Written by: Leigh Bardugo
Book #2 / 2 of the Six of Crows duo logy
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
Summary: 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 the Grisha world.
Favorite quote: “When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
Review: W O W.
I really wish that Leigh Bardugo was like James Patterson and had an infinite amount of books out there to read, because I am always so impressed with her novels. After finishing The Grisha Trilogy (required reading if you want to read Six of Crows and especially Crooked Kingdom), I remember actively checking for any other books she had and counting down the days until Six of Crows came out. Although that novel in particular fell a little short of my admittedly incredibly large expectations, Crooked Kingdom made up for it. Although I think the first book definitely had a lot more of the dramatic, law-defying action that I’ve come to love from Bardugo’s books, Crooked Kingdom had more of grittier action on a smaller level that exploded at the end that I loved. I know some complaints people had about Crooked Kingdom was that it was “slower”, but I think this just truly showed how intricate all of Kaz’s plans are and how good they all are at their respective jobs. Additionally, two books was just enough to tell the story of Kaz and his crew and their impossible heist, and to add a little bit to the world that Bardugo had already started to create in The Grisha Trilogy. There’s just enough similarity between her world and our own that it doesn’t completely turn me off or confuse me, but with huge differences that she describes with such clarity and ability that I barely even notice that she’s explaining it to me at all.
I think the one thing that really made Six of Crows as a series exceed my expectations was that I L – O – V- E – D all of the characters. Whether it be the dark and mysterious leader Kaz, the kindhearted and talented spy Inej, the passionate and driven Grisha Nina, the realistic and surprisingly loyal former druskelle Matthias, the hilarious and bighearted gunslinger Jesper, or the optimistic and brilliant engineer Wylan, I fell in love with the crew that Bardugo created. Their relationships not only between each other but as a group developed so much in just two books, but without seeming forced – and that’s a feat in itself. There were strong male/male friendships, strong female/female friendships, strong LGBTQ relationships, strong heterosexual relationships, strong interracial relationships… but Bardugo is the queen in that she never makes a big deal out of any of it – as it should be. Furthermore, each character is perfectly described to the tee; each one practically leapt from the pages for me, and few books truly do that. The only thing that kept this book from getting the full 5/5 rating it probably did deserve, to be honest, is one of the character deaths that occurred. Everybody who has read the book knows who I am talking about, and those who haven’t – I won’t go into much more detail for fear of spoiling. I will simply keep it at that the death was completely unnecessary and I don’t feel that the character died for any other reason besides Bardugo thinking that none all of them could have lived through it. But, I digress.
Ultimately, this book is definitely one of the better ones I’ve read in the last few months. Although it’s definitely a bit chunky, and some parts in the middle do get a little slow, it all builds up to what I think is an incredible ending to the story. Would I read more about Kaz, Inej, and the rest of the crew if Bardugo continued to write the series? Of course. But I also feel that to continue on with the same characters would be insulting to others, and that the same group dynamic would be hard to repeat in subsequent books. For now, I am completely content with the ending of this series – and it’s pretty rare you hear me say that. But I can’t wait to see what Bardugo does next, especially if it’s another spin-off in the Grisha world!