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.
Crooked Kingdom is the stunning conclusion to the Six of Crows duology. It is one of those books that is so close to perfection that you desperately don’t want it to end because you are so attached to the characters but also know that it ended with the perfect amount of conclusion and speculation. The story picks up immediately where it leaves off with Inej captured by Van Eck. The crew, now hunted by most the city, retreats to an island where they hide out and plan a new scheme to take down Van Eck.
One of the first things I noticed about this book was the welcome addition of Wylan chapters! I grew very attached to Wylan in Six of Crows so seeing his point of view was a great addition. The story is told in the same format with the alternating points of view. Leigh Bardugo expertly weaves in the alternating points of view to help us simultaneously learn more backstory for each character and move the plot forward in a seamless fashion.
In terms of the plot, there isn’t much I can say without giving anything away! The crew creates a plan to rescue Inej and continue to scheme against Van Eck and Pekka Rollins. It is more of the brilliant scheming from our favorite anti-heroes. While the book is certainly action-packed, it is the character development that makes this story special. All of the characters are far from perfect, and they don’t try to be. At times they do despicable, immoral things and yet I am cheering for them the entire way.
For all of you shippers, I wanted ALL of my ships to happen. All I will say is, I think you will be pleased. I think Bardugo will definitely satisfy readers with her ships, but they all stayed true to character which I appreciated more than anything else.
Kaz continues to lead the dregs in his ruthless manner, although now we have a little more sympathy for Kaz because we know about his past. His relationship with Inej definitely develops in this installment, but it stays realistic and true to Kaz’s character.
” ‘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.’ “
Inej is definitely one of my favorites in this duology. We learn some heartbreaking things about her past, but it really just highlights what a strong character she is. We also get to see some of her more impressive acrobatic skills in action.
Nina has survived her encounter with parem but her Grisha abilities don’t seem to be the same. She struggles with her addiction and changed abilities as she still helps the crew. Matthias is also very supportive of her and they have some lovely moments! Despite her struggles, Nina is the same fierce Grisha Heartrender we know and love. She’s sarcastic, witty and would do anything for her friends.
Matthias continues to struggle with his conflicting view of what is right and wrong but we do see a significant shift in his attitude. When previously he was quick to judge the Grisha, he now stops and really works through his previous beliefs. Not all Grisha are bad. He also dotes on Nina and I loved their dialogue. Matthias is much stiffer and more ‘proper’ than Nina so I loved watching her try to loosen him up. Of course, at times he still thinks he is in league with a bunch of criminals and never fails to remind us, although in this book he expresses his exasperation with more affection.
“Matthias rolled his eyes heavenward. These lunatics all needed a solid six months in boot camp and possibly a sound beating”
Jesper is still our favorite sharpshooter with a serious gambling problem. Bardugo sheds more light on Jesper’s character in Crooked Kingdom and I loved the backstory she gave regarding his parents. It explained a lot more about his behavior and why he does not seem proud of the fact that he is Grisha. He also becomes closer with Wylan and oh my goodness are they adorable! I love how Jesper constantly tries to fluster Wylan. Even though they are often in life or death situations throughout this book, they always seem to have funny moments.
“People point guns at each other all the time in Ketterdam. It’s basically a handshake.”
Wylan. Wy! I am so happy we finally saw Wylan’s point of view in this book. Wylan grows so much as a character. With his father, he is ashamed of what he considers to be faults. With the dregs, he is valued for what he does well and he finally feels welcomed. And of course him and Jesper are the best.
While the book certainly had non-stop action, the plot is so character driven and their relationships, interactions and backstories make them all so special and unique. I was sad to see this duology end, but I am happy it ended where it did. We got our adventure. We read as our crew fought, stole and deceived and we cheered them along the entire way. This is a duology I will always think fondly of and it only gets the highest praise from me.
“No mourners. No funerals.”