Review: Crooked Kingdom

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

I wasn’t able to immerse myself in this as much as I would have liked. I was able to get some good binge reading sessions in over the weekend though and that was very enjoyable.

While I think Six of Crows will still be my favorite of these two, this one is definitely going up there as one of my favorite reads of the year. All of the elements that made the first book so amazing are still there: the fantastic characters – whose backstories are still being revealed to us in perfectly placed flashbacks; action, action, and more action; three amazing ships; and the subterfuge of Kaz’s devious mind that I was a little better at discovering this time around but still plenty surprised.

I think one of my favorite elements of these books is that characters say the terrible things that they are going to do to others, and we believe it immediately, then to see they were bluffing and we say to ourselves “of course, because they aren’t really that bad.” Bardugo has created characters that all have dark sides, but we still love them because we believe they are justified in their actions –  if we saw these people on trial I don’t think we would be so forgiving.

This finale has even more twists and turns and dead ends than the first book. I was initially wondering when things were going to get interesting, and then WHAM I played right into Kaz’s plan just like the ‘baddies’ of the book.

I loved seeing all of our characters in their new relationships with one another. The gang is finally a gang. They all care for each other, they look out for one another, and they put their lives at stake for their comrades. This new geling of the gang made it all the harder to see us have to part with one of them towards the end, but I understand why it was done.

There were no happy ending for this gang, but that wouldn’t have fit them would it? They all achieve the personal goals they needed to though. All of them are still working on things. Kaz and Inej are finding out how to let go of the ghosts of their pasts and form an empire of their own. Jesper is facing his gambling problem and his personal fears about his Grisha gifts. Wylan is taking on a job he never thought he’d have, and casting off the shadow of shame his father saddled him with. Nina and Matthias are working towards their goal of creating a better, more tolerable, world.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect duo of books.

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