Leigh Bardugo has done it again. Actually, she outdid herself with this one. Sequels always make me nervous when the first book was so masterfully executed. But I shouldn’t have worried. This book was too good to put down! Somehow, my love for the characters Bardugo introduced in Six of Crows became even stronger whilst reading Crooked Kingdom, and by the end of the book, I’m pretty sure I would’ve killed for any one of them. And to make me that attached to any character, let alone six, is remarkable.
The complexity with which Bardugo crafted her main characters and their relationships with one another is probably Crooked Kingdom‘s pièce de résistance. I mean, seriously, I can count on one hand the number of books where the characters were this fleshed out, diverse, and compelling. And to give all of them a unique voice as each narrates their piece of the story? Beyond amazing!
Crooked Kingdom basically picks up where the story left off at the end of Six of Crows (a week later), and, from there, the action never stops. Kaz and his crew are back at it with the scheming, fighting, and conning, and a bit of revenge is thrown in for good measure. And during all of this, relationships are pushed to their limits, but end up even stronger than they were before.
I laughed; I cried; I even wanted to throw my book at the wall during certain points of the story. And any book that can evoke such a visceral response from me is definitely a 5-star read. Crooked Kingdom has everything I could ever hope for in a fantasy novel: an intricately built world; diverse, complex characters; thought-provoking commentary on human nature and society; a well-written and well-executed plot; adventure with a hint of romance…I could go on, but you get the point! This book is brilliant.
As the second, and final book, in this duology, Bardugo does a great job at tying up all the loose ends and giving each character’s story the ending it needs (but not necessarily the one you might be hoping for)! That’s not to say there aren’t a hundred more stories and perspectives I would like to explore, but I did feel a sense of closure at the end of this novel. However, I will be thinking about this duology and the characters for a long time, and these are definitely books that I will read again and again.
It’s easy to tell that I more than love this book, so I think you’ll understand when I say it would be impossible to choose my favorite moment…but this one is pretty high on the list:
“Where do you think the money went?” he repeated.
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.
Because, if you’ll remember, in Six of Crows…
Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.
Leigh Bardugo is a genius. Seriously.
Highly recommended to everyone who enjoys fantasy novels!!!
5 out of 5 flowers! (I wish I could give it more!)