Synopsis from Goodreads:
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Note: I wrote this review on Goodreads right after I finished Crooked Kingdom a few months ago. My feelings remain unchanged. 🙂
Hi, Leigh Bardugo! I’d like to file an official complaint. I don’t remember signing up for this much *feels* and I feel very attacked right now.
In the best possible way, of course.
I mean. Ugh. How do we even start dissecting Crooked Kingdom?
Can we even? I won’t attempt a decent review. Take what you can get, readers; this is gonna be 60% feelings 40 % review with a lot of spoilers in between but whatevs.
Crooked Kingdom is one of the best books I’ve read so far. Ever. This completely deserved my one vote for Goodread’s annual Best YA Fantasy and SciFi poll and I don’t regret it. How Leigh Bardugo manages to come up with Kaz Brekker’s schemes is beyond me.
Plot— 5 stars. Twisting, turning plot. I loved every bit of the ride. Gave me a heart attack half of the time but I enjoyed it. Thoroughly. I can just imagine Leigh listing all the plot possibilities in her mind, crossing them out and twisting them back around. The result: unexpected plot-twists that will make you go, “Jeez, Bardugo, did you really have to do that?”
Character Development– I’ll give it 10 stars if I could. I mean, can we talk about Kaz Brekker finally battling his demons and trying, trying to be the good guy he truly is? The ending scene. Should I attempt to describe the utter beauty of that scene? No, it was too precious. Spoiling it would just take the magic away. Aside from Kaz, I love how each of the characters grew into accepting who they truly are and grew up right before my eyes. So many painful, necessary truths that they had to confront. So many things that they had to accept about themselves. So much character growth. Ugh, my heart hurts for my precious little gang of hooligans.
Story telling— 5 stars for all the heart attacks it gave me.
Okay, now for some spoilers. If by any chance you haven’t read this book or Six of Crows, I urge you to turn away now.
Let’s talk about Matthias’ death. That one I truly did not expect and caught me unawares. IDK if Leigh wanted to hurt me on purpose but she succeeded. LOL. At first, I thought— this is so senseless- how does this even play into the plot? How is this relevant?? Why did he have to die?? He and Nina deserved so much more than that! I was rooting for them to succeed, against all odds! But then again, Leigh Bardugo writes painfully realistic stories and the more I pondered on it the more it kind of made sense. Matthias was killed by basically a younger version of himself, a druskelle barely six months into training. It kind of says that there’s still much more to be done in Fjerda. In a way, it felt like his story came full circle with his death— it’s like his arc — his slow realization that Grisha were people and weren’t the monsters he thought them to be– was just the tip of the iceberg in changing their world. For some reason, it also felt like a fitting end, even if I loved Nina and Matthias to bits.
But realizing that doesn’t make it any less painful, especially for Nina (and my poor heart). And the irony of her being unable to heal Matthias and unwilling to raise from the dead is just. Ugh. Can you hand me my Kleenexes please? Thanks.
I guess that’s it for now. If you’re into high adventure, sometimes morally gray characters, insane plot-twists and precious ships, I suggest you pick up Crooked Kingdom and its predecessor Six of Crows now. You won’t regret it.
Don’t have a copy yet? Get yours here!