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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows 2Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 27, 2016

Series:  Six of Crows, #2

Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

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'll tell you. After I finished Six of Crows, I was dying for this book. But when it came out, I thought, Oh no! If I read this, then it will all be over. Leigh (Bardugo) doesn't have anything else coming out. *insert despair/dying emoji here*.

So, there it sat. Taunting me on my bookshelf. Saying you know you want to read me because you'll love me, but I'll absolutely ruin you. MWHAHAHA!

UNTIL! *victory trumpet* Recently, she's had her The Language of Thorns published, which is a collection of short stories in the Grishaverse, AND she's announced she's writing King of Scars which centers around King Nikolai. Whew. A huge sigh of relief and now I can breathe and get on with this.

Crooked Kingdom picks up with the revelation that the Shu are hunting the Grisha in Ketterdam while our beloved crew had just experienced the crushing loss of Inej being taken captive by Van Eck. Kaz and crew have had some time to form a plan and they're just putting things into place to rescue Inej. In Inej's capture, Kaz's hard exterior has been bored through and he's anxious and reliving moments from his past that have made him vulnerable. Kaz has previously been thought to be bloodthirsty and fueled by greed, impenetrable by feeling. When it comes to Inej and his crew, this isn't the case, actually, and the others start to notice.

Kaz possesses a formidable amount of determination to succeed in his goal of freeing Inej and also besting Van Eck, but this determination, when levied by the humanity of his crew, threatens to fall apart. Nina has barely recovered from her emergency use of jurda parem and is still craving the potent drug. She hasn't been able to use her power since the event, either. Matthias has been taking care of her diligently, but he is a stranger in a foreign land and a wanted jailbird. Wylan is still wearing Kuwei's appearance, and dealing with his father's treachery and his own flaws of severe dyslexia. Jesper's betrayal was revealed, and he wrestles with his penchant for gambling as well as the news that his father has come to Ketterdam in search of him. Kuwei, their newest addition, is both collateral and a big liability as he doesn't even know the language or customs and stands to be fleeced or murdered if he even steps foot out of their custody.

Our heroes and heroines definitely possess less bravado this go around, though they haven't reached the limit of tricks up their proverbial (or in Kaz's case, literal) sleeves. The character development is more pronounced and relationships hinted at in the last book are better fleshed out. Since his encounter with Kaz & co., Van Eck has learned to respect their capabilities, and Kaz seems surrounded on both sides, since even he makes a deal with the devil, his personal devil Pekka Rollins. Favorite moment: When Kaz has a showdown with Per Haskell. Loose ends, like Rollins and Nina's Grisha connections and Jesper and Wylan's respective family issues, are all neatly and masterfully dealt with in the final climax of the novel.

Despite this being less of a delightful surprise than Six of Crows, Bardugo still pulls off a skillfully ingenious wrap up to the duology. If this series had food comparisons, Six of Crows would have been the mystery surprise of exotic flavors you didn't know you craved while Crooked Kingdom is full-bodied and richly satisfying to devour and complete the palate. I love this series and these characters, despite them being a bunch of teenage criminals. I am so sad to leave them! This duology will likely remain one of my top all-time favorites.

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Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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