Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows Duology #2) / My rating: ★★★★★
One sentence summary: Kaz Brekker and his crew of outcasts find not only their own city, but the nations of the world against them as they pull off heist after heist to reap revenge on their enemies, protect each other’s lives, and save the world from a powerful drug that could destroy life as they know it.
“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.”
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Plot: This book is bulletproof. It’s so tight, there is so much going on and it’s all so strong, I can’t find a single thing to poke any holes through. If there’s one thing this book, and it’s predecessor, Six of Crows, does PERFECTLY, its raising the stakes and meeting your expectations with the outcome. If the characters embark on something dangerous, you know the end result will be more dangerous, will be sufficiently heart wrenching, will take the floor right out from under you. Leigh Bardugo is a queen at writing heists, and every time I thought I might know what would happen, she’d twist it into something completely different and keep me on the edge of my chair and up reading far later than I should have. This book takes so many different elements and plotlines and intertwines them fantastically, and there was never a dull moment. The plot development, the character development, and the emotional stakes had me on a wild ride. It made me stressed, it made me laugh, it made cry, and it was just SO MUCH fun. This is one of the BEST books I’ve read this year, and ever, and the Six of Crows Duology as a whole is now one of my favorite series of all time. This was one of those books that I truly mourned the page count going down as I read them, because I never wanted to be done with these characters or the Grisha universe.
Characters: I could go on for 10 years talking about these characters. Where do I even begin??? They are FANTASTIC, all so different and diverse, and without a doubt some of my favorite characters I’ve met this year. They’re amazingly developed, and there is not a single one on the crow crew I did not love. Each was so fleshed out and had their own distinct, equally important story. As I said in my review of Six of Crows, I love stories where rag-tag crews are assembled, and this was the ultimate crew of outcasts. Bardugo did a beautiful job of developing them all individually and together as a group, and intertwining their stories with the plot and with one another. I loved the friendships (begrudging or not), and of course the romance. Three different romances took place within these books, and like the characters, they were all so different and equally important, and so much fun to follow. Words cannot express how much fun I had reading these characters, and how invested I was in all of them, and how sad I was to finish the book and have to say goodbye to them. As for my favorite…..my heart goes to Wylan. I especially enjoyed reading his point of views, which we didn’t have in the last book, and I loved every second of it. I loved all the crow kids with all of my heart, but there’s a special place in it for the little merchling.
Writing: I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing, and she’s now one of my favorite authors. She nails plot, she nails character, she nails setting, atmosphere, action, dialogue, humor and horror. She nails the art of writing.
Was I satisfied? YES. Yes yes yes yes yes. This and Six of Crows are two of my favorite books ever. I was beyond satisfied, and they were so enjoyable and so much fun. I cannot recommend them enough. I LOVE THEM.