*This is the second book in the series, the first is Six of Crows*
Overall Score: 10/10
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Book Summary (From GoodReads)
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.
Review – NO spoilers
First of all, if you’re reading this review and you haven’t read Six of Crows, go read that immediately.
Opening this book and starting to read was like seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a while. I did a reread of Six of Crows a few weeks ago and I remembered just how much I loved every single one of the characters. The character development in this book was absolutely phenomenal. The characters questioned what they thought they knew about themselves and their limitations and each of them grew an enormous amount this book. Some of the moments were absolutely heartbreaking and some made me smile.
Even though this is a fantasy series, there are many parallels between the problems experienced by the characters and real-life. Leigh Bardugo addresses everything from a change in faith, whether in a god or a loved one, to mental illness to physical disabilities. Part of what makes her characters so incredible is that, even though they have these fantastical skills, they are ultimately relatable as human beings. It’s incredibly rare that I’m unable to pick a favorite character in a book but after reading Crooked Kingdom, I can’t pick any one character in the crew (except Kuwei, I’m not a huge fan of his) as my favorite. The crew is a family and each character brings something crucial to the group and to the story.
As for the plot itself, just wow. Hold on tight, you’re in for a wild ride. If you enjoyed the heist aspect of Six of Crows, this book is essentially how the team pulled off the ultimate con. I was constantly guessing and in suspense as to what the next move would be. While Six of Crows was more focused on action, this book was more about getting into the mind of your enemy. Seeing everything unfold was like seeing two chess masters face off, albeit with a lot more tension and suspense.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters and their world just yet so I’ll be hoping for more novels from Leigh Bardugo in the future. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book that I believe sums up the duology perfectly while demonstrating the difference between this series and the original Grisha trilogy.
“But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary….When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”