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.
“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”
After finishing this book I have come to the conclusion that there simply must be a option to rate books 6 stars because holy oh gosh what the shit this book was just aoisdjfkaw0iosdljfkwpoealdskjfhw9asoidiljfoaslkdfc
^^wild forehead bashing on the keyboard because I can’t do anything else I’ve lost all feeling and control. Honestly though, I’ve already given some books 5 stars this year and how can I possibly put this amazing masterpiece on the same level with anything that isn’t this amazing masterpiece??? I just can’t. Six stars. Fight me.
So can I just start by saying that the cover is absolutely freaking gorgeous. Honestly, without a single question I’ll tell you that the Six of Crows duology covers are the best covers out there. Period. I mean, there’s the crow, and there’s also the crown, and the buildings, but what do you see first? The shape of the crown makes the part of the crow!! It just goes together so perfectly aslkdfj. ALSO. The red pages??? My love. I can’t stop stroking them.
But that’s not part of the actual book/writing, so let’s talk about that. First of all, the world that Bardugo has set up is amazing. Just. Amazing. My only complaint with Six of Crows, and the reason I gave it 4.5 instead of 5 stars was because the world building didn’t feel fully developed and since I haven’t read the Grisha trilogy, I was really confused and frustrated at points. Here–no. Since this is the second book and the world has already been set up, I was able to get thrown right into it and understand it; the different peoples and their thoughts on Grisha, parem, etc were all so complex and amazing! (note to self: must read Grisha trilogy pronto)
Crooked Kingdom throws us right back into the action, a little after Six of Crows ended with Nina struggling to recover from parem, Wylan still looking like Kuwei, Inej still kidnapped, and the weakened Dregs doing everything they can to get her back. And I was honestly so stressed out and worried that something would happen to Inej?? T-e-r-r-i-f-i-e-d.
And that wasn’t the only time that I was freaked out and worried for everyone. Pretty much the entire book I was on edge, terrified that something would happen. And things did happen!! I mean, with the stakes so high, of course there would be casualties and setbacks, and right now it’s a hard call to decide which is more stressful–staying up all night reading this book, or staying up all night cramming for a math final. But this is the kind of stress that I welcome and embrace so okay.
I feel like every time the Dregs set up a plan to carry out a heist or mission my heart started beating 10000x faster. Because it’s Kaz, and he’s Dirtyhands, so it just has to work right?? Because if it doesn’t work, then the sht it going to hit the fan and people might die!! But then I would see that I still had 300 pages left so there was no way it could be the climax and that meant that something was going to go wrong and that would just freak me out even moree!
So anyways, all of the heists and missions were freaking insane. There were parts where I was like: that’s it, they’re done for. This book isn’t going to have a happy ending. And even the Dregs thought that they were screwed?? Even Kazthought they might be screwed and when Kaz Brekker of all people thinks that…well…just pray for a return of his scheming face, that’s what I do.
Also the way that Leigh Bardugo writes this is sooo good but also sooo cruel??? I loved the multiple perspectives. I really did. But at times when one character got screwed at the end of a chapter, and then we switched to someone else’s POV who was somewhere else and I was just like read faster read faster what happened. And some information is withheld from the reader, or from the character that is currently narrating and it’s just so stressful?? (view spoiler)
But all that aside, what really makes this book stand out just like Six of Crows is the incredible characters. Usually I don’t really like multiple POVs. I prefer books with just one narrator!! But this book had 6 main narrators (yes, Wylan gets his voice heard and that made me so happy because tbh I don’t know why we didn’t get him in SoC he’s perfect) and I absolutely loved it anyways–and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!–so that’s just how good it is.
The character backstories continued to be amazing in shaping these incredible, three dimensional characters. Nobody was just as simple as they seemed. Wylan’s backstory just absolutely broke my heart ahhhh! And we got to hear more about Kaz which was so perfect so many feelings just because he’s Kaz. I love Kaz.
Speaking of Kaz…I love him. Did I mention that? I’m just so amazed by him, and the fact that he’s always two steps ahead of everyone. There were times when I was like, no way, he’s screwed and he’s gonna die now but then…but then he went and was Kaz!! But also I love how he’s not just the archetype of a murderer or whatever–he has such a sad backstory that really made him who he is!! And the fact that he finds it hard to get close to people but you can tell that he’s started caring about this crew is just too much for my heart.
I still love Inej! Inej amazed me so much–she was so strong and fiercely loyal even when facing torture. And she was such a loyal friend to Nina and everyone too. And I loved how we got to see into her mind as she did terrifying things like walking a tightrope!! Inej really really gets a chance to shine in this book, she really meets her match and she’s one of the most badass people ever, no questions asked.
Kaz and Inej together!! Who have I ever shipped harder than I ship Kaz and Inej, honestly. I love how they’re both so hard and cruel on the outside (well, Kaz more than Inej haha) but then they care for each other, how they’ve both been so mistreated by life that they’re terrified to get close to anyone but then they still love each other it’s just too much for my heart.
I think Jesper might be creeping onto the list of people I want as my best friend, like Kenji from Shatter Me because he was just too fun. Wylan too! I didn’t get too attached to him in the last book, but I just adored him here! And while they were both great on their own, together they just, I don’t know, give me life. They’re so sweet and so funny and so fun but also so loyal and care about each other so much and rpwol;kjdsw09arpoesldk
I was so amazed and in awe of Nina in this one! I was so freaked out for her at the end of SoC after she had the parem, and it definitely affected her here. But then she was able to keep pushing and keep doing great things!! And I was so excited to meet the Grisha from her past ahhh.
And Nina and Matthias together are just too much (view spoiler). They had their moments that were so funny (Nina being fabulous of course) and their moments that were so wrenching and their moments that were so moving and just all of their moments. Nina and Matthias are hate-to-love/forbidden romance done right so I hope you’re taking notes to all the authors who do it poorly.
Anyways, I’m in a gigantic book hangover from Crooked Kingdom. I’ve been ranting and raving about it to all my friends and family nonstop since I finished it and I think they all hate me now but whatever. I canNOT remember the last time I was so emotionally moved by a book. Also, it’s always been so much easier to write negative, rant reviews than positive reviews but CLEARLY that was because I never came across anything as perfect as Crooked Kingdom before.