Crooked Kingdom – Review // The Sequel That Left Me Heartbroken and in Denial

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Book 2 in the Six of Crows duology
Genre: YA high fantasy
Pages: 546
Format: hardcover
Source: bought
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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If you’ve read this book and would like to be in a group chat on Twitter to talk about spoilers, comment your Twitter below! πŸ™‚

plot: 20/20
characters: 20/20
setting: 20/20
relationships: 20/20
twists: 20/20
100/100

I don’t even know where to start with this book. I only read Six of Crows over the summer, so the wait for this wasn’t really long, but I had extremely high expectations. I even checked a copy out from my school library so I could start reading before I got my own copy this pastΒ weekend. I went in expecting heartbreak, fearing the worst, but also with a bit of hope… I was correct with all three. I’m also in denial that this series is over. Needless to say, Crooked Kingdom was amazing in every possible way I could’ve asked for, and then some. ❀

the plot

The story picked up right where Six of Crows left off, and was just as packed with intensity, suspense, action, wit, humor, and emotions. Leigh Bardugo takes readers on a crazy ride throughout this book, and I loved it from the first page. It was great and refreshing to be back in this world, following these characters’ journeys, and I sped through over half the book in a day. This is one of those books where you want to savor the story and read it slowly, but also tear through it because your need to know everything is overwhelming. In this case, I fell into the latter category. Pacing yourself while reading this book will take a huge amount of self-control. πŸ˜€

the characters

(This will probably be the longest part of my review, haha.)

One of my favorite parts of the story was that readers learn so much about all six of the main character’s backstories, experienced through flashbacks cleverly placed throughout their respective chapters. So much is explained, and they’re made all the more real. ❀

Kaz has many talents – deceit, manipulation, planning heists, robbing people blind, executing heists – and slowly figures out positive emotions, but one thing he lacks is the ability to be good with children. That’s all I’ll say about that. My point is, though, that Kaz manages to go through extensive development while still remaining the criminal mastermind we all know and love. πŸ˜‰

Inej remains my favorite character. She’s cunning, nimble, and vital to everything the Dregs do, but she doesn’t let her job taint her, so to speak. She prays to her saints, wants to make slavers – both her own and others around the world – pay, and remembers and loves her family even though she hasn’t seen them in years. She has epic, almost inhuman climbing and fighting abilities, but underneath that she’s still a girl with fears and dreams. Leigh wrote her in a way that makes both sides of her seem so natural, and in turn makes her more relatable. I just love Inej. πŸ˜€

Nina is a close second favorite for me. She’s still the confident, flirtatious girl we met in Six of Crows, but has grown simultaneously braver and more vulnerable. Her experiences at the end of the first book changed her, and after that she was quicker to step up to any role. She was also more stubborn, particularly with the Grisha in Ketterdam, and that’s the other thing I loved most about her. Even though she had drifted away from them, so to speak, her loyalty to her fellow Grisha and dedication to helping them was admirable. πŸ˜€

Matthias probably would’ve been my least favorite from the first book, if I absolutely had to pick. But in Crooked Kingdom, he went above and beyond redeeming himself, at least in my eyes. If asked to pick a least favorite now, I wouldn’t be able to. He was still grumpy and set in his Fjerdan ways, like in Six of Crows, but we saw he did have a sillier side (if a word like that is even fitting for a guy like him) and he became more accepting in a few different ways. I admire the sacrifices he made and I love the man he became. πŸ™‚

Jesper is easily the best source of witty remarks and comic relief in these books. If I remember correctly, he’s the first lead character I’ve read about with a gambling problem. I think both that and his naturally wry, lighthearted nature stem from experiences he had growing up. As the story progressed, I was worried for him probably more than anyone else, because he had unexpected ties in the story on top of dealing with consequences from his actions in Six of Crows. One of the biggest reliefs for me, as I neared the ending, was that he kept his sense of humor. Jesper wouldn’t be Jesper without it, it’s as simple as that. πŸ˜‰

Wylan was, by far, the most innocent character in the first book. He was adorable and the oddest odd duck in the Dregs, simply because he didn’t know trickery or manipulation or fighting like the rest of them did. I knew he had to grow out of that stage so he could really pull his own weight in this book, because it was vital that he did, but I was almost sad to see his innocence go. It was amusing to see how shocked the others were when he would say something you would expect to hear from Kaz, honestly. So yes, he was officially corrupted in Crooked Kingdom, but still remained very much the same – he didn’t grow out of his adorable science nerd stage, and hopefully he never will. ❀

the setting

Whereas in Six of Crows readers get to know Ketterdam and then explore the seas and Fjerda, in this book we learn everything there is to know about Ketterdam. We see the pristine, wealthy side where the merchants live and the rotten, dangerous side that the gangs occupy. We become familiar with every nook and cranny, good and bad, and I was, once again, fully immersed in this world from the beginning. I loved exploring it all and though I wouldn’t want to live in it for obvious reasons, it’s one of my favorite fictional places. πŸ˜‰

the relationships

The romances in this book were definitely the death of me. They were all amazing and I shipped all three, but they were so well-written that they gave me almost too many emotions. The slow, steady development of each couple was wonderful. I loved the pacing, because it was never rushed, even if sometimes I did want them to just kiss. XD

the twists

And this is the part of Crooked Kingdom that has me speechless, even two days later. After the ending of the first book, I knew the stakes were sky-high, but I had no clue what to expect. The story was fast-paced and chock-full of twists I never would’ve guessed, especially in the second half, as the finale drew closer. My heart was constantly pounding, and my mouth was probably open in shock more than closed like a normal person. I can’t say much more without spoiling, but just know that the ending will destroy your heart and soul. There’s no question, at least not to me. So the least I can do is warn you before I say… go read it! πŸ˜‰

overall

Crooked Kingdom was everything I hoped for and more, a finale I thought I would only dream of. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I cannot praise this book, this duology, enough. It’s absolutely amazing in every aspect – the intricate story, the lovable characters, the world that makes you feel like you’re really in it, the perfect romances, and the crazy twists. I’m honestly in denial that this story is over, that these character’s journeys are over, and all I can say is this: if you haven’t read these two books yet, PLEASE DO. ❀

my rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? If you have read it, what did you think? I’d love to know! Tell me in the comments! πŸ™‚

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I’m off to a school event, and hopefully I’ll be able to read more of This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. πŸ˜‰ I hope you all have a fabulous day/night! ❀

Until next time…

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