Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – REVIEW
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.
“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-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
This was the last book I read in 2017 and one of my favourites of the year. Somehow it was even better than Six of Crows and I’m so glad I was able to read the two together rather than having to wait. The repercussions from the events of SoC reverberate throughout the book for each of the characters and I appreciated that most of the loose ends were tied up. Whilst the first book took place in both Ketterdam and Fjerda, I loved that the action remained firmly in Ketterdam for this one. It was revealing seeing the characters in their home territory, interacting with other gang members and rival crews. One of my favourite aspects of the story was the humour and growing trust between the six characters.
“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan and Jesper are six of the best developed young adult characters I’ve ever read. The character development is gradual and believable, nothing feels forced or rushed. The portrayal of Kaz’s PTSD was brutally raw but handled with skill and subtlety, especially when exploring the consequences for his potential relationship with Inej. Kaz can be cruel at times but his character development was believable because it was so gradual. Matthias was the other character that matured tremendously. I found it difficult to sympathise at all with Matthias in SoC so I was relieved to find myself actually liking him at times in this book and admiring his perseverance in rewiring his thoughts. Nina is definitely the most relatable character and her vivacity shines throughout. Her charisma and flirting ability are matched only by Jespers and it’s such fun to witness both of them manipulating the people around them.
“Suffering is like anything else. Live with it long enough, you learn to like the taste.”
Wylan is definitely my favourite character as he’s honest, sweet, and kind. I loved his budding romantic relationship with Jesper and they’re my favourite OTP of the duology. Jesper’s gradual acceptance of his abilities led to some very mature thinking and it was wonderful to see Jesper actually growing up and facing his gambling addiction. Inej is absolutely fierce and her friendship with Nina was one of the highlights for me. I loved meeting some old faces from the Grisha trilogy, especially Sturmhond and Genya. I did hope that all the characters would survive but unfortunately, there’s a heartbreaking death near the end. However, the story ends on a hopeful note, with the characters on the brink of new adventures. If Leigh Bardugo decides to return to the streets of Ketterdam, I’ll be buying the book without hesitation.
A brilliant conclusion and one of my favourite reads of 2017.
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the Six of Crows Duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy.
She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.