The Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
SPOILERS FOR DAYSzzz
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 magic in the Grisha world.
I literally did not sleep and read this from 12am-6am and now I am zombie! But it was definitely worth it! Filled with such badassery, scheming, loss of hope, going in depth of the vulnerability in our favorite characters–Bardugo does it again!
As soon as you open the book, The Crooked Kingdom starts off where we left off. I have noticed this with Bardugo–when she starts another installment in a series, she does take time to restart the scene and reintroduce characters. We are literally thrown into the text with our favorite group and feel the anticipation to save Inej and this money. Once again, I feel apart of the crew–dealing with Kaz’s glower, Nina’s growling stomach, Inej’s Suli wisdom, Jesper’s witty remarks, Wylan’s blush, and Matthias honorable Fjerdian idioms.
This novel had me cheering and at the edge of my seat with anticipation! New and old characters are also weaved into the story–making it more complex and interesting. The setting is bleak but with the vibrancy of the characters, their friendships and their fears, the latest installment is enthralling and entraining as expected.
When things look so helpless and bleak, Kaz always finds a way to rile up the city.The clock is ticking to find Inej andKaz is even more “insufferable” than usual as the days collide but he remains as deliciously ruthless as usual. I cannot get over how complex and badass he is–his schemes are so cunning and heartless, it is always a supirise in the end to see how he wiggles his way out of death. We do see a new side of Kaz that was sightly touched on before: Vulnerable. After Inej’s abudction, Kaz’s emotion are haywire when it comes to our Wraith as he pushes down his love for her. It takes a lot of strength for Kaz to reveal himself to her and it just makes me wish I could read more! (especially after that last scene–bring the tissues people!) Is Kaz a reluctant hero or an antihero? Or maybe I am taking a page from Inej and hoping I can redeem this bad boy! Also, the small and big things he does for Inej–he truly shows he cares even when he tries to hide it.
This is my favorite quote from the book!
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no mater how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together–knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
Much to my relief, Nina is alive and still kicking it! After the ending of Six of Crows, I was worried for our vivacious Heartrender but Nina is a warrior who always finds a way to bounce back. Unfortunately Nina has suffered from the effect of the param and now has withdrawals like an addict. I found this particularly interesting–Nina’s cravings for it, the desperation, the shaking. It literally breaks Matthias’s heart to watch her go through it but with his support and love they handle it well. Also, because of the param, Nina has some newfound powers…..
I have noticed this in the first book Six of Crows but Wylan can be considered the voice of reason. Because we are not criminals–well I hope we are not– but Wylan is there to remind us how despite how awesome and badass our group is, what they go through and the choices they make are insane! It is easy to relate to Wylan’s greeness as he tries to find his footing with the group and I like how Bardugo added more chapters with his perspective–it made me like him a little more. He is an essential part of the group and he proves his worth in this book!
The terror I felt for my girl Inej! She and Nina are a tie for my favorite females but with this book, I give the medal to Inej. We get a more personal view into Inej’s past–the heartbreaking experiences in the Menagerie and the bittersweet memories of home. Even Kaz mentions this but Inej is probably the strongest of the group. I loooooved the scenes with her and Kaz–both of them are so broken from their past that it is difficult for them to touch and trust. But with each other, they try. Wraith does meet an opponent that tests her, which is unexpected but definitely filled with nail-bitting scenes.
The Crooked Kingdom gave us more background on our lovable gunslinger as we learn that his father comes to Ketterdam for looking for answers. The past finally catches up to Jesper as he learns how to confront his father and retains memories of his Grisha mother. Ashamed of his gambling addiction, Jesper fears of his dad’s judgement but we learn that Colm truly loves his son. It was funny having Colm helping the crew–he is this wholesome farmer who appears as the adult in the group. I always forget that our crew is so young but with Colm it is just so astounding how much trouble they can get into so young. Also,there is a battle within Jesper as he comes to terms with being a Grisha and the fear and responsibility that comes with it. Even though Jesper does betray the crew in the previous book, he does prove his worth and redemption in this latest installment.
Matthias is just too cute–there is no other way to describe it. He is consider backwards in Ketterdam, his honor makes him doubt his actions but his love for Nina is what keeps him going. Even more than Wylan, Matthias is just too pure for that world–even when he is fighting with this crew, there is a layer of decency about him that prevails. The banter and flirtation between him and Nina are literally everything!
Overall, I LOVED THIS BOOK–just like anything Bardugo writes! I hope there is another book! Let me know how you felt after reading it!