Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Info: 2017 by Orion Children’s Books (first published 2016)
Star Rating: 4.5/5
Back Cover Summary:
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.
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 badly weakened, 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.
Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows series. I feel there was a lot of pressure on this book since Six of Crows was so good, but Crooked Kingdom is even better. While Six of Crows was slow to get going and it took me a little while to warm to the characters, Crooked Kingdom hits the ground running. I didn’t realise quite how much I loved this crew of characters until I was reunited with them. As I was already invested in them and their stories, Crooked Kingdom had a grip on my heart right from the start.
In Six of Crows, we see our gang travel to Fjerda for their heist, but in Crooked Kingdom the action is focused on Ketterdam. Leigh Bardugo does an amazing job of making the city come alive. The detail in the world building is phenomenal. There was a grittiness to this sequel which came from the setting and the closeness of that setting added to the intensity and suspense.
I loved all of the main characters in this book, something which I feel rarely happens, and I don’t think I could possibly pick a favourite. Leigh Bardugo crafts each of their backstories expertly, weaving their past into their present and taking the time to give each a solid arc. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Jesper, Wylan and Matthias are all such great characters. I loved seeing them all grow over the course of the two books. Their interactions and dialogue are brilliant as well, I just loved the scenes where they were all together. Those who have read the Shadow and Bone trilogy will also enjoy the appearance of some characters from that series!
I didn’t think it was possible for this book to surprise me more than Six of Crows did, but there were so many twists and turns. Kaz is in his element in Ketterdam and at his cunning, scheming best. I was hooked all the way through and was never quite sure what was going to happen next. I really have to applaud Leigh Bardugo for writing such a clever, twisty plot.
Crooked Kingdom is a stunning entry into Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. I can’t get enough of this world and will eagerly devour any future Grishaverse releases. Please don’t be put off by the hype for Six of Crows as I was! This is a brilliant series and Crooked Kingdom well and truly knocked my socks off.