September 27, 2016
Crooked Kingdom was the phenomenal conclusion to the Six of Crows duology. I had gone into this book with low expectations because I did not love Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. After finishing Crooked Kingdom, it has become one of my favorite books of the year. Crooked Kingdom had everything you could ever want in a book. Adventure, romance, betrayal, plot twists, and snappy dialogue. Leigh Bardugo’s newest installment in her Grisha world definitely did not disappoint.
Crooked Kingdom begins one week after the events in Six of Crows. Inej has been captured by Jan Van Eck, the wealthy merchant that tricked Kaz and his gang. Nina’s body is being ravaged by jurda parem, a deadly and valuable drug that enhances the power of Grisha. Kaz, however, has been making plans to not only save Inej, but to get back the money he and his gang were cheated out of.
The plot of Crooked Kingdom was action packed and very well thought out. Seriously, how does Leigh Bardugo come up with such intricate story lines and schemes? Every plan of Kaz’s was absolutely genius, and how the book came together at the end was perfect. The ending was so satisfying and wrapped up this series very well. Crooked Kingdom’s plot was gripping and intricate.
The element that really made Crooked Kingdom so special were the characters, The main group of characters were all well developed, unique, and multidimensional. The leader of the gang was Kaz Brekker. In the first book Kaz was confident in himself and his actions. In this book however he began to unhinge. We saw a more vulnerable and darker side of him that we did not see in Six of Crows. (“You have two minutes to get out of my house, old man. This city’s price is blood,” said Kaz, “and I’m happy to pay with yours.”) Jesper was another character that developed in this story. He was still his reckless, hilarious, and instinctive self, but he reeled it in and controlled himself better in Crooked Kingdom. This quickly made him one of my favorite characters. (“Da, I swear I’ll explain everything later, but right now all you need to know is that we’re in a bad situation, and bad situations happen to be my area of expertise,”) I was happy to see that Wylan had his own chapters in Crooked Kingdom. It was really nice to see his perspective and past. I really liked how his science related talents were an important part of the story, and how his inability to read did not define his character.
Nina was by far my favorite female character. She worked hard to get over her addiction to jurda parem and always stayed loyal to her fellow Grisha. She was hardworking, independent, sassy, and her love for food was hilarious. (She folded one of the waffles in half and took a huge bite, wiggling her toes in bliss. “I’m sorry Matthias,” she said with her mouth full. “I’ve decided to run off with Jesper’s father. He keeps me in the deliciousness to which I have become accustomed.”) The character that I saw a lot of development in was Matthias. In Six of Crows he was slightly resentful of the crew and Grisha, but in Crooked Kingdom he supported and tried to save the Grisha with Nina. My least favorite character from the crew was Inej. She never really developed. While all the other characters had flaws that they worked hard to overcome, she just stayed her same perfect self that constantly talked about proverbs. She was too righteous.
The romance in Crooked Kingdom was very well done. None of the three relationships were overdone, and they offered some light hearted parts in the constantly moving plot. The relationship that was the happiest and the most heartbreaking was Nina and Matthias. They had the most figured out relationship. Their interactions were cute, romantic, and funny. (She rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.” A small smile curled on the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things that we don’t mean, my love.”) Wylan and Jesper had the most low key relationship. It was never really established, but you could really tell how much they loved and looked after each other. It was also a lot of fun to read their dialogue. (“You’re stupid about a lot of things, Wylan, but you’re not stupid. And if I ever hear you call yourself a moron again, I’m going to tell Matthias you tried to kiss Nina. With tongue.” Wylan wiped his nose on his sleeve. “He’ll never believe it,” “Then I’ll tell Nina you tried to kiss Matthias. With tongue,”) The last and probably the most problematic relationship was Kaz and Inej. Neither of them were really ready for each other, but their interactions were some favorite parts of the book (especially the last scene!). (“I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl for 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,”)
Overall Crooked Kingdom is and will be one of my favorite books of the year if not of all time. It was action packed, breathtaking, and surprisingly hilarious. The pacing was incredible, The character had multiple layers, the world building was perfect, and the plot was intricate. I seriously have no idea how I did not love the first book, but I will definitely be rereading it soon. What did you think of Crooked Kingdom? Who was your favorite character? I would love to know.