Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Release date: 27 September 2016
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★ – 9/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) blurb:

Jesper tapped his fingers restlessly.
“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.  But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re fighting for their lives.

As old enemies and new rivals descend on the city, a war will be waged in the streets  a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the future of magic.

You know, there’s not many sequels that I have read that far surpassed the original book.  Less so when it’s a duology.  However, with Crooked Kingdom I can clearly see why there is that fan base for this story (particularly after how disappointed I was with Six of Crows).

My favourite thing with a series, as I’ve said so many times before, is that emotional manipulation you have when the author kills off one of your favourite characters.  We saw it with Rowling’s Harry Potter series over and over, and I think it’s more realistic that not everyone would make it out alive after a huge battle.  So get prepared my dears, because one of your favourites will not make it out of this alive.  No mourners, no funerals.

I absolutely stand by my rating of Six of Crows.  I found Kaz to be manipulative, arrogant and withholding.  In some respects I found him no better than Tamlin from ACOTAR.  Throughout this book, I could see him try to change and struggle with this (which was lovely and realistic – no one changes on a spur), but in the end I was not convinced that he could go much further than he had.  I could feel him slipping into his old ways – particularly with that epilogue.  Matthias remains my favourite character; however, I also really enjoyed the portrayal of Wylan in this one – he was a little two dimensional in the first one, but he broke my heart about 600 times here.  In fact, all of them faced their demons in their own way, which was bold, and a strong part of this story.  Nina and Inez I also loved and Jesper, wow – still not amazing, but certainly far more redeemable than Kaz.  I will accept that the guy is a complete genius, and his strategic thinking will make him the boss of the Barrel one day.  However, I pity poor Inej’s dreams.

The story is robust and gripping.  I could not find any fault with the writing or the plot twists – I loved them, they were amazing.  I can’t think of anything else to add.  I loved it, everyone should read it.  I think I had three heart attacks and went through two boxes of tissues while reading it.

Bardugo tells a wonderful story with these books, and I am very much looking forward to reading the other novels in the Grisha world.

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