One of this year’s anticipated books and the sequel to Six of Crows that instantly took over my life a couple months ago, Crooked Kingdom doesn’t disappoint. [Some spoilers ahead]. Kaz Brekker and the crew are back to get Inej back from the double-crossing Van Eck, but soon almost every powerful force turns against them and and hunt them down for possessing something or someone valuable.
As action-packed and beautifully written as Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom raises the stakes and keeps you turning the page. The only downside is the last chapter with Rollins. I didn’t feel that it was necessary, not that I didn’t like Inej, the Wraith, cornering Rollins to send her and Kaz’s regards.
Anyway, more layers are added to the characters without info dumping and it’s great to have all six of the crew to have equal attention and have their own plot that falls together nicely. Squad goals here – it’s also hard to not love them all. We see some characters from the Grisha trilogy return. Kaz and Sturmhond/Nikolai’s interactions are precious. Despite having some scenes, the villains have a haunting presence and manage to get on your nerves.
On relationships: I love the build-up of Jesper and Wylan’s relationship. The mutual trust, the banter and the exchanges of encouragement between these two breaks your heart in a good way. Likewise with Nina and Matthias – I wasn’t prepared for the latter’s…fate. I’m still crying about it.
My OTP Kaz and Inej is one of the best parts and strengths of the book. They work well together and are meant to be together. Unlike most relationships, they’re taking theirs really slowly as they’re still healing from the past. I like how they don’t kiss (on the lips) or touch but they show their affection in different (even more romantic) ways. Leigh Bardugo knows how to create sexual tension and character development well. The book ends with a promising start to Kaz and Inej as a couple – that left me crying. I hope a short story or novella about Kaz and Inej’s adventures comes out in the future (please Leigh) 🙂
More things to love Crooked Kingdom:
Diversity – disabled protagonist (Kaz) but this doesn’t hinder him nor does his disability defines him. Yes it’s part of him but he’s more than that, but there’s also no glossing over the struggles and the pressure of being normal either. Wylan is illiterate but he uses this as a strength plus the crew encourages him. PoC characters Inej and Jesper have major roles and they don’t get killed off. LGBT rep through Jesper and Wylan. Nina isn’t stick thin and is strong and beautiful as an angel. And Matthias…he’s Matthias.
Things that I don’t love:
It’s a duology. It’s too soon to have ended *cries*
I’ll forever recommend Crooked Kingdom until I’m in my grave and if you haven’t read Six of Crows, do it now.