Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Published : September 27, 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.
If you’d like to read my review about Six of Crows you could find it here (just so you know how I felt about it).
I’d like to preface this review with THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ALL THROUGH OUT THIS REVIEW… so be warned…let us begin
Mind Blowing is honestly the only thing that can come into the shambles of my little brain as I think of this absolutely stunning book. Crooked Kingdom has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not fail me one bit. I was so happy to be in the universe again and so enamored by all the characters. I kind of don’t understand at all how someone can write such a diverse group of people and have me love every single person in that group so damn much (i’m a very hard woman to please). So, Leigh Bardugo, I commend you. You’ve written a book where I love all of them Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan I cannot get enough of them and I’m actually pretty upset that there are no other books. I’m honestly sobbing on the inside due to this.
I think my favorite thing about this book was the character growth and the development of them. This book made me fall in love with them even more. I’d have to say that Wylan and Matthias get the award for most growth. But all in all, I think all six of my babies grew and went through such development and in some way I feel like Bardugo put SUCH development and thought into all these characters that they grew more than some characters would in other series. Which makes me feel like I should break down the characters and how I felt about them…So I WILL!
Kaz & Inej
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would 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.”
I don’t think I’ve ever felt such sexual tension between anyone in-person or fictional ever in my life. And oh boy, was it glorious. I’ve been rooting for Kaz and Inej since Six of Crows and I had a feeling that Bardugo wouldn’t go all the way with the smut but, well…it’s perfect. I love that they never got into the smuttiness and I really enjoy their dyanmic.
When Van Eck is about to smash Inej’s legs and she breaks and says she’s worth nothing to Kaz without her legs. It completely broke me.
But I think the above quote describes the two of them pretty damn well. They’re always there for each other and will always save the other one, no matter what. I absolutely love their dynamic.
I love Kaz’s all knowing demeanor and the fact that he can actually be 18 steps ahead of people and not let you know his grand scheme and I loved watching it all unfold. His ruthlessness and his constant mind games (like making Pekka Rollin’s believe that Kaz killed his kid)
As for Inej, she’s the perfect counterpart to Kaz. Elegant and composed. She’s such a strong woman and the care and love she has for the crew and her family and the fire inside her to make sure no person goes treated poorly. Ugh! Praise Inej! Her perseverance is amazing and I loved her Suli proverbs and the way she handled everything with such grace.
Jesper & Wylan
Jesper felt the pounding of his heart—or was it Wylan’s?—like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.
Slowly, inevitably, they broke apart. “Wylan,” Jesper said, looking into the wide blue sky of his eyes, “I really hope we don’t die.”
Dear lord these two. I cannot even begin to explain my love for these two since Six of Crows. I never really much liked Wylan through Six of Crows but Oh my god in this book my heart just melted for this little munchkin of a man. I couldn’t believe how amazing of a back story Wylan had. He became such an in-depth and dynamic character. I loved how by the end of the book he overcame his struggle of illiteracy and didn’t let that become him. I sobbed when we found out about Wylan’s mother, I never thought that would be an actual thing and I love LOVE LOVE how Kaz mentors him though not letting his illiteracy hold him back. I thought that was a great side of Kaz to show as well as a great point to make because Wylan is really smart and has a lot of potential.
And Oh, my baby Jes. My heart swelled at his re-uniting with his father and learning of his mother. I adored his quick and witty come-backs and my god he’s perfect for Wylan. My absolute favorite sharp shooter. Jes is someone I most definitely connect with based on his personality and his responses. I feel as though Jesper was a bit more stagnant compared to everyone else in regards to development but that could just be me.
Nina & Matthias
“They were twin souls, soldiers destined to fight for different sides, to find each other and lose each other too quickly. She would not keep him here. Not like this.”
“Nina screamed , a howl that tore from the black space where her heart had beat only moments before. She searched for his pulse, for the light and force that had been Matthias.”
“Farvell,” she said in Fjerdan. “May Djel watch over you until I can once more.”
Not sure if you can tell from this, but…Nina and Mathias are my favorite. I loved them from the beginning and I loved Nina more than Mathias but I came around to him and dear god this was so much perfection and then it all got TORN AWAY FROM ME. I’m very upset with Bardugo about this. I legitimately cried in bed for hours when I read about Mathias leaving Nina. I literally could not handle it. The way it was written and the pain she went through and reading her emotions and just the way she expressed herself with the loss. I couldn’t do it.
But beyond their amazing love, Nina was stunning, witty, pure strength when she needed to be and it was absolutely amazing. I have loved Nina Zenek from the beginning and the fact that she broke down the brick wall that was Matthias Helvar…was perfect. Side note : Kudos to the grisha trilogy peeps cameo’s! But I think Nina was probably one of my most favorite perspectives to read from because she was mostly light, clever and would joke more than others.
Matthias Helvar was swoon-worthy to me. I loved that he was the enemy gone “good”. I absolutely love Matthias. I love how he’s come to love the dregs and love the gang, and how undying and burning his love for Nina is and how he’d do anything for her. How he cared for her during her Parem withdrawal. And I just feel like the fact that he was taken away ISN’T FAIR. HE JUST WANTED TO KISS NINA IN A SNOWY WOOD AFTER HAVING DINNER WITH HER FAMILY THREE TIMES AND THEN GO ON A WALK WITH HER. *sobs* I’m sorry but I’m still not over the perfection of Matthias Helvar.
Plot and Story Line
I was completely enamored by this book. I didn’t put it down. I savored it, I devoured it, I fell completely in love with it. Although, I hate that it’s only a duology, I have to say that this sequel was amazingly thought through, well written and tied up everything in such an amazing way. I don’t think I could’ve ever seen this ending in such a perfect way (with the exception of losing Matthias). I can’t get enough of Leigh Bardugo’s writing and I really wish I could get more stories/books written in the Grisha world as well as seeing the crew again. I just want to say that this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and by God, did this book give it justice to be one of my top 2016 reads.
No Mourners. No Funerals.