“After all their mad escapes and close calls, he’d started to believe the six of them were somehow charmed, that his guns, Kaz’s brains, Nina’s wit, Inej’s talent, and Wylan’s ingenuity, and Matthias’ strength had made them somehow untouchable.”- Jesper, Crooked Kingdom
Synopsis via Goodreads: 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.
It’s been four days since I finished Crooked Kingdom and I am still emotional over the ending. Every time I look at my copy on my shelf, I feel tears start to form and I have to look away. YES, IT’S THAT DRAMATIC! I’ve never BEEN SO GUTTED IN MY LIFE after finishing a book and I’m so upset that this is only a duology because I’m sure the fandom could benefit from a few more installments. Fair warning, this review will most likely turn into a mess with my thoughts and feelings splattered all over the place. Also, I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. No major plot twists and schemes will be revealed.
Crooked Kingdom picks up right where Six of Crows left off, with Kaz Brekkar and his crew plotting Inej’s rescue and Van Eck’s downfall. Right from the start, the tension is high as there is so much to lose, but so much more to gain and this tension pretty much builds throughout this story until the big finale. THERE WAS NO DAMN CHILL IN THIS BOOK! NONE WHATSOEVER, I COULD NOT BREATHE! Bardugo does not hold our hand and ease us into this sequel. She kind of just throws us into this already high intensity situation and we just have to pray to the Saints that both the characters and us readers make it out in one piece. The writing in this book is so beautifully epic and flawless that I had a hard time putting it down. There was never a dull moment and what I loved most about this book, and about this duology in general, is the way Bardugo manages to seamlessly insert character flashbacks into the present plot which helps us to understand why our characters are the way they are and why they choose to do what they do. Like with the previous installment, this book is told from multiple POVs and this time we also get Wylan’s POV, which I really appreciated because I got a better understanding of who he was and grew to love him even more. Like I said before, the tension in this book does not let up and I had a real hard time predicting our character’s next moves and how things were going to end for The Dregs. There was nothing that could’ve prepared me for that ending. NOTHING AT ALL.
I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FOR THE FRIENDSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. THE DREGS ARE FRIENDSHIP GOALS. LET ME BE A PART OF THIS CREW! I felt like with everything that was going on in this book, the friendships in this book were put to the test. Kaz’s relationship with the other characters was definitely tested because in Six of Crows no one really gave a second thought when Kaz demanded something, but in Crooked Kingdom, we do see a bit of a push back as a few characters question Kaz’s motives and whether or not his plan will actually work. Despite the minor conflicts between characters, I also felt like these six became a lot closer by the end of this book. Matthias and Wylan were the outsiders in Six of Crows who were brought into the fold and earned the trust of our other four characters by the end of Crooked Kingdom. I love the banter and the food talk and I was really hoping that there would be a grand feast with waffles, cakes, cookies and more at the end of this book. I’m STILL waiting for this to happen.
Now for the characters. I LOVE ALL THESE CHARACTERS, SOME MORE THAN OTHERS, BUT I CANNOT DENY THAT THEY ARE ALL EQUALLY AMAZING! I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with Kaz mainly because he does do something that make me want to slap him, but at the same time, I understand why he does them. He is not easy to love and despite all this struggles, I think he’s found this true family with The Dregs, even if he is not willing to admit it just yet. Inej, my precious little Wraith, I grew to love and appreciate her character so much more in this book. She is such a faithful and loyal friend and she also never gave up hope of reuniting with her family. She’s been through hell and back, but she deserved all the happiness the world has to offer. Nina was my favorite character in Six of Crows and that remains the same for Crooked Kingdom. I loved seeing her and Matthias become closer and seeing Matthias become more acceptable of the Grisha people. Jesper is A PRECIOUS CHILD who should be protected AT ALL COST! Jesper probably went through the biggest character growth in Crooked Kingdom and I really liked the fact that we brought his father into this story and we got to see there relationship go from fractured pieces to something whole. Jesper doubts himself a lot and doesn’t believe he’s worth much, but throughout this book, he gains more confidence and realizes that he does have something to offer and that he is loved. And last, but not least, we have Wylan. I said he was a wild card before and I’m saying it again because he just continues to surprise me. He too had a great amount of character growth and he finally saw his father for the piece of shit that he was. He’s spent his whole life being put down by those closest to him, but he’s had enough and eventually pushes back and takes what he rightfully deserves. I’m so proud to see how far he’s come!
As for the ships, I just have a few things to say. ALL THE SHIPS SET SAIL IN THIS BOOK! Wylan and Jesper were the only ship that had yet to sail in Six of Crows so I was very happy to see these two finally get together. I really liked how Kaz and Inej’s relationship played out. It felt realistic and considering all they’ve been through, how they left things felt just right. Also, Kaz does the most sweetest thing ever Inej in this book, I simply could not handle it. As for my favorite ship, Nina and Matthias, I’ll just say I was happy and then I was devastated.
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was pretty much perfect, except for one detail, one plot twist that I would sell my soul to change because my fave did not deserve that. Crooked Kingdom has earned the spot of MY FAVORITE FANTASY NOVEL OF 2016. SIX OF CROWS HAS ALSO DETHRONED THE WRATH AND THE DAWN AS MY FAVORITE YA FANTASY SERIES AND HAS TAKEN ITS PLACE! This is such a big deal because I never thought I could love any fantasy series more than I loved TWATD, but I just love these characters and this story so much and I hate the fact that this is goodbye. Now, excuse me while I curl up and die.