Crooked Kingdom: the highly anticipated sequel to Leigh Bardugo’s thrilling #1 New York Times-bestselling Six of Crows.
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
fightingfor 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 Ketterdamto 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.
Okay, so. Like, Leigh, not freaking cool. This book was just. Not. Freaking. Cool. (Leigh’s books always are, but in the best way ;P) Oh, also, this review WILL have spoilers, so watch out, people who were like me and waited 100 years to read this series.
As always, the Grishaverse was wonderfully vivid, complex, and captivating. Leigh never disappoints in those ways, and I think I will love just about anything she writes because of this fact, even if it’s a cookbook (though, a Grisha cookbook would be pretty dope (Macmillan, hit me up, I got ideas)).
However, all of this being said, this book was probably on the bottom of my Leigh Bardugo choices. Unlike her other novels, Crooked Kingdom read slowly. It was a heavy book, lots of action and worldbuilding that was hard to keep track of and could be tedious at times. Honestly, she’s usually ridiculously good at NOT being so heavy with her fantasy, which is why I adore her so. But, I had to check this book out twice from the library to get through the whole thing because it was just hard for me to get rolling. I think if you cut out about 200 pages from it, it would’ve fit the pace of her usual novels a bit more. Now, I‘m not trying to say that this made the book bad, because it didn’t, I still enjoyed it overall, but it was certainly not as strong as her other work, in my opinion.
Okay, also, yikes. Again, this IS GOING TO HAVE SPOILERS so if you have not read Crooked Kingdom STOP. READING. I won’t lie, the following spoilers are ones I had come across before reading the books, so I totes do not judge you if you don’t heed my advice. Anyways.
SO, in the last like, fifty pages, Matthias is just randomly killed. Just like that. One second he’s alive and the whole main plot has concluded, the next second he’s randomly dead for a totally unrelated reason, and then fifteen pages later the book is over. Now, okay yes I am biased, Matthias and Nina (<<<3) were totally my favorite POVs. However, I am never against a well done character death that adds to the plot or a character’s overall arc, however much I adore them (#RIPDanielSheridan). Yet, Matthias’ death almost seemed…fake. As in, it felt like it was kind of just shoved in there to add some drama. There was no development, because it was at the end of the book/tentatively the end of the series (book three is rumored to be happening but not for ages). There was no room to develop how this death affected anyone (it could’ve been a great arc for Nina or the others who were ‘hardened criminals’ but obviously loved each other). There were just a few weepy moments of “I thought it was ‘no mourners no funerals’ what the heck.” It was severely undeveloped and weak, in my opinion. He died, then it flashed forward to Inej and Kaz having some sweet little moment and hardly acknowledging that their friend was just randomly died, and then POOF book over.
Anyways, I know that the above review is a completely unpopular opinion. And, honestly, I did NOT dislike it, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had from Leigh’s past work, or even the hype I had heard from others. It fell a bit flat for me. However, it did give me an itch to go back and re-read the original trilogy once more! So, please, haters, don’t attack me. As I am, before all else, a Leigh Bardugo lover.
3 out of 5 stars.