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

★★★★★

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.

ARC Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, #1
**I received a copy of this ARC through a giveaway hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. which does not affect 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.

Six of Crows is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s new series which takes place in the same universe as her immensely popular Grisha trilogy. If you are unfamiliar with her debut series, this one might be a little confusing as it is written with the understanding that the reader already has a grasp on the world involving Grisha. Bardugo’s writing immediately drew me in, her world is rich, her characters are complex, and the story line provided plenty of twists that kept me guessing till the end. Though the characters in this novel are in their teens, they could have easily been written as older characters with burdensome backstories and intelligent personalities.

Six of Crows focuses on six different characters. Kaz, infamous thief called Dirtyhands, always has a trick up his sleeve, he’s incredibly clever and savvy. He plays his cards close to his chest, making him unreadable and unnervingly unflappable. Because of his closed-off personality, even those who know him feel that they’ve never seen the real Kaz, something he has made sure of. Known as the Wraith, Inej’s specialty is stealth, able to blend into the shadows and deadly in fight. She’s tried her best to forget the horrors of her past but some scars are hard to erase.

Nina is a Heartrender, a Grisha with the ability to manipulate a person’s organs. Her complicated history with the Fjerdan Matthias managed to break my heart even before I knew what led to one being imprisoned in Hellgate. As a former drüskelle, Fjerdan soldiers tasked with hunting down Grisha, Matthias struggles to reconcile his people’s image of the threatening Grisha with Nina. Rounding out Kaz’s crew is the jovial Jesper, with secrets of his own and knack for getting into trouble, and Wylan, a newbie to the seedy underworld of Ketterdam, who eventually earns his keep in the group.

Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows is a thrilling ride, which manages to be fun while taking the reader on a dangerous adventure. Brilliantly paced, this first installment had me wishing it would never end and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★