Spoilery Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdomCrooked Kingdom (Six Of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo 

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publication Date: September 27th 2016

Format: Hardcover

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 536 pgs

Rating: ★★★★ (3.75)

 

 

Goodreads:

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.


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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.


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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 😉

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Photo Credit: Galvthynius

About Last Night…

My Monday started off with me trying to finish reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a book that has been talked about & praised all over social media. It was my shameful little secret that I had not yet read this beautiful black paged book, until it was announced that Leigh Bardugo would be coming to New York City Strand Bookstore as part of her #Troublemakerstour. I could NOT put it off any longer because I’ve heard such amazing things not only about Six of Crows but the author herself. I have read the Grisha trilogy but I wasn’t too much of a fan on how that wrapped up. Six of Crows however, BLEW ME AWAY! I finished reading SOC on the train ride to the event signing for Crooked Kingdom & got off the train to immediately text Gretchen at Chicnerdreads that I had DONE IT! I had finished the book in time. I was also reeling from how it ended but nonetheless feeling pretty euphoric lol. Review for Six of Crows to come, gathering all of my thoughts & feels so that I’m not just saying I LOVED IT! over & over again lol.

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The night was made all the more special because I was also meeting Gretchen (pictured above) for the very first time after many months of communicating through social media, our blogs, gchat, text, & HILLARIOUS voice messages LOL. I met Gretchen earlier this year when she was still a booktuber, thankfully I came across her before she left Booktube & started her blog. She is actually one of the people who motivated me to start my own (4 days later to be exact haha!) & for that I am very thankful for this friendship. It should come to no surprise that a couple of bookworms decided to do a little book & comic book shopping since we arrived super early for the event…

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$18.00 for hardcover = WINNING!!! 🙂

The event was to start at 6:30pm but the crazy long line started forming by 4pm, luckily we were in the front of this line. We also happened to be standing in the exact spot where Leigh Bardugo & Jesse The Reader’s car pulled up which meant she had to cut through us…

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Gretchen took this photo because I was author struck & froze, as a matter of fact it took considerable effort to move out of Leigh’s way so that she can get through *hides face* LOL!  Leigh Bardugo arrived promptly at 6pm (early) & did not keep us waiting. We were in the first group of 20 to be let in & be seated which was great because the place quickly filled up to maximum capacity. Some artwork was brought in & placed in different corners…

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I tried unsuccessfully to take a selfie with Jesper, he is hella tall & I am nothing but a shrimp next to him. Leigh & Jesse came out shortly after we were seated & from the moment she sat down it was non stop laughter from everyone because she is one funny lady! Jesse asked her a series of pop culture questions like “if the crew of Six Of Crows were Youtubers, what would each of their channels be about?” or “which drink would each of the characters order from Starbucks?” we were also given a chance to ask questions & she answered everything with sincerity, honesty, and gave some really good advice to aspiring writers. She spoke briefly about Wonder Woman; the YA book she is writing under DC but couldn’t give away too much of course. When asked about the possibility of more books in the Grishaverse she made no promises but said there are plenty more stories to tell & she’s not quite finished with that world sOOOo *fingers crossed* 

Fact:  Leigh is also donating 10% of book sales to GEMS, a charity for young girls ages 12-24 who’ve been victims of sexual exploitation & domestic trafficking. This charity works to empower young girls/women by giving them the tools they need to leave the commercial sex industry & develop their full potential. This charity is also close to the theme in Six Of Crows. 

Can we just take a moment to admire this woman’s style?!?! Fierce! after a few rounds of questions we were then asked to form a line for the book signing & again arriving early truly makes a difference (signing expected to run till 10:30pm). We were the first 20 to line up & while we waited…smh…we realized there were other authors present for this event. We spotted Zoraida Córdova author of Labyrinth Lost (I recently reviewed & LOVED this book here), Daniel José Older author of Shadowshaper (on my TBR, probably will get a copy at Bookcon next week), and Libba Bray author of The Diviners series (I own & need to stop procrastinating). It happened again, I froze & didn’t woman up to talk to Zoraida but ummm there will be other times *cough* for sure…smh LOL. Back to Leigh Bardugo, it was finally our turn to get our books signed and take a photo  with Leigh…

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This was simply AMAZING! she struck up a convo when she saw my name on the post-it (Lilly) & told me that when she was a little girl, her parents used to call her LeeLee which is what my parents call me in Spanish. I got to pick up one of the playing cards that were face down on the table & drew Inej which YESSSSS!!! I LOVE!!!! also got a pin & a crow shaped cookie but that broke into bits so no pic lol.

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Gretchen & I ended the night by going to Chipotle since we had skipped lunch and it was around 8 or 9pm. We chatted up a bit about the event AND already prepping for next week’s BookCon @ NYC Comicon. It was a great night & I had so much fun with Gretchen that I cannot wait to do it again! Thank you Gretchen for taking the photos at the event cuz you know you had the heels/height, what would I have done without you?!?! 🙂

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Six of Crows bookmark was part of the September Owlcrate, got it just in time for Crooked Kingdom!