REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
An amazing 5 stars
Since I have not mastered the art of writing a review for a second book without possibly spoiling things for the first instalment: beware, possible spoilers for Six of Crows (see my SoC review here).
To be fair, I also think reading the blurb of the next novel (or even knowing there is one) can spoil some things. But still. I would hate for you to lose some of the surprise because of something I wrote.
This book broke my heart. It is beautiful. There are so many things I love about this. Also my emotions and thoughts will be all over the place, sorry. I have the feeling I will forever come back to edit and add to this review.
I loved this story so much. It was even better than SoC. The character development was absolutely incredible, how the crew hung together and almost fell apart only to come back stronger (repeatedly). That every single one of them had such an incredible story and background and development that only tied the story even more together was something I've never seen done before. The friendships were wonderful, there were so many unique relationships. Our diverse crew was all there and better than ever. Also more complex. There were even more backstories, more explanations, more questions, more hurt, love and everything in between.
I loved how this book dealt with real questions and problems. Drugs, identity, gambling, addiction, traumas, slavery ... The characters were real, they struggled, they tried. Even more than in the first book, hardness was woven in the pages. They ain't no saints, but they also never pretend to be. They're just a bunch of kids trying to hold on to themselves an each other.
There was so much feeling in this book. The good, the bad, the ugly, it was here without filter.
Also, in addition to the friendships, the romance was amazing. The slow builds, the dynamics, everything.
The suspense is back, and even greater than before. The stakes have been upped, there is more surprise, more betrayal, more danger. The shfiting point of view made this book so much better. You could read about a plan carried out from two sides of the story, only to later figure out they had you fooled again and it was not the same plan.
It's confusing, and I'm really impressed Bardugo could keep up with all her plotlines without getting tangled up in them. It's really crazy. I had more "wait, what?" moments than I could count and no matter how hard I tried to figure it out, Brecker, the Bastard of the Barrel, was always two steps ahead of me. It was enthralling and captivating.
Beware, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I read it in practically one sitting and gave up my sleep for it. I hope you find the time to read it in one sitting and be completely engrossed in it.
Brecker, his Wraith queen, his rotten little court of thugs. Jesper's guns, Kaz's brains, Nina's wit, Inej's talent, Wylan's ingenuity, and Matthias' strength. It is not often you meet such a well-made, diverse, fleshed out and straight up wonderful bunch of characters. And they've found a place in my heart. This book, the whole story, it will stay with me for a long time.
(And again, something needs to be said about the cover and the book itself. Gorgeous, and worthy of its story. Also some quotes are incredible. Like, I have the need to do a whole page just about those, or letter them all, or both.)
As you might've guessed, I have a lot of emotions about this book. If that isn't a testament for how good it is, I don't know what is. I hope you read it, I hope it touches you, I hope you like it.
I am so glad this book exists, that so many people are getting represented in such a well-crafted story.
I might still make a blog post about all my spoiler filled thoughts about this book, because this book is just great and I want to talk about it more and discuss it with everyone. Please read it.
One more thing about Leigh Bardugo's amazingness. I think it's wonderful she spoke up about human trafficking in her acknowledgements, that she took the opportunity to reach out to her following and use that for a good cause. Thank you