Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 536 pgs
Rating: ★★★★ (3.75)
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.
Crooked Kingdom is the 2nd installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows Duology, the conclusion we’ve all been waiting for following the huge success of Six Of Crows. This time around I participated in a buddy read with some awesome bloggers you all have probably seen around. If not allow me to introduce to you the Bookish Dregs starting with Jill @Rantandraveaboutbooks who came up with the name for our little group, Melissa @Booknerdmomo and Megan @BookSlayerReads. Now, we all went into Crooked Kingdom with high expectations since Six Of Crows absolutely delivered on Plot, Characters, Writing, and last but not least Pacing. I think it’s safe to say by now lol, that the ladies (including myself) struggled with the pacing and plot this time around. I’m the type of reader who loves character driven stories so this actually worked in my favor & I finished Crooked Kingdom sometime last week. The Bookish Dregs have not given up on this book but they are taking some time off from it.
Unlike many other readers, my wait for Crooked Kingdom was a very brief one…1 hour to be exact lol. I finished Six Of Crows on a train ride to the Leigh Bardugo book signing for Crooked Kingdom & was legit riding a high off the book when I finally met her in person. I was looking forward to bringing home this beautiful book with red deckled edges and having it sit next to its counterpart Six Of Crows with its black deckled edges. The story picks up after Inej’s kidnapping with the crew planning her rescue. Without Inej, Kaz is much more darker than usual & much more harsh to those around him. I must confess, I wasn’t a fan of this side of Kaz and was really hoping that Inej was rescued sooner rather than later cuz DAMN! the man can brood. We get to see the crew doing what they do best, carrying out the crazy schemes Kaz comes up with. We also get to see Inej in captivity where Van Eck is attempting to break her down mentally. If you’ve read Six Of Crows (hope you have if you’re reading this review lol), you know that Kaz & Inej have unspoken feelings for each other. This weighed heavy on Inej’s mind who knows Kaz Brekker a bit better than anyone. She questions whether he will chuck her off as a loss since he is driven by money & power OR whether he and the team will come to her rescue. Here is where character development comes into play, we get to learn about Inej’s time as an indentured sex slave and its after effects. As a matter of fact, this is a multiple POV story each chapter told by one of the 6 Dregs and they all seem to be reaching into their pasts to tell you their stories and how they came to cross paths with Kaz Brekker. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each of these characters but agree that it made up the majority of this book which took a toll on the pacing & most importantly the plot.
Leigh Bardugo once again made these characters come to life & gave them so much depth & complexities that I honestly think i’ll have a hard time coming across another cast of characters I’ll love as much as them. That being said, I felt that she wanted to gives us the readers/fanbase, as much of them as possible since this is the 2nd book in a duology. In doing so, the pacing of the book is dramatically slowed down because we are spending quite a bit of time in each characters mind. The plot itself didn’t really kick into high gear until past the halfway point. If i’m being completely honest (My Dark Queen YOU know I LOVE you So LOL!) this book could’ve easily been split into two seeing as there were technically 2 jobs/heists. We have the plot & rescue of IneJ and then we have the take down of Van Eck. If you’ve read Crooked Kingdom, you know that taking Van Eck down was really a two attempt job since the unthinkable happened to our fave bad boy Kaz. Splitting this book up some time after the 1st failed attempt would’ve ended in a cliff hanger BUT the 3rd & final installment would have us all wondering what state of mind they are all in & what if anything do they do now that they’ve met their match & have been outsmarted. Nonetheless, I am satisfied with the journey, characters, and world Leigh gifted us and I will miss the crew more than I can express. I do wish Matthias Helvar had made it to the very end, I really loved that Fjerdan lol. I did find that the way he was taken out was super ironic considering his change of heart towards Grisha & how the world views them. There’s something magical that happens to a reader when they connect with a character, but to come across a crew of 6 that you’ve come to know & love dearly is as rare as finding all 7 Horcruxes 😉