Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Paperback: 536 pages
Published: 27th September 2016 by Orion Children’s Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from 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.
Where to start?
Well, my heart is in shreds.
Anyway, I should probably get on with the review.
Firstly, the characters:
Kaz is still ruling the back streets of Ketterdam and is more lethal than ever. His backstory is explored a little bit more in this book and he is still a cunning guy. Some of his actions are just straight up vicious, but it’s good to read a character who’s always 2 steps ahead.
Inej is still a murderous queen and I love her to pieces. I also adore the friendship between her and Nina, because it is so rare to get a platonic female friendship in books like this. (Her friendship with Jesper is precious too, oh dear Lord.) I like her character development and how she grows as a fighter from the middle to the end of the book – it’s fascinating.
Nina actually became one of my favourite characters in this particular book. Her fight against the jurda parem is long and drawn out, but it makes it that much more realistic. Her flirty nature made me grin more than a few times as did her and Matthias with their constant bantering.
Matthias developed SO MUCH. He’s still not quite as bad as the others, but his opinions toward all of the others and their underhand methods go from resignation to mild acceptance, which is something. I’m glad he learnt to accept his last and his inner demons.
Jesper continued to crack me up throughout the whole book. Out of all the characters, he was probably still my favourite. I loved his relationship with his father and the insights we got into his past too. He finally used his powers again, to do something that should have been impossible, but don’t they all.
Wylan. Oh, Wylan. My other favourite. (Okay, I give in – they’re all my favourites.) This guy really came into his own in this book. His backstory was explained more, we got some answers that we definitely weren’t expecting, but he developed into someone much stronger than I had ever expected.
The relationships between all of them developed further and they just all fitted so well. Kaz and Inej became closer. Nina and Matthias actually kissed, as did Jesper and Wylan.
I’m still chuckling over this little gem from Wylan by the way:
Kuwei turned to Jesper. “You should visit me in Ravka. We could learn to use our powers together.”
“How about I push you in the canal and we see if you know how to swim?” Wylan said with a very passable imitation of Kaz’s glare.
Onto the plot itself.
There were so many twists and turns in this book. When I thought I’d sussed it all out, something else cropped up. Kaz’s schemes got the better of me and in the end I gave up trying and just enjoyed the surprises.
In particular, this part:
But he was still surprised when he heard the shot.
I thought it was a bluff.
In short: Everybody is double-crossed and it’s brilliant.
I’ve got to say, I still haven’t quite got my head around all of the nationalities, but I think I’m getting there. Reading the other books might help with that to be honest, so they’ll probably go on the list.
In case you hadn’t already guessed, yes there is a death.
No, I’m not going to say who it was.
But I did cry.
In all it was a very satisfying read and I would recommend both books wholeheartedly to anyone.