Crooked Kingdom — Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 

TITLE: Crooked Kingdom

AUTHOR: Leigh Bardugo

SERIES: Six of Crows, #2

RELEASED: September 20th, 2016; Henry Holt and Company

GENRE: Fantasy

AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS: When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

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.

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book 1

I have this weird thing about writing reviews for series finales: it always takes me some time, because in a sense, it feels like saying goodbye to the series, and I am not ready to say goodbye to this one. I actually made a joke while reading this, that I thought I loved the idea of duologies for how short and compact they are, but when I started this book, I realized I needed at least seven more novels to fall in love with Kaz’s passion, Inej’s grace, Nina’s vivacity, Matthias’ stoicism, Jesper’s laugh, and Wylan’s innocence. (UPDATE: After writing this review, Leigh announced there WILL be a third book! Yessssss!)

crookedkingdomban

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

I haven’t loved a set of characters this much in a long, long time; I thought I could pick clear favorites, but by the end of it all, I just cherished each and every one of these little heist-runners so much that the lines in my favoritism were beginning to blur. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I cringed, and most of all, I mourned the end of their story, because there are books that take you in for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, and then there are books that you know you will always carry in your heart, and this duology is most assuredly the latter.

“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.”

→ Kaz Brekker / Inej Ghafa ←
I’d heard countless people tell me Kaz and Inej were their #1 OTP of all time, and I felt like I could empathize pretty well with that after the first book, but this one takes it above and beyond in the most subtle, tense, incredible ways. Watching the relationship between the two of them further is constantly riding the line between swoon-worthy and heartbreaking, especially as Kaz comes to terms with how desperately he wants to see Inej safe, above all else. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that their final scene together is now one of my favorite chapters that has ever been written in the history of literature, and I can’t imagine it having been any more perfect. ♥

“You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

→ Nina Zenik / Matthias Helvar ←
Nina and Matthias were a couple that took a little warming up to for me, with Matthias’ past, but he progresses so tremendously throughout the duology. In the first book, we saw him start to overcome the brainwashing and blind prejudices of his upbringing, and in this one, that furthers still as he realizes that the Grisha are not demons, but miracles. While Nina is fairly “what you see is what you get”, and we don’t see as much development from her, I still loved her character tremendously and am so beyond ecstatic that we’ll be spending more time with her in the King of Scars serious beginning in 2019. I would also like to go on the record that, of all of the characters that Leigh has written, Matthias probably has my favorite romantic lines, and he made me cry a million times.

“Jes, I’ve thought about this—”
“Thought of me? Late at night? What was I wearing?”

→ Wylan Van Eck / Jesper Fahey ←
Wylan and Jesper were still, to be honest, probably my third favorite couple by the end (I refuse to say “least favorite” because that implies that I didn’t love them almost as much as I loved the others!), but their flirty banter towards the end was absolutely adorable. Jesper progresses so much as a person while he faces his gambling addiction and reunites with his father, and we learn so much about Wylan that is utterly heartbreaking and just makes me want to protect him at all costs. They’re so lovable together, and frankly, much like Kaz and Inej, if I don’t get at least a few brief cameos or references to them in King of Scars, I’m going to riot/cry/set things on fire.

“This action will have no echo.”

Altogether, this was an absolutely wondrous conclusion to one of the singular best series I have ever read in my life. Leigh Bardugo has a way of crafting these worlds and characters that you can’t help but connect with on a practically cellular level, and saying goodbye to their adventures together was more bitter than sweet, as I genuinely never wanted this book to end. I can only hope that the next series will at least bring us some small comforts that they are as happy and healthy as can be expected, and I positively cannot wait to see what Leigh has in store for us all next in the world of the Grisha.

5flowers


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Just a 26-year-old trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

12 thoughts on “Crooked Kingdom — Leigh Bardugo

  1. Wylan and Jesper are my HEART and I love them so much omg. I mean obviously all the other ships are good too, but they’re definitely my otp forever and ever ahhhh.

    Like

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