Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.
But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, they’re low on resources, allies and hope.
While a war rages on the city’s streets, the team’s fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point.
Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they’re on the winning side… no matter what the cost.
For my Spoiler Free Review of Six of Crows please click here.
“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.”
How I managed to last this long until picking up Crooked Kingdom, I truly don’t know but you can bet I am kicking myself for doing so. Leigh Bardugo has done it again, Crooked Kingdom for me was as phenomenal as Six of Crows. Leigh’s team of Outcasts are deep within my heart and some of my favourite characters and to say the least; this book took me on a roller coaster of emotions that’s for sure.I thought everything was going to be ok until it wasn’t.
The plot for Crooked Kingdom picks up where Six of Crows ends, the deadline Van Eck has for the gang to give him Kuwei Yul-Bo is coming closer and the gang must come up with a plan in order to get Inej back. Wylan is still wearing Kuwei Yul-Bo’s features and Nina is dealing with the aftermath of her experience with Parem. This was some of my favourite scenes, not seeing Nina in pain but the reality of her addiction. Nina went through so much in this book especially through her addiction to Parem and Leigh writes this in such a descriptive way that you have so much empathy for Nina and you can sense how much desire she has to get just a little bit more. Nina’s powers also change and she must come to terms with that change and how weird and slightly freaky it is.
In summary, this book features an action packed plot. There is fighting, death, shocking reveals, new characters all of which given to us in a multiple POV narrative.
There are times in this book where you think oh no, this is going to be it. The crew are done for. But Kaz is just as slick, smart and conniving as he was in Six of Crows except he is also much more vulnerable in this book. There is more talk about his brother which is what pushes Kaz to want to succeed, to get justice and to get the money they were promised before they were betrayed which would buy each of the team’s dreams/future. For example Jasper will be able to pay the debts on his Father’s farm.
My favourite part of the plot in this book was the attempts to save Inej and Inej’s experience as being held hostage. During these moments our fierce assassin becomes vulnerable, she begins to experience fear for herself when Van Eck threatens to harm her for answers to where Kaz could be. This really developed Inej’s character even more for me, we know how brutal she can be. How she is seemingly fearless but she has the vulnerability to her.
Images Are Not Mine. All Rights belong to Merwild.
Kaz and Inej Artist Design by Merwild
As mentioned, Leigh really develops her character to an even bigger degree in this book. They each showcase their more vulnerable sides, most definitely Kaz and Inej who are my absolute two favourite characters. I just adore them, individually and together.
Kaz is a mastermind, a manipulator, conniving but he is loyal to his crew. His touch aversion is something that we learn more about in this book, we hear his experiences of having to deal with it in the past and how he had to handle that touch aversion in order not to show weakness in the Barrel. We also experience him and Inej sharing such a lovely, heart-warming moment. This scene is one I want to scream about but I won’t because of spoilers but it is so darn beautiful and pulled on my heart strings.
Kaz and Inej’s relationship is very much slowburning, they each have their own demons and there is tension throughout the book. The ending however really shows how much Kaz cares for Inej.
Like Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom is filled with diversity with LGBTQ characters – Homosexuality. Disability, touch aversion and PTSD. All of which are shown in characters in this book. I won’t reveal who the LGBTQ Characters are because of spoilers but for those who know what I am talking about, I will just say I SQUEELED! I’M SO HAPPY.
Jasper is one of my favourite characters. I mean who am I kidding? They all are my favourite characters. I love them all equally but Jasper is so funny. He is sarcastic, but he is also again vulnerable. In Crooked Kingdom he is trying to come to terms with his betrayal, seeking forgiveness mostly from himself but also we get to see Jasper’s father and learn more about Jasper’s mother in this book. Which really develops his character for me, Jasper has been through so much and had to hide his abilities, hide a true part of himself. I was thankful he was able to stop hiding.
Leigh also brings in a bunch of characters from her other Grishaverse; Shadow and Bone. These characters are Stormhold, Zoya and Genya. It is so nice to hear from these characters again and to see where they are now following the events of Ruin and Rising. But alongside the introduction of old characters we also have the introduction of new characters, one most notable one being ANOTHER ASSASSIN known as Dunyasha Lazareva aka The White Blade.
If the events of the book weren’t enough to keep you on your toes and your heart in your throat this introduction will be. The White Blade is a true match for Inej and it was interesting and heart stopping to read them battle it out.
Crooked Kingdom was a 5 star read for me. How could it not be? I was lost so easily back into this world and it’s been days since I finished it and I am still shocked. I can’t believe how it ended, I can’t believe it is over and that is was simply a duology for this crew.
The ending broke my heart whilst other bits were heart-warming. If you have yet to start this series than I highly suggest doing so! It is unique and unlike any other fantasy series. A crew of misfits and bandits working together. You really won’t regret it.