Helloooo everyone, hope y’all are having a wonderful Thurday! I’m sorry I’ve been extremely inactive for this past month because of all the schoolwork I have to do! I hope you guys understand that I try to blog as frequently as I can. Anyways, I finally got to finish this book review! Enjoy!
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
My Rating: 10/10
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.
“When fear arrives, something is about to happen.”
I will forever be traumatized after reading this book! If anyone needs me right now, I’ll be preoccupied with my unsorted, messed up feelings, curled up in a ball, sobbing in a dark corner. I’m planning on writing a very long and emotional letter to Leigh Bardugo to blame/thank her for this devastatingly wonderful piece of literature I just read (If I ever gather enough courage to do that thouhh)! Crooked Kingdom is hands down one of my most favourite books of this year and that’s saying something because I’ve read too many great things this year! This book was dark and foreboding, it’s utterly intense and overwhelming from every angle. The words and descriptions are written in such a beautifully haunting way, you can’t help but admire the magic woven between the pages and be devastated when there are no more pages! I was out of breath all the time, terrified of everything but still holding onto the little pieces of hope that I have because I trusted these characters and believed that they could always achieve the impossible. The plot kept on twisting and turning, the stakes kept getting higher and higher and my nails kept getting shorter and shorter! Leigh Bardugo manages to create problems that seem impossible to solve while creating new and even more terrible problems for all the characters.
Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are books you’d want to read when you need to abandon your own life and be transported to a whole new world, where there’s no rest until you’re done. There’s no question about anyone reading this duology and not becoming obsessed so I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s prepared to embark on a really dark life-changing journey accompanied by one of the best characters fiction can create!
“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers, to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”
Kaz Brekker, that devious mastermind, stole every piece of my heart! Whenever Kaz’s POV would come up my heart would skip a beat and I’d savour every single sentence coming from his brilliant mind. I really wanted to know everything Kaz thought about, he’s so unreadable and I couldn’t predict what was going through his mind. That made him even more attractive and wonderful as a character. Kaz also had an abundance of philosophical deep quotations and thoughts that I wish I could remember forever!
Kaz was more vulnerable in Crooked Kingdom and there were some microscopic cracks in his armour. Some people got into his impenetrable heart whether he liked it or not. He’s still the cold calculating deceiving antihero we all love, he still manages to trick everyone like crazy, but he also freaks out over having waves upon waves of unprocessed emotions that he can’t deal with! When he was struggling between achieving his own revenge and keeping the people he cares about safe I just sympathised with my cute little marshmallow even more! The fact that he had made Inej believe she was an investment and that he wouldn’t come for her if she was broken made me loathe Kaz for a while because he knew that that wasn’t true but he never acted any differently.
“I wasn’t made to be a hero, Wraith.”
There was less of Kaz’s backstory since we got most of that in Six of Crows however, there was more of Kaz scheming and planning and generally being a genius! It’s astounding how Leigh manages to write about the antihero in all the terrible truths but still make Kaz a very very lovable character among readers! Kaz never did anything for the sake of goodness, he did whatever he had to do, including being cruel to his friends, to get what he wanted. He never wanted to help the Ravkans escape, but he had to do it for his friends to cooperate. Kaz Brekker might have not been the man Ketterdam wanted, but he was the man Ketterdam needed!
“But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something if it anyway.”
Thank goodness for the wonderful amazing talented Inej! Without her, Kaz would’ve been too cold for me to like. Inej’s backstory was more described in this book including how she learned to walk a tight rope and what happened at the Menagerie. Her past with her family was bittersweet as it should be, while the things she experienced at the hands of the horrid creature, Tante Heleen, were much worse than I could possibly imagine! I was aghast by what poor 14 and 15-year-old Inej had to do! I was filled with so much remorse and loath towards the people like Tante Heleen who would allow such unspeakable traumatizing things to happen to other girls!! Once I read how Inej was forced to please those (insert most filthy swear word you can think of) men and how she cried during her first time and how she then learned to isolate herself from her body so she wouldn’t feel what was being done to it, all that and more heart-wrenching details fuelled my fury beyond imagining! Inej was stolen from her family then sold and bargained for as a slave, men have RAPED her, for heaven’s sake! But she’s survived all of that and remained strong and true to herself, and if that doesn’t show how incredibly brave she is as a character, I don’t know what would! The point is Inej is a great role model that symbolizes female strength in both body and mind and I applaud Leigh Bardugo for creating and mastering such a complex 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 togetherknives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
I think my favourite parts of the book were the Inej and Kaz scenes. When they worked together and refused to leave each other’s sides. They’ve had a very tough time, not knowing what to say or do around each other. Their relationship was purely emotional, they were acting on feelings they felt for each other, but their scenes were still so intense and packed with feelings without the need for sex. I found that very important because I believe that relationships and love shouldn’t be centred and focused on sex and it seems that everyone always forgets that, so by far Kanej is one of my most favourite OTPs even though they only got to hand holding.
“She was the queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.”
Ninathe delicate flowerwas still her charming cheery self but after jurda parem she has lost her appetite, she can’t use her powers properly anymore, and she can’t stop herself from craving for the drug. She still manages to flirt with everything but she seemed more reluctant and subdued. I enjoyed her drama with the stubborn Matthias and her easy friendship with Inej. She remained true to her country and to herself, by defying Kaz and forcing him to help the Grisha. Her new powers over the dead were severely cool, she struggled to accept the reality of her new powers but when she finally embraced them, she was majestic! It’s the end of the story but I still feel like I know nothing about Nina’s past, she had the least back stories sadly and I wanted know more! I also hoped to know more about what Nina plans to do in Ravka and Fjerda, alas it will remain a mystery.
During most of the book, I’d just make fun of Matthias because he was just so stupid at times! Have you seen Matthias trying to flirt? It’s ridiculous because he ends up upsetting Nina with his Fjerdan ways. He was my least favourite of the six but I still got very emotional reading about how he met his wolf and how they became companions, it was very unexpectedly sweet! But since Matthias was naïve and believed in the goodness of his people, he ended up dead! The saddest part was his last words and how Nina reacted to it! I was reading about the others reactions to his death in school so I had to rush to the toilet so I can cryyyy! I will never understand why he had to die!
“You’re weak because you’re afraid of people, seeing your weakness. You’re letting shame decide who you are. We can endure all kinds of pain. It’s shame that eats men whole.”
Jesper was fine until he learned that his father was coming to check up on him with his university life-which he ditched. When his father arrived there was an avalanche of childhood memories coming from Jesper, there was his life with his mother always teasing and having fun and there was his work in the jurda fields. All that was sweet but then I read how Jesper’s dad was always scared for his wife and son being haunted down for their powers, and then after Jesper’s mom died using her powers, Jesper’s dad began encouraging his son to smother his powers and hide them from everyone, so there was a lot of unresolved issues and tension between the two. Jesper’s dad’s presence reminded me of how all of them were just a bunch of teenagers who had no one fighting for them, besides them! I think that Jesper improved and learned more about himself by the end of the book!
Wylan-my little sushiroll-grew much more confident in this book, he accepted that more people knew about his reading problems and he could finally be himself with this odd group of people. I laughed so much when Wylan walked in on Jesper and Kuwei kissing and was so shocked! I loved seeing Wylan and Jesper help each other, like when Wylan learned that his mother was alive and that his ‘dad’ had lied to him for all these years and how Jesper comforted him and even stole a painting for him to keep, and how Wylan encouraged Jesper to embrace his Grisha powers and not be ashamed of them by admitting to people that he can’t read. The point is, I love Wylan and Jesper together so so much and I’m really glad they got to humiliate that pathetic excuse of a father in front of everyone!
There was so much happening in these 536 pages I was always worried about one character or another. The plan was to rescue Inej and get all the money they were promised and the way Kaz plans for things and they all happen in a chain reaction so I never understand how that’s going to help until the very end! Then they rescued Inej but managed to anger Van Eck so much that he’s willing to work with Pekka who then raises the stakes for all the characters with the stadwatch and Dunyasha and angry normal people going after my babies. There were so many players in the game and new obstacles kept appearing out of nowhere like the flying metal Shu people, who were haunting the Grisha for experimentation, so after that I just couldn’t fathom how much they had to watch out for and my brain couldn’t keep up with everyone. The book was extremely fast-paced which I always love and end up finishing even more quickly than usual.
The only thing I have against Crooked Kingdom is the ending! It felt unfinished and I didn’t like the book ending from Pekka Rollins’ POV! He’s not even one of the main characters! He has no right to ruin my book and curse me with his worthless thoughts. I just don’t understand why Leigh chose him to end the book, he didn’t really give any information I desperately needed and the ending didn’t satisfy me in the least! I would’ve much preferred the chapter before, the one with Inej realizing that miracles do happen and that she’s going to meet her family would’ve been a more satisfying life-fulfilling ending that would make me look back at this book and smile!
Overall, this book was absolutely fantastic, I must say that it changed me, and I can never look at life the same way anymore! The characters that I fell in love with will always stay in my heart although I’m devastated to see my characters leave me again.
Hope you guys enjoyed my review! PLEASE let me know what you guys thought of this book! I’m desperate to talk about it with anyone who’s read it!
Have a wonderful bookish day!