November 21, 2016 by Betty
Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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 magic in the Grisha world.
I’m warning you now, that there will be spoilers included. I haave waited two months to read and review this book so I think that is suficient time for those who want to read it to have gotten to it already. Otherwise, just stop reading this review right now.
Guys… THIS. BOOK.
I’m dead. I hate that it was over so quick. I mean, yeah, we all hate reading a book and then having to wait a year or so to get the next one and I already knew it would be a duology, but it finished too fast. Despite that, this book was near perfect in my opinion. Leigh really delivered an exciting, engaging, and emotional read.
The characters for one were spot on. We learn about each person through the chapters written from their point of view. We learn more about how they think, what their fears are and how they perceive one another. Crooked Kingdom was full of revelations on the each characters past and background. There is so much more character development. I loved seeing them interact more and also how they stood up for the group anytime they were captured and in a stressful situation. We also watched as they become a closely knit group where each person is crucial to the group in some way. They have all learned to accept one another and to work and fit together in their motley crew of misfits. I could rave on about each one because CK really just raised the level of love I have for each of the Dregs to unsurpassed levels. Not to mention that there was actual development on Kaz and Inej’s relationship, although not nearly as much as I would have like.
Even that was very realistic though, because Kaz basically suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and it is not something he can get over miraculously. He has to make a very conscious effort just to touch anyone skin to skin without breaking out in a sweat and feeling nauseous or passing out. I found Inej to be extremely understand, especially since she does not know what Kaz went through to make him that way. She doesn’t push for more physical contact or explanations although she gently asks him,
“What happened to you, Kaz? What happen to your brother?”
“it doesn’t matter.”
“Tell me. Please.”
He doesn’t though and she lets it go. She understands that whatever he went through was traumatic and not something he is ready to speak about even years later. She accepts it. I love Inej and her Suli ways and proverbs and how she is so empathetic and discerning with everyone she meets. Even so, when she was captured by Jan Van Eck and he was about to shatter her legs with a mallet she screamed out a epiphany that came to her in that moment, “He’ll never trade if you break me! I’ll be of no use to him anymore!”
That broke my heart because she was sure of it. As much as Kaz “cared” for her, he was only interested in his investments as long as they were of use. If she could no longer even walk, no long The Wraith, he would set her aside and never look back. And she was right.
Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would 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.
Kaz redeemed himself. Only in those really difficult situations, and only with Inej that he admits that we cares for her. It’s nigh impossible for him to admit to himself even, because he has conditioned himself to be ruthless and not care about anyone. So we do see a LOT of Kaz being super ruthless and harsh and cruel in his usual fashion.
The plot and story line were wonderfully complex and intricately woven into a mix of exultation and agitation. Nothing is easy for Kaz and the gang. One minute I was internally squealing in their favor and their brilliantly thought out plan and then next I was in despair as things go horrible wrong and complications arise. Nothing is sacred. I was one hundred percent in agreement with this quote on page 510. “We were all supposed to make it,” said Wylan softly.
When I read the scene that plays out on pages 494 to 496 I was silently crying and trying not to sob. I literally did not expect anyone to die. Matthias and Nina were barely acknowledging their romance with their open displays of cuddling and kissing and then he is just gone. He dies right in Nina’s arms. It hurts to think about. I guess in a way the book would be too happy ending and not quite realistic if all of the gang made it out safe and alive. At the same time though, as much as it hurt I felt that Matthias was the one viewed to be dispensable. If any other person in the crew had died, the plan would have been nearly impossible to pull off.
Granted Wylan and Kaz both let themselves a “self-imposed” beating for dramatic effect but nothing that could not be fixed. I guess I assumed that Leigh in all her genius ingenuity would find a way for them to change the game, to beat the odds.
The way everything played out was actually satisfying (except for Matthias of course) and entirely believable due to each character’s set of skills. The ending left me wanting more. Mostly, this was due to the bittersweet quality of the ending and the fact that there were quite a few things I would have liked to see happen and some lose ends tied up. Despite that, things were sufficiently explained and hinted at to let us have a pretty good idea of how the immediate future would play out for Kaz and Inej and Wylan and Jesper. Nina’s plans for the future is a little unsure as is Kuwei’s. You never know though. Even though it is a duology we have the small hope that it may continue in the future. Here is a comment Leigh herself wrote in response to someone’s question on Goodreads.