Review: Crooked Kingdom - Leigh Bardugo

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2

My rating: {★★★★☆}

YA Fantasy

Source: Purchased
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

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.

“This city’s price is blood,” said Kaz, “and I’m happy to pay with yours.”

I buddy read Crooked Kingdom with the amazing Amy from A Magical World of Words! We jumped straight from buddy reading Six of Crows into the sequel and we had a fantastic time chatting incessantly about every detail!! Have a look at her review here.

I know, I know! This one only got four stars compared to Six of Crows being a five star read for me but let me tell you something - it was still masterful and a really incredible book.

There's something about Bardugo's writing that brings the world into instant clarity - a crispness that's hard to explain but that you just have to experience for yourself. There's six main characters here with POVs and each is unique, complex and their stories are woven together seamlessly into an intricate plot full of heists and schemes that you won't see coming until they're on top of you.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat from the very first chapter and there were so many swooping twists and turns my heart was racing 99% of the time. However there were times when the pacing was just too fast and I couldn't completely appreciate the more sombre, heavier moments because they just flew past too quickly - the heights of my FEELS could have soared if I had had more time to simply process stuff. I also felt like I just didn't get enough closure on a few issues (which I'm happy to discuss with spoiler tags in the comments below!). It still made me cry - a couple of times in fact, but I know it could have ripped my heart out more than it did (WHY DO I WANT THIS????).

In fact, I felt as though the ending was more of a setup for future series in this world and while I don't mind that (at all!!! I'm thrilled to maybe have a chance to read more Grisha universe books!) I do feel that as the end of a duology there should have been more of a winding up.

The characters were just as amazing as they were in the first book and we got even more depth to them, learning more and more of their backstories. I did feel like we were missing a bit of the camaraderie and banter that Bardugo excelled at in Six of Crows: it was still there, but just not quite as much as I wanted.

“Pick up the pace,” Kaz said, eyeing his watch.
“If I spill a single drop of this, it will burn straight through the floor onto my father’s dinner guests.”
“Take your time.”

I really enjoyed the way that Bardugo dealt with so many 'big issues' in these books, especially addiction and this was in relation to gambling AND drugs (in two separate characters). It's a truly diverse cast and I bow down to her skillful creativity and exquisite construction of both plot and characters.

The romance aspect of this book was more pronounced than in Six of Crows however it is never really at the forefront of the plot and it enhanced rather than grappled with the main story.

“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.”
It's a roller-coaster ride of action, adventure and emotions and while I didn't rate it as highly as the first in the series, I totally recommend it!

They would survive this night. They would free themselves of this damp, misbegotten city, and then … Well, then they’d change the world.

 ←Six Of Crows (Six of Crows #1)