Crooked Kingdom: the highly anticipated sequel to Leigh Bardugo's thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.
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.
Kindle Edition, Holt Books for Young Readers, 560 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Henry Holt and Company
Five stars: A brilliant, breathtaking book that will grip you until the end.
Ever since Kaz Brekker and his crew of misfits pulled off a heist that no one thought was possible, they have been out for revenge. Instead of sharing the fantastic reward they were promised, the group was double crossed by one of the most powerful men in Ketterdam. Kaz will not take this affront lightly. He is out for blood, and he is hell bent to destroy those who wronged him and his friends. Even if that means risking their lives one more time to start an epic battle on the streets of the ill begotten city. Will Kaz and his pals survive once again?
What I Loved:
- For all who care to listen, Leigh Bardugo is bloody brilliant. I am in awe of her amazing talent. Her stories, characters, world building and writing style are outstanding. I was completely mesmerized by this book. It is a thrilling page turner. Just read the book!
- I love each of the characters fiercely. Kaz, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, Wylan and Inej are amazing. Each one of them has a talent that is necessary for the group to survive. They function best when working together. They are a rag tag bunch, and heroic at times. Yet, each one is deeply flawed, broken and damaged in their own way. I loved peeling back the layers of each and every character to see what motivated them. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Kaz. He is the embodiment of broken and damaged, yet he is fierce, cunning, cool and calculating, and you can never ever count him out. On the outside he is cold and even cruel, but inside is the heart of a broken little boy who is afraid of human contact. Oh how I loved these characters, I am remiss to let them go.
- If you want non stop action, this book delivers. It is told from various view points, so the action is constantly shifting. For those of you who don’t like multiple view points, no worries. Ms. Bardugo pulls it off brilliantly. I must warn you, each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, often leaving the plight of a character(s) in mortal peril, which kept me reading well past my bedtime. This one never lets up.
- Talk about cunning twists and turns. Just when you think you have it figured out, everything resets and what you know mutates. Kaz is always plotting and planning, and even when it seems he is painted into a corner, he will surprise you. Things are never as they seem. Plan for plenty of jaw dropping, stunning plot twists. I loved it!
- The romance is heart wrenching and achingly beautiful. You actually get three romances, one features m/m. I loved how each relationship unfolded, and how they all took their sweet time because of the damaged individuals. My favorite was the one between Kaz and Inej. It was so tender and torturous. Volumes were spoken in the briefest touches, or glances or in what wasn’t said. Oh how these romances made my heart ache. I must warn you, they none of them are an explosion of butterflies and good feelings, and they are all so complicated.
- The ending was bittersweet. It ends in a good place, but it didn’t feel completely done up, it seems the door is open for possibly more story, please please.... fingers crossed.
And The Not So Much:
- Ms. Bardugo’s world building is outstanding. So much so, that I found myself a bit lost a time or two as I struggled to recall events from the first book, and even events going back to her original series: Grisha Verse. Her plot lines are just as detailed and complex, and you must read the previous book before even attempting this or you will be hopelessly lost, and better yet, read the other series, as characters from Grisha Verse make appearances in this books. I must admit, it has been far too long since I read her books, and I found myself suffering from horrible book amnesia which made things confusing. I think this series is best read in a short time to get the full effect.
- I didn’t feel like the plot line with the Shu kidnapping Grisha that opened the book really played out. It was a strange story line that was left dangling.
- Even though I loved the ending, it was almost too open ended. I wanted to know more about Nina’s fate, and even that of some of the other characters. I wished for an Epilogue, but my hope is that there will be another spin off in this universe down the road.
- Finally, this is book is categorized as YA. I have made this plea for brilliant books and authors before such as Laini Taylor and Jay Kristoff. This book is for everyone, not just YA readers. It is fantastic, with painstaking attention to detail. It is not your average book. Please don’t let the YA label fool you, this is a book for readers who love intricate books with tightly knitted plots.
Crooked Kingdom delivers a fast paced, riveting tale with suspense, stunning and complicated plot twists, outstanding characters in an intricate world. I loved this one, and whole heartedly recommend it. Just keep in mind that this one is complex and it is best read in short succession after book one to keep it all straight. Ms. Bardugo has proven again and again that she is an author you should be reading. Get her books and get after it!
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Do not miss book one!