Title : Crooked Kingdom Author : Leigh Bardugo Genre : Fantasy, YA Rating : 5 Stars
I really do not know where to start. I’m literally nibbling at my lips trying to figure out how to put my thousands of jumbled emotions from this book together!
I think I’ll just start with, WOAH.
Before I get started I must say, I don’t try to do spoiler free reviews for books past the first in a series, if it happens great but I kinda think, why would you read the review for the second book if you haven’t read the first? So if you haven’t read the first book, here’s a link to my spoiler free review if you want to check it out.
With that in mind, it’s reviewing time!
I just realised, I’ve never done a review for the Grisha Trilogy! So I will be making efforts to amend this very soon. BUT if you have read Bardugo’s previous books you’ll have noticed the astounding growth she has made from book one till now. It’s truly amazing and I’m so enjoying seeing her authors signature’s grow and develop within her books. Crooked Kingdom is by far her best book with Six of Crows easily owning second place. Her other books I enjoyed but this series I loved.
If you read my review of Six of Crows you’ll know how I loved that this duology follows ‘the bad guys’ instead of the ‘hero’s’. I think that in itself gives the book enough merit for you to be reading. How many times can we be told of the hero winning before we get tired of it? Well this was it for me. I really just don’t know how I’m going to pick up another book without craving more bad. I don’t know if I should be grateful to Bardugo for opening my eyes to this other world of delicious naughtiness or distressed that my view on every other novel henceforth is going to be jaundiced.
The character’s in Six of Crows were interesting and intriguing but in Crooked Kingdom we saw them go to new heights. This book had a lot of theme’s going on and a lot of events happening that you were never board and always learning more as the plot thickens BUT by some miracle we were able to learn so much about each of the crew. Kaz still remained an enigma but we got to delve deeper into his past and find some answers to the many questions I know we all had and I found myself trying to think like him all throughout the book but failing miserably, his brainwave is on another level. How he gets to the conclusions and schemes he does I have honestly no idea. I really began to love Inje in this book, don’t get me wrong I loved her before but now? I’m in her thrall. I can’t move past the sincerity and kindness she has that somehow totally contrasts to the Wraith side of her. Normally something like that would not come across as flawless and natural as it did and I think it was a massive feat to have the dual sides of Inje melt seamlessly together. I wasn’t sure if I liked Nina in the first book, don’t kill me, but at the end of the Ice Court break in I loved her. In this book, we got to see more of that kickass Grisha chick that was so interesting in those final pages of Six of Crows. Matthias, Jesper and Wylan, all of them grew in leaps and bounds (I’m only shortening the info here because I don’t want to bore you with my love for them for too long) their relationships with the others became stronger and their secrets by god, their secrets. How can one book contain so much secrecy without keeping you totally confused and in the dark? I don’t know how but it worked. – side note, Jesper’s father is just the cutest. I love that he was brought in and reminded you that the people we were reading about were still teenagers. I’d almost forgotten, almost.
There was honestly too much plot wise going on for me to be able to succinctly include it all in one paragraph or even the whole review I’m writing. I’ve never read a book that just does not stop. Scene after scene with action and drama and emotion. It was absolutely mind blowing and boggling. The thought and detail that went into the planning of this book, every touch of information we were given was specifically timed to perfection and gave you just enough not to know the endgame and how this might play out.
I found my heart leaping with every tentative touch or glance between Kaz and Inje, every cheeky flirtatious exchange between Nina and Matthias and every shy and unsure moment between Jasper and Wylan. I really loved the depth of their relationships, they felt real and tangible.
I’m going to jump from here right to the ending.
The ending – yes, it was beautiful, yes it was touching and yes it was the perfect ending to the duology. BUT I was so upset.
There’s a trend I’ve noticed lately, authors have this annoying habit of culling their characters to make the novel more realistic, entice their readers, be daring whatever the reason, I just which we didn’t keep loosing the good ones! Kill Jan Van Eck for heaven’s sake not Matthias. I really really liked Matthias. His demise was executed tastefully and really in line with his characters growth throughout the novel but the scene were we lost him had me sobbing right along with Nina. I felt every word on that page and it felt so real. It broke my heart and I hate ending a novel on a bittersweet note. I guess that’s my dreamers mindset coming out in me, happily ever afters and all.
Despite this, the ending was really quite unique, it wasn’t finished as such but painted enough of a picture for you to know how it would end. Inje and Kaz bringing Katterdam to its knees, Jesper and Wylan showing the world that their weaknesses don’t make them lesser than anyone else and Nina staying true to herself and Matthias.
I feel like I’m not doing this masterpiece enough justice but I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to cover every inch of it.
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Till next time,