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 badly weakened, 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 the Grisha world.
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for both The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology. The latter will be under spoiler tags.
Oh damn, Leigh Bardugo has done it again! After the greatness that was Six of Crows, and of course the Grisha trilogy, I knew that Crooked Kingdom would have to be just as great, or perhaps even greater. And boy, did it deliver!
We left Six of Crows with the Dregs back in Ketterdam, with Inej in the hands of Jan van Eck who ended up being the bad guy after all. The gang has had to borrow money from Pekka Rollins, probably Kaz’ worst enemy, in order to be able to save Inej. Six of Crows ended with a bang, and that is exactly the way Crooked Kingdom starts. And from that moment, the game is on.
I loved Six of Crows so so much, I honestly named it my favourite book of 2015 (along with Illuminae). So I definitely had high expectations for this sequel, especially because it would also be the final book in the series, and I just loved all the characters so much. Like I said, the book starts off with a bang, and it just doesn’t slow down at all after that. It is literally like a rollercoaster ride, one with at least ten loopings and such.
This series is just so full of great characters, with all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of secrets of their own. I loved some of the new characters that were introduced, and I certainly loved the return of old characters View Spoiler »Zoya, Genya, Tamar! STURMHOND! « Hide Spoiler This book also finally had some Wylan chapters, and that made me even more exciting. I loved his character so much in the previous book, and now we finally got to take a look inside his head. Personally, I think this is how you should do a multiple POV story.
SoC hinted at a couple of ‘ships’ that could possibly happen, and let me tell you – I shipped all of them, which is probably a first for me. I think seeing all the fanart and rereading the book twice has made me more invested in these characters and the ships and I really wanted them all to become canon. But honestly, I also understood that they were kind of at war (with the rest of the city) and that there probably wasn’t much time for romance and cute moments. View Spoiler »But honestly, Nina & Matthias were so cute together and I loved their little moments and I totally thought they would end up getting married and having lots of Ravkan/Fjerdan babies. BUT THEN MATTHIAS HAD TO GO AND DIE. GODDAMNIT. « Hide Spoiler
Of course, Leigh’s writing was superb, but I hadn’t expected anything else. I loved her descriptions of the characters, the events and especially Ketterdam – of which we finally got a map, yay. It reminded me so much of Amsterdam and Utrecht and Haarlem, and basically all those other great Dutch cities with canals and old houses. I wish I could just roam the streets of Ketterdam, eat (stroop)wafels on a rooftop and eat hutspot when it got colder. Leigh’s writing also made me sob like a little baby, a thing only two other books have managed so far. (Allegiant and Deathly Hallows).
So yes, Crooked Kingdom was a book I (and probably the majority of the book lovers) had high expectations about, and for me, they delivered and more. I am already calling this my favourite book of 2016, without a doubt. I will recommend this book to everyone who loves reading, and especially to people who love fantasy. Don’t worry if you haven’t read The Grisha Trilogy yet; though this book may spoil some things for you if you are still planning on reading the books, you can easily read at least Six of Crows before that. But yes, go and read it. Read all of Leigh’s books, please.