Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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 magic in the Grisha world.
I really don’t know what to say about this book. I knew it would be great, and it was. I knew it would be a bombastic finish to a wonderfully exciting series, and it was. I knew I would probably end up sobbing at the end, and I did. I knew I would be on the edge of my seat the rest of the time, and I was.
Basically, this book is everything I wanted it to be, plus a whole lot more. What more is there to say besides that?
OK, maybe a lot more.
It actually took me longer than I expected to get into this book. Six of Crows had left off at such a heart-stopping cliffhanger that I wanted Crooked Kingdom to start with the shenanigans IMMEDIATELY. And although it kind of did, I also appreciated that we built up to the craziness. I ended up rereading Six of Crows before diving into this book, just because I wanted to be in the right mindset, and I enjoyed learning about what had happened in the week between the first and second books.
That being said, though, it escalated pretty quickly. Six of Crows was a heist book, which I couldn’t get enough of. Crooked Kingdom was all about revenge, which I loved even more (I didn’t think that was possible). It was six (seven) bedraggled, beaten-down loner kids who showed the entire world exactly who was boss. What I especially adored was how every character had their own struggle to overcome, their own nightmares to face, and how masterfully each individual plot wound into the grander plot.
And the plot nearly killed me. I thought I knew where this book was going, more or less, until it had reached that point with HALF of the book to go. It’s a rare book that keeps me in that kind of suspense, and I relished it. There were so many twists that kept me on the edge of my seat, so many unexpected happenings. Every time I thought that Leigh couldn’t possibly ratchet the suspense up a notch more, she did. The variety of plot helped here, too. The multifaceted characters meant that every action had an impact on at least one person, if not the whole group. I also enjoyed the glimpse into the world of the Grisha Trilogy, which was unexpected.
What I really appreciated also about this book was that it was set in Ketterdam, in the home territory of Kaz and pals. The heist with the Ice Court was insane, but what glimpses we caught of Ketterdam in Six of Crows were also fascinating. I enjoyed learning more about the different classes and sectors of the city, the traditions and landmarks. I loved how it wasn’t Kaz versus more gutter scum, but against the (supposed) cream of society and everyone who might consider themselves better than the Six. Kaz and Crew were the ultimate underdogs, fighting entire kingdoms for the right to exist.
My only real sadness is that this is a duology, and that we (probably) aren’t going to see more of any of the wonderful characters and their action-packed world. But these books have an honored place on my bookshelf, and I’m sure I’ll pick them up again before too long.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us.