Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publish Date: September 27, 2016
# of Pages: 536
(**Warning: Possible spoilers!**)
(From Goodreads) 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.
Crooked Kingdoms takes its audience back to the Barrel and Kaz’s scheming. This is the second book in the Six of Crows duology.
Even while writing this review, I’m still waffling between rating the book a 3 or a 4. There was a lot I liked about the book, but there was plenty that I wasn’t sold on too.
I liked Kaz’s schemes. He is truly a criminal mastermind and plans his schemes the way a chess master plans a game of chess. He’s always several steps ahead and has contingencies for his contingencies. It’s impressive, and it was fun to read. I was happy his planning worked out in the end for (most) of the crew. On the flip side, Kaz’s scheming sometimes pulled me out of the book. The plans were so intricate and reliant on the proper sequence of events that they seemed completely unbelievable. I imagine the math problem for some of his schemes goes something like this: If ((a+b)+(c+d))-((e/f)+(g+h)), then X. It’s all well and good for a math problem, but once you add in people . . .
I enjoyed Wylan’s character a lot in this book. He’s a sweet boy with a monster for a father. I liked the complexity of his mother in this book and how saving his mother becomes his guiding mantra throughout the scheme’s execution. Wylan is worthy of love and finds it in Jesper. While Wylan is cast aside from his real family, he finds a new family in the Dregs.
Inej and Nina are both delights in the book. Nina’s wit makes for great comic relief, and Inej is my hero.
And Matthias . . . I still haven’t fully processed Matthias’ death. Honestly, until I sat down to write this review, I had kind of forgotten he died. His death in the book seemed pointless, and I’m not sure what was gained by killing him off. It felt disconnected to me, and since the book quickly moved onto something else after killing him off, it was easy to forget about.
I appreciated the ending of the book. While few things were tied up into a tidy package, there was closure where there needed to be closure. I was also happy to see Inej and Kaz finally come together—slowly, noncommittedly—but together, nonetheless.
Is the duology worth the hype? For me, it isn’t. The books were good, and I enjoyed reading them, but I was expecting so much more.
“What you want and what the world needs are not always in accord, Kaz. Praying and wishing are not the same thing.”
“Zoya used to say that fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
“I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.”
“And that was what destroyed you in the end: the longing for something you could never have.”
“We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
“Suffering is like anything else. Live with it long enough, you learn to like the taste.”
Have you read this duology? Did you think it was worth the hype?
Buy this book here*, or check it out at your local library.
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