Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Genre: heist, fantasy, YA
Page number: 536 pages
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Pub. 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.
The reason it is so rare for sequels to exceed its predecessors is that it's basically a paradox. To creating something original out of an already "original" idea, and at the same time trying to make it different and still original, can you imagine how difficult, if not impossible that is?
Six of Crows had such a success both financially and reception wise because there are so few YA books out there that are a heist book taking place in a high fantasy setting. In fact, Six of Crows is the first book I've ever seen that fit these criteria. So this book could've just been another rip-off version of the first, resulting it to have a less positive reception than Six of Crows but still enjoyable.
Leigh Bardugo overcame this almost impossible-to-avoid syndrome by making this book still very heist like (what SoC is known for), but it's not the classic "heist-movie-style" storyline we see in the first book. In other words, Crooked Kingdom is officially one of the rare cases that actually created a paradox. It remained similar and satisfy "more" of this series for its fans, but it is still something different. To give you a better what I meant, if the first book's most satisfying moment is the succeeding of the heist, this book's most satisfying moment is when the "scheme" for revenge falls into place. It's so satisfying and amazing. You notice how they're all so similar but different enough to be its own individual unique ideas? That is exactly what I meant.
Kaz is still Kaz, but we see a lot more vulnerability moments in this book than the first. Which is good, it reflects good character arcs. His relationship with Inej also is corresponding with his arc, because it's Inej that is bringing his old self back in a way. We also saw Inej going up against someone that is better than her, so watching her overcome that also challenged her to grow as a character as well.
Speaking of Kaz and Inej, everyone grew in this. None of it was out of nowhere at all, it had all been mentioned and hinted from the first book, they're growth already began there. Bardugo picked up right from that, and continued their evolution.
Inej and Kaz's romance is AMAZING. I'M SO GLAD THAT LEIGH IS WRITING A 3RD BOOK I LITERALLY GRIEVED FOR DAYS BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE END OF THEM. THEY TOTAlLY HAD LOOSE THREADS IN THEIR ROMANCE. Thank god.
Many people praised Bardugo for making it a duology, saying how by doing so, "she's not overstretching the story". I'm sorry, I respect your opinion, but I completely cannot disagree with it more. Becuase this book was supposed to be a duology, this ending was terribly rushed with so many loose ends, ESPECIALLY WITH INEJ AND KAZ THAT IS ONE THING I WAS SO MAD ABOUT I CANNOT STAND FOR THAT. If the ending with this book was stretched to the third, it would've matched so match better with the 2 books' story pace. Thank you so much Leigh, YOU SAVED MY LIFE.
Even with this little flump with the ending, I'm still giving this book 5 stars because any book that successfully created a good paradox deserves five stars, hands down. Great job Leigh!
about the author
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the Six of Crows Duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Aug 2017) and The Language of Thorns (Sept 2017).
She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
She would be delighted if you followed her on Twitter, elated if you visited her web site, and fairly giddy if you liked her selfies on Instagram.