Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo




When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

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 fighting for 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 Ketterdam to 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.

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Number of Pages: 546
Published: Sept. 20th, 2016

Author’s Website  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Book Depository

I’ve been putting off writing this review for awhile because I needed time to gather my thoughts in regards to this absolutely stunning novel. If you read my review for Six of Crows, then you’d know that I absolutely loved that book. With that being said, I’ll admit that I was slightly worried that this book wouldn’t compare to the amazing-ness of Six of Crows. Thankfully, my worries melted away fully after reading a few pages of this novel and soon, I was quickly enveloped within Crooked Kingdom completely.

The rest of this review contains spoilers!

The plot of this book was just as epic as the plot of Six of Crows, and I really loved how the action within the story started almost immediately. After the end of SOC, I was honestly freaking out because Inej was kidnapped and that’s obviously not okay. I loved watching as Kaz and his crew (as I refer to them) came up with a plan to get Inej back and I was so nervous and anxious and GAH, this part of the plot really had me on the edge of my seat.

Once Inej was rescued, I was really curious to see where the plot would continue from there and, as usual, Leigh Bardugo kept the story going with even more exciting and riveting twists and turns. I could go on and on about the different plot points that I absolutely adored within this novel but then this review would just go on forever so I’ll sum it all up by saying this: there was never a boring page within this book, the plot twists were epic, every piece of this story’s puzzle came together precisely, and I absolutely loved this novel.

The cameos by the characters from Shadow and Bone made me squeal out loud (I’m not even kidding, I actually squealed out loud). I loved seeing Nikolai again and GAH, I hope that he’s the main character in a future Grisha-related series because I love his character so much.

The romance between Jesper and Wylan developed so nicely and I loved it so much. I ship them. I ship them. I SHIP THEM. The romance between Kaz and Inej developed as well, but in such a different and unique way. Both Kaz and Inej have pasts that affected them tremendously and the way that the author was able to show them struggling in such a realistic and raw way was so brilliant. I loved how they didn’t completely heal each other; instead, they help and balance each other out, but they aren’t fully recovered from the trauma of their pasts at the end of the novel.

Kaz Brekker. Can we please talk about him? Because I love him so much. I loved the character development that happened throughout the story and, by the end of the novel, I was left wanting so much more. I want to know what happens after this story and I want to know what’s next for him and Inej. GAH. The personal and intense romantic moments between him and Inej were so beautifully written and I just need more of them.

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Inej is one of my all-time favorite female characters within literature. She’s so complex and there are so many components that make up her character. I love how she’s flawed and she does struggle, but she’s also brave and inspiring.

“Her heart was a river that carried her to the sea.”

Jesper was so brilliant in this novel. I loved the introduction of his father’s character (might I just say, his father was a brilliant character, as well) and I really loved seeing them interact together. I think that every character in this novel dealt with some sort of struggle and I loved seeing Jesper work through his own personal struggles.

“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.”

I loved Wylan in this novel, especially because he had to deal with not looking like himself for about half of it (that was a very interesting turn of events to say the least). I loved his character growth and his relationship with Jesper is everything.

“Until this moment, Wylan hadn’t quite understood how much they meant to him. His father would have sneered at these thugs and thieves, a disgraced soldier, a gambler who couldn’t keep out of the red. But they were his first friends, his only friends, and Wylan knew that even if he’d had his pick of a thousand companions, these would have been the people he chose.”

Nina, like Inej, is such a strong and inspirational female character. I really enjoyed seeing her and Matthias as a couple without all of the tension that was present within the last novel and I think that their relationship growth was written so well. I love Nina’s character so much and she’s definitely one of my favorite characters in this duology.

“They were twin souls, soldiers destined to fight for different sides, to find each other and lose each other too quickly. She would not keep him here. Not like this.”

Matthias. I just. No. I was not expecting for him to die and when it happened there were many, many tears. The scene that featured his death is just another example of the powerfulness that comes from Leigh Bardugo’s writing; I felt as if I was sitting right there next to Nina. I felt as if I was in the scene itself and it was so tragic yet so beautiful.

“I am grateful you’re alive,” he said.“I am grateful that you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder.
“You’re better that waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips.
“Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

I’m not even kidding; every single review that I’ve written about a Leigh Bardugo book contains me fangirling over Leigh’s amazing writing style. I love the intricate descriptions and amazing world building within this duology and I think that Leigh’s writing gets better with every book that she writes.

Overall, this was an epic and amazing ending to a brilliant duology. I have grown so attached to each of these characters and I’m desperately hoping that they make cameos in any future books set in the Grisha world. I was so worried that my hopes were set too high for Crooked Kingdom, but honestly, my expectations were met and exceeded. From the Shadow and Bone trilogy to this duology, I have completely and utterly fallen in love with Leigh Bardugo’s books.

“Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.”

5 Stars

So, have you read Crooked Kingdom? What did you think about it? Comment below!



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