they will pop up in future books.
Why Kaz never shared his ordeal with the crew? I don’t know about the whole crew, but he should with Inej, when he is ready to let it go. It’s his weakness and this kind of information can be tortured out of people.
Still don’t like Zoya, although I admit the CPR scene was awesome…-I guess now with the Darkling, Baghra and Alina gone,she is the most powerful Grisha.
Me – I knew Rollins would get involved as this was last book in duology and I was anticipating Kaz shooting two pigeon with one stone but I couldn’t see how until he did. And that was frightening. After that he definitely deserved whatever Kaz planned. Kaz’s idea to get back everything and take down two formidable enemies was even crazier than Ice Court.
I agree about Kaz. Seeing how people see and treat weak person, it was wise not to share his weakness with anyone but he did share it in his own way with Inej. I loved him eve more in this book. We see him falter often, being bested and him making mistakes but it was so so amazing to see him stand up again and come back with full force with even crazier plan than before.
I was right about s&b characters showing up here. And that was absolutely fantastic to read. It sure changed whole plan and I was really excited to read their play. I came to like Zoya in Ruin and Rising. She is not easy to like but she had far better qualities- honest, blunt, loyal, fierce enough that even Fjerdas fear her, and powerful. Nikolai and Alina were wise to make her one of the leaders. Ravka needed her attitude and I loved her for telling Nina she is part of the second army no matter how twisted her powers has become.
Toni – Do you feel the villains in this duology had more depth?
Me -Darkling was mysterious and unpredictable. We didn’t know his next step, his next attack or his story until it was revealed. In Six of Crows, for most of the book, the villain was Ice Court and the real villain show himself at the end that continues to Crooked Kingdom. We know villains better in Crooked Kingdom, we know their nature and can predict a little what they might do and their interference. They were formidable but we also know Kaz can best them both. While Alina didn’t have a clue or any solid plan to defeat Darkling until we read it in third part. I think Darkling was better villain than both Rollins and Van Eck put together. While Kaz was better hero than Alina. So I think it was well balanced.
It would be futile to compare S&B with Six of Crow.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…
What do you think about the book and review and discussion? Have you read this book or any book by the author? If you have rad this what do you think about the end?
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