The Friday 56: Crooked Kingdom

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Your friends are not coming…It is time to think of your own survival. You can be home with your family by summer’s end. Van Eck can help you if you let him.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is my most anticipated read this year. I loved Six of Crows and this sequel lived up to all my expectations. If you enjoy fantasy and grey characters, this duology is a must read. You can read my full review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

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 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.a bird?”

Giveaway Alert: If you haven’t entered my giveaway (US only) for an ARC of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards in celebration of Halloween, you can do so here. Ends today (the 14th)!

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdom-by-leigh-bardugo

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, #2
Pages: 546
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: September 27th 2016 

      “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.

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“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”

Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom, the stunning conclusion to her Six of Crows duology, packs quite the punch. At the end of Six of Crows, one member of the crew was taken hostage and Kaz found himself the mark in a game of duplicity. Determined to take back what rightfully belongs to him and his team, Kaz once again comes up with an impossible plan to fool the world and finally exact revenge on the man who took everything from him years ago. With some of the best actions scenes I’ve read Crooked Kingdom is the perfect follow-up to Six of Crows and in many ways might even be better.

The cast of this duology continues to be one of my favorite ensemble of characters. They’re fully-realized, complex, and I love that Bardugo always gives us something new to learn about them. It isn’t just their current character arcs that make them compelling, but the backstories that helped shape them. Every character adds something important to the team and I loved what they had in common and what set them apart from each other. Jesper brings playful humor (not to mention he’s an incorrigible flirt) to the narrative, but he struggles to make up for his past mistakes, wondering if he’ll ever be the kind of son his father believes him to be. Wylan has come such a long way from the wide-eyed, rich kid running away from his father. His skills at making explosives are essential to the crews’ plans and while Wylan harbors a lot of hurt from his father’s rejection, he’s found a place among this band of criminals, which is both unexpected and wonderful.

I may consider Mattias to be the one with the most character development. Hailing from a people who are raised to hate Grisha, Mattias was taught that that these abilities were entirely unnatural. His relationship with Nina has complicated his worldview and his loyalty to her has opened up a new outlook on life. His views of Grisha continue to be challenged in this second book, giving hope to those like Nina, who believe that one day a peace can be reached between nations. Nina’s self-sacrificing act in the previous novel has a profound effect on who she is in this sequel. As she fights to control her hunger for more jurda parem, she learns that the experience has altered her irrevocably.

Inej has seen darkness, has suffered at the hands of some of the most amoral people in Ketterdam. While the corruption has eaten away at many, Inej remains hopeful and good. She’s spent years in servitude and longs to finally be free, to take control of her own life and prevent others from falling victim to the same fate. Kaz has spent years building walls around himself, both as a means of survival and a reaction to the horrors he experienced as a child. Kaz will never be sentimental, he’s ruthless and unapologetic, but there are those rare moments that give us a glimpse of the person underneath. His life has been devoted to one thing, to avenge his brother and while he wants everyone to believe he’s heartless, it is not what Kaz says but what he does for others that defines him.

Bardugo excels at writing an entertaining, edge-of-your-seat sequel that will leave you breathless and wishing this series would go on forever.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

Kernels of Nonsense: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly discussion feature where I rant and rave about various book and blogging related topics. This week I want to discuss whether authors writing various series within the same universe is a good or bad thing.

Just this past week Cassandra Clare’s newest novel Lady Midnight was released. I didn’t know too much about it, so I hopped on over to read the synopsis on Goodreads because everyone on Twitter was excited about it. I wasn’t surprised to learn that this new series is a sequel to her immensely popular Mortal Instruments series.

I read the first three books in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series a few years back and overall, I really enjoyed them. When Clockwork Angel, the first in her Infernal Devices series, was published, I was really excited to read it. I ended up feeling more and more underwhelmed as the series went on for various reasons. While this new series was being released, Clare was also working on three more books for her Mortal Instruments series. I never bothered to pick them up because I felt City of Glass was a satisfying conclusion and truth be told, my enthusiasm for the series had begun to dwindle.

Since finishing her Infernel Devices series, I haven’t picked up another Cassandra Clare book. This has less to do with whether I feel that the kind of books she writes no longer fit the type I’m looking for and more to do with the fact that every one of her books seem to take place within the Shadowhunter universe. I’ve grown rather tired of seeing more and more of these books, and am wondering if there will ever be a time where she stops writing Shadowhunter books. Aside from the Mortal Instruments and the Infernel Devices, Clare has also written/contributed to the Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and just recently released the first book in her Dark Artifices series. She also has a future series called The Last Hours, the first of which doesn’t have an official release date but will most likely be released later this year. What do all of these books and series have in common? They all take place within the Shadowhunter universe.

I know for superfans, having an author write several series within the same universe is like a dream come true. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’d be over the moon if J.K. Rowling decided to write a prequel and sequel series to Harry Potter. But I’m not a Cassandra Clare superfan, and I’m of the opinion that any author who sticks to one universe can unintentionally alienated potential readers who may be interested in their works but are not a part of that particular fandom.

I would love to pick up another Cassandra Clare book because I would love to see what other worlds she could create, and read about other characters she could conjure up, but this is an impossible feat when all she writes is Shadowhunter books. I know the saying goes “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” but I can’t help but feel like I’d enjoy her more if she would write something outside of this universe.

There aren’t many authors who can get away with writing various novels that take place in the same world. Cassandra Clare is the first name that comes to mind, but I do know that Rick Riordan has many series in the same universe as well. I’m not as familiar with his works, having only read the first Percy Jackson book. I can’t say how I’ll feel about these other series once I finish Percy Jackson and the Olympians, but I do wonder if anyone feels the same way about him as I do about Cassandra Clare. Sometimes I feel that these various novels within the same universe are superfluous.

Leigh Bardugo and Jonathan Maberry are two other authors I know of who have written more than one series within the same universe. I haven’t finished Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, but I’m a huge fan of Six of Crows. Despite my love for the latter, I do hope that Bardugo writes something different in the future because I’m positive she could come up with another epic series that doesn’t take place in the Grisha universe. Maberry’s Benny Imura and Joe Ledger series are two separate zombie series that eventually intersect. I prefer the Benny Imura series and despite enjoying Patient Zero, the first Joe Ledger novel, I’ve never felt the need to finish it because I feel quite satisfied with the former.

Do you ever feel that an author writes too many books within the same universe? Are there any fictional worlds that you would love an author to continually write about? Have you read all of Cassandra Clare or Rick Riordan’s works? What other authors do you know of who have written multiple series that take place in the same universe? Let’s discuss in the comments!

The Friday 56, #90: Six of Crows

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’re been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“She commanded him to open the door, and when he did, she ordered him to cut the thumb from his hand. We only know how it all happened because a kitchen boy was present. The Grisha girl left him untouched, but he claims Hoede carved away his own thumb, smiling all the while.”

It just occurred to me that I did not share an excerpt for this meme from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows when I was reading it. This is a real shame because I adore this book. It features fantastic characters and a heist that is sure to keep you on your toes. Cover linked to Goodreads.

From my review:

“For Kaz Brekker, no job is too big, for the right price. As a member of the gang called the Dregs, Kaz assembles and leads the best team to commit less-than-savory jobs. When Kaz is approached by a powerful man to break into the well-guarded Ice Court and rescue a scientist with a dangerous formula that has the potential to start a war, Kaz must find just the right partners to pull off the ambitious heist. The odds are stacked against him and with a team full of people with questionable pasts, this job may not just be impossible, it may be their last.” Find my full review here.