Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Crime, Heist, YA, Fantasy
5 out of 5 – Yet again, Bardugo excels here. I only finished this recently, but I already want to read the series again.
Crooked Kingdom picks up where Six of Crows finished. The crew must rescue one of their own, take back what is rightfully theirs, and finally achieve their dreams. But they are facing ever increasing difficulties, with reduced resources, against powerful enemies that are uniting for political reasons of their own.
“Better terrible truths than kind lies”
“They valued the things he could do instead of punishing him for the things he couldn’t.”
I decided to wait quite a while after I purchased this book to read it. Why? Although Six of Crows left me with a desperate need to find out what happened next, and I was still incredibly invested, I felt that I really needed to be in the mood for this type of heist based book. I didn’t want to pick it up, when not quite ready, and ruin it for myself. I was glad I waited. After reading the first paragraph, I was drawn back into the Grishaverse and the story.
This story continues right where Six of Crows left off, so in many ways, it is fantastic if you are able to read these books back to back. However, it is completely unnecessary. I had read Six of Crows quite a while before Crooked Kingdom, but the story was just as fresh in my mind, and Crooked Kingdom had to ability to make you dive immediately back in, without needing to fill you in on any previous action. The writing was intoxicating, each character was a fully fleshed out person immediately again, with all the trials and tribulations that resulted from the previous novel.
Once again, Bardugo handled the pacing of this story perfectly, but I think she may have actually managed to up her game here. The twists and turns within the plot of Six of Crows were great, but Crooked Kingdom was a triumph. I never knew what was coming next and that was amazing. There are also some incredibly skilled sentences here, little scenes there, almost flippant comments that stick with you forever… This left me with just as many memories of the first, and despite having only just finished, a strong desire to go back and read them both again.
There is a shared scene in this book between two of the characters. Wait, between a different two characters. What? No, each pairing in this book managed to have moments that literally made my whole body react in a variety of different ways. One couple made me squirm with glee and anticipation, another made me feel my heart warm and grin constantly, another made tears of pride and sorrow appear. These aren’t just romantic relationships either, the family relationships, the bond of friendships, the personal realisations. The effect was visceral. I was hooked.
As if that wasn’t enough, Bardugo also excels here at showing friendship, acceptance, redemption, vice, and virtue. The lines are psychologically twisted and clever, the characters are flawed and heroic.
Crooked Kingdom was fun and will forever be on my reread list.
If you liked this…
Make sure you have read The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It doesn’t have the same pacing and style as Crooked Kingdom, but it will give you another fix of this amazing world. If you have already finished these then I suggest giving Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series a try. It isn’t a heist book, but the world is fun and creative, and the pacing is definitely a massive plus for an intriguing read.