Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Also by this author: Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1), Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Series: Six of Crows #2
Published by Henry Holt and Company on September 20th 2016
Also in this series: Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
Wow, what a book! I honestly don’t think I could have asked for a better series ender. Crooked Kingdom is one of those books that not only lives up to all of the hype surrounding it, but it far exceeded my own super-high expectations for it. As much as I loved Six of Crows, in many ways I enjoyed Crooked Kingdom even more. I remember while reading the first book, it took me about 100 pages to really get invested in the characters and hooked on their story. With Crooked Kingdom, I was hooked from page 1 and captivated by the story because the action picked up right where it left off in Six of Crows, where Wylan’s nasty father, Van Eck, had kidnapped Inej, and Kaz and the team were plotting how to get her back. Honestly, I fully expected the entire second book to focus on rescuing Inej, so I was thrilled as I was reading to see that it was so much more than that.
Hopefully, I’m not being too vague in the next section but I really don’t want to do anything to spoil the series for anyone who hasn’t yet started reading it.
What really took Crooked Kingdom to the next level for me was how it’s a perfect balance between being plot driven and character driven. Bardugo delivers an entertaining, action-packed storyline that is equal parts heist and revenge, but also combines it with an in-depth exploration of each of the members of Kaz’s crew. I remember raving about these wonderfully complex characters when I reviewed Six of Crows, and Bardugo takes us even deeper into the minds of each of them this time around. Even as they are actively engaged in carrying out Kaz’s plans, each member of the team is also taking their own personal journey, and in many cases, facing their own inner demons. Going into this book, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about each of them, but I was so wrong. The more Bardugo fleshes out each character and shows them fighting those personal demons, the more I fell in love with each of them, especially Jesper, Wylan, and Matthias, who all just experience so much growth in Crooked Kingdom.
I don’t want to give away any details of what they all go through in Crooked Kingdom, but I will say that this read took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. I laughed, I cried (tears of both joy and sadness), I truly feared for Inej’s life on more than one occasion, and I got my heart ripped out in an unexpected plot twist late in the novel. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever been more attached to a group of characters so I give Bardugo major props for all of those little details that made me so invested in all of them.
Not only did Bardugo make me fall in love with these characters, she even turned me into a hardcore shipper even though I’m usually anti-romance. I didn’t even just ship one of the pairings; I shipped them all! Nina and Matthias were my favorites just because they’re such a wonderful combination of sweet and sassy. Every time Nina would say or do something that would make Matthias blush, it would just make me chuckle because they were so cute. I also thought the relationship between Inej and Kaz was fantastic, mainly because of all of the mystery surrounding it. Inej never quite knows where she stands with Kaz – is he attached to her only because she’s useful to him, or does he feel something more for her? These two badass characters are at their most vulnerable when they are together and I liked seeing past those tough exteriors to what lies beneath. And don’t even get me started on Jesper and Wylan? They definitely win the most precious couple ever award. Love them!
I know it sounds like there’s a lot going on with the heist/revenge storyline, the character explorations, and three potential romances, not to mention the story is told from each of their perspectives, but Bardugo does a brilliant job of weaving all of these elements together into an intricate yet easy-to-follow storyline that is incredibly compelling.
I can’t think of a single issue or dislike. It was pretty close to a perfect read for me. I’m just sad that it’s over because I’m not ready to say goodbye Kaz and his wonderful band of outcasts.
I can’t recommend Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom highly enough. If you enjoy fabulously complex characters, anti-heroes, phenomenal world building, intricate plots, and romances that will make you smile, this is the series for you!
After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.
Indeed, Leigh Bardugo did a good job weaving all the stories together! Even with multiple perspectives, it wasn’t confusing and it still flowed nicely. Great review! 🙂
Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor
I still haven’t been able to write my review for this book because of FEELINGS. I told Leigh that I haven’t forgiven her for this book yet but I love it xD.
Great review, so glad you enjoyed it!
Thanks for sharing,
~Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
Brittany recently posted…The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury Audiobook Review
I can definitely understand that. It took me a few weeks after I read it to finally sit down and try to put my feelings into words. It’s a heartbreaker for sure, but it was incredible too. I want more!
I worried about you, reading this one. I knew your heart was going to be ripped out. It was so sad, and so good!
I loved how each of the romances was almost a different trope. You had the enemies to lovers, plus all the sassy and funny with Matthias and Nina. You had the angst, and the will they won’t then, between Inej and Kaz, and finally all the lighthearted new loveness of Wylan and Jesper.
Wendy @ Birdie Bookworm recently posted…Review | Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Oh gosh, yes, that was such a heartbreaker for me. But I still have to get Bardugo props for making me so invested in her characters that it was heartbreaking. I’ve had that happen in other books and just been like ‘Okay, moving on…’
And I completely agree with you on the romances and they were actually tropes that I enjoy, so that was a plus too 🙂
Yay! I’m so glad you loved this one! It’s sad that it was only a duology, right? But Bardugo is coming back to this world and I’m beyond excited for it!
I love your review and I love that you managed to convey all your enthusiasm and joy for this one AND the heartbreak without giving anything away.
Di @ Book Reviews by Di recently posted…Review: Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas
I’m so glad to hear she’s revisiting this world because I definitely want more!
I enjoyed book one on audio and must grab this next. Fantastic review!
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Someone else just told me that Bardugo is planning to revisit the Grishaverse so that’s pretty exciting news 🙂
Nice to see that this is so good! I started Six of Crows but stalled out a bit on it (I hate even saying that because so many people love these books) but someone said heist books take a lot of set- up and you’re mentioning that it took 100 pages or so to get going mirrors exactly what I’m feeling. But from the sounds of it the story gets really good, so I feel a little more inspired to keep going! Glad this was so good!!
As much as I ended up loving Six of Crows, yeah it did take me a while to really get hooked because so much groundwork is laid up front. I think it took me a week to get through the first 100 pages and then like 2 days to get through the last 300+.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever read a bad review about one of her books! And I’m so pleased for you that this series ended so brilliantly!
She really is becoming a favorite of mine. I’d definitely recommend her if you have any interest in getting into fantasy.
I wasn’t a fan of this because I’m not a fan of heist novels… BUT the world building was amazing as were the characters so I think I would have loved it if I were a heist fan. Great review!
Yeah, Bardugo is becoming a favorite of mine when it comes to worldbuilding and characters. I can’t wait to read more of her books.
Glad you enjoyed it! I think it’s better than the first one, and yeah, I really like how it fleshed out the other characters more and not only focused on Kaz and Nina!
Wow, it sounds like a great series!
It’s wonderful. I highly recommend it if you’re into fantasy at all.
Great review! I loved this one so much that it became my favorite read for a while! I was so attached to Kaz and the gang!
I’m attached as well. Such a fantastic cast of characters and I really hated having to say goodbye.
I did too and I am hoping she will re-visit them in a later book.
I read Crooked Kingdom recently and I loved it so MUCH!!! I am so sorry to leave Kaz and his gang behind
I am too. I’d really love to read more about all of them. Kaz is just too great a character to have to say goodbye to.
So happy to hear you loved this and well, I can only agree wholeheartedly with your review! You managed to mention all the important aspects that made this book and duology so amazing without spoiling anything and well, now I really want to re-read it 🙂
OMG, it was soooo good. I really want more from that world too. I was so sad when it was over!