Crooked Kingdom is the #1 New York Times-bestselling sequel to Six of Crows. Now in paperback with a brand-new exclusive piece of art, an interview with Leigh Bardugo and a sneak peek of her next book.
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.
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 streetsa battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Read all the books in the Grishaverse!
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
(previously published as The Grisha Trilogy)
Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising
The Six of Crows Duology
Six of Crows
King of Scars
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
#1 New York Times bestseller, October 16, 2016
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times–bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including Some of the Best from Tor.com and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Ninth House.
Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
Read an Excerpt
By Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2016 Leigh Bardugo
All rights reserved.
Retvenko leaned against the bar and tucked his nose into his dirty shot glass. The whiskey had failed to warm him. Nothing could get you warm in this Saintsforsaken city. And there was no escaping the smell, the throat-choking stew of bilge, clams, and wet stone that seemed to have soaked into his pores as if he'd been steeping in the city's essence like the world's worst cup of tea.
It was most noticeable in the Barrel, even more so in a miserable dump like this one — a squat tavern tucked into the lower floor of one of the slum's grimmest apartment buildings, its ceiling bowed by weather and shoddy construction, its beams blackened by soot from a fireplace that had long since ceased to function, the flue clogged by debris. The floor was covered in sawdust to soak up spilled lager, vomit, and whatever else the bar's patrons lost control of. Retvenko wondered how long it had been since the boards had been swept clean. He buried his nose more deeply in the glass, inhaling the sweet perfume of bad whiskey. It made his eyes water.
"You're supposed to drink it, not snort it," said the barkeep with a laugh.
Retvenko put his glass down and gazed at the man blearily. He was thick necked and barrel chested, a real bruiser. Retvenko had seen him toss more than one rowdy patron into the street, but it was hard to take him seriously dressed in the absurd fashion favored by the young men of the Barrel — a pink shirt with sleeves that looked fit to split over huge biceps, a garish red-and-orange plaid waistcoat. He looked like a dandified soft-shell crab.
"Tell me," said Retvenko. His Kerch wasn't good to begin with, and it was worse after a few drinks. "Why does city smell so bad? Like old soup? Like sink full of dishes?"
The barman laughed. "That's just Ketterdam. You get used to it."
Retvenko shook his head. He didn't want to get used to this city or its stink. His job with Councilman Hoede had been dull, but at least his rooms had been dry and warm. As a treasured Grisha indenture, Retvenko had been kept in comfort, his belly full. He'd cursed Hoede at the time, bored with his work shepherding the merchant's expensive cargo shipments across the sea, resenting the terms of his contract, the foolish bargain he'd made to get himself out of Ravka after the civil war. But now? Now he couldn't help thinking of the Grisha workshop at Hoede's house, the fire burning merrily in the grate, brown bread served with slabs of butter and thick cuts of ham. After Hoede had died, the Kerch Merchant Council had let Retvenko take on sea voyages to pay his way out of the indenture. The money was terrible, but what other options did he have? He was a Grisha Squaller in a hostile city with no skills but the gifts with which he'd been born.
"Another?" the barman asked, gesturing at Retvenko's empty glass.
Retvenko hesitated. He shouldn't waste his money. If he was smart with his pennies, he would only need to rent himself out for one more voyage, maybe two, and he'd have enough money to pay off his indenture and buy himself a ticket to Ravka in a third-class berth. That was all he needed.
He was due on the docks in less than an hour. Storms had been predicted, so the crew would rely on Retvenko to master the air currents and guide the ship calmly to whatever port they needed to reach. He didn't know where and he didn't care. The captain would call coordinates; Retvenko would fill the sails or calm the skies. And then he would collect his pay. But the winds hadn't picked up yet. Maybe he could sleep through the first part of the voyage. Retvenko tapped the bar and nodded. What was a man to do? He deserved some comfort in this world.
"I am not errand boy," he muttered.
"What's that?" the barman asked as he poured out another drink.
Retvenko gave a dismissive wave. This person, this barman, could never understand. He toiled away in obscurity. Hoping for what? An extra coin in his pocket? A warm glance from a pretty girl? He knew nothing of glory in battle, what it was to be revered.
Through the muzzy blur the whiskey had created, Retvenko came alert. "Why?"
"No reason. You just sound Ravkan."
Retvenko told himself to relax. Plenty of Ravkans came through Ketterdam looking for work. There was nothing on him that said Grisha. His cowardice filled him with disgust — at himself, the barman, this city.
He wanted to sit and enjoy his drink. There was no one in the bar to jump him, and despite the barman's muscles, Retvenko knew he could handle him easily. But when you were Grisha, even staying still could mean courting trouble. There had been more rumors of disappearances in Ketterdam recently — Grisha vanishing from the streets or their homes, probably snapped up by slavers and sold to the highest bidder. Retvenko would not let that happen to him, not when he was so close to buying his way back to Ravka.
He downed his whiskey, slammed a coin on the counter, and rose from the barstool. He left no tip. A man could work for a living.
Retvenko felt a little unsteady as he headed outside, and the moist stink of the air didn't help. He put his head down and set his feet toward Fourth Harbor, letting the walk clear his head. Two more voyages, he repeated to himself, a few more weeks at sea, a few more months in this city. He'd find a way to make it bearable. He wondered if some of his old friends might be waiting for him in Ravka. The young king was said to be handing out pardons like penny candy, eager to rebuild the Second Army, the Grisha military that had been decimated by the war.
"Just two more trips," he said to no one, stamping his boots against the spring damp. How could it be this cold and wet this late in the year? Living in this city was like being trapped in the chilly armpit of a frost giant. He passed along Grafcanal, shivering as he glimpsed Black Veil Island tucked into the water's bend. That was where the Kerch wealthy had once buried their dead, in little stone houses above water level. Some trick of the climate kept the island shrouded in shifting mists, and there were rumors that the place was haunted. Retvenko hastened his steps. He wasn't a superstitious man — when you had power like his, there was no reason to fear what might lurk in the shadows — but who liked to walk by a graveyard?
He burrowed deeper into his coat and made quick time down Havenstraat, keeping alert to the movements in every twisting alley. Soon he'd be back in Ravka, where he could stroll the streets without fear. Assuming he got his pardon.
Retvenko squirmed uncomfortably in his coat. The war had pitted Grisha against Grisha, and his side had been particularly brutal. He'd murdered former comrades, civilians, even children. But what was done could not be undone. King Nikolai needed soldiers, and Retvenko was a very good soldier.
Retvenko nodded once to the guard stashed in the little booth at the entrance to Fourth Harbor and glanced over his shoulder, ensuring he hadn't been followed. He made his way past the cargo containers to the docks, found the appropriate berth, and stood in line to register with the first mate. Retvenko recognized him from past voyages, always harried and ill-humored, scrawny neck poking from the collar of his coat. He held a thick sheaf of documents, and Retvenko glimpsed the bright green wax seal of one of the members of the Kerch Merchant Council. Those seals were better than gold in this city, guaranteeing the best berths in the harbor and preferred access to the docks. And why did the councilmen garner such respect, such advantage? Because of coin. Because their missions brought profit to Ketterdam. Power meant something more in Ravka, where the elements bent to the will of the Grisha and the country was ruled by a proper king instead of a cadre of upstart merchants. Admittedly, Retvenko had tried to depose that king's father, but the point remained.
"We're not ready for the rest of the crew just yet," the first mate said as Retvenko gave his name. "You can keep warm in the harbormaster's office. We're waiting on our signal from the Council of Tides."
"Good for you," Retvenko said, unimpressed. He glanced up at one of the black obelisk towers that loomed over the harbor. If there were any chance that the high and mighty Council of Tides could see him from their watchtower, he would have let them know exactly what he thought with a few choice gestures. They were supposedly Grisha, but had they ever lifted a finger to help the other Grisha in the city? To help those down on their luck who might have welcomed a bit of kindness? "No, they have not," he answered himself.
The first mate winced. "Ghezen, Retvenko. Have you been drinking?"
"You stink of whiskey."
Retvenko sniffed. "Little bit whiskey."
"Just dry out. Get yourself some coffee or strong jurda. This cotton has to be in Djerholm in two weeks' time, and we aren't paying you to nurse a hangover belowdecks. Understood?"
"Yes, yes," Retvenko said with a dismissive wave, already heading toward the harbormaster's office. But when he was a few steps away, he flicked his wrist. A tiny whirlwind caught the papers the first mate was holding, sending them flying over the docks.
"Damn it!" the first mate shouted as he went scrambling over the wooden planks, trying to capture the pages of his manifest before they blew into the sea.
Retvenko smiled with grim pleasure, then felt a wave of sadness overtake him. He was a giant among men, a gifted Squaller, a great soldier, but here he was just an employee, a sad old Ravkan who spoke broken Kerch and drank too much. Home, he told himself. Soon I'll be home. He would get his pardon and prove himself once more. He would fight for his country. He would sleep under a roof that didn't leak and wear a blue wool kefta lined with silver fox fur. He would be Emil Retvenko again, not this pathetic shadow.
"There's coffee," said the clerk when Retvenko entered the harbormaster's office, gesturing toward a copper urn in the corner.
This country. Retvenko filled a mug full of the dark sludge, more to warm his hands than anything. He couldn't bear the taste of it, certainly not without a healthy dose of sugar, which the harbormaster had neglected to supply.
"Wind blowing in," said the clerk as a bell clanged outside, shaken by the rising breeze.
"I have ears," Retvenko grumbled.
"Don't think it will amount to much here, but once you get out of the harbor —"
"Be silent," Retvenko said sharply. He was on his feet, listening.
"What?" said the clerk. "There's —"
Retvenko put a finger to his lips. "Someone cries out." The sound had come from where the ship was docked.
"It's just gulls. Sun's coming up soon and —"
Retvenko raised a hand, and a gust of air slammed the clerk back into the wall. "I said be silent."
The clerk's mouth dropped open as he hung pinned to the slats. "You're the Grisha they got for the crew?"
For Saints' sake, was Retvenko going to have to pull the air from this boy's lungs and suffocate him into quiet?
Through the waxy windows, Retvenko could see the sky beginning to turn blue as dawn arrived. He heard the squawking of gulls searching the waves for breakfast. Maybe the liquor was muddling his mind.
Retvenko let the clerk drop to the ground. He'd spilled his coffee, but he didn't want to bother with another cup.
"Told you it was nothing," said the clerk as he dragged himself to his feet. "Didn't have to get all heated up." The clerk dusted himself off and got resettled behind the desk. "I never met one of you before. Grisha." Retvenko snorted. The clerk probably had and simply didn't know it. "You get paid pretty good for the voyages?"
"Not good enough."
"I —" But whatever the clerk was going to say next was lost as the door to the office exploded in a hail of splinters.
Retvenko's hands went up to shield his face. He ducked and rolled behind the clerk's desk for cover. A woman entered the office — black hair, golden eyes. Shu.
The clerk reached for a shotgun Retvenko saw strapped beneath the desk. "They've come for the payroll!" he shouted. "Ain't no one taking the payroll."
Retvenko watched in shock as the gangly clerk stood like some kind of avenging warrior and opened fire. By all that was holy, nothing could motivate the Kerch like cash.
Retvenko peeked around the desk in time to see the shotgun blast strike the woman directly in the chest. She was thrown backward and collided with the doorjamb, crumpling to the floor. He smelled the sharp burn of gunpowder, the metallic tang of blood. Retvenko's belly gave a shaming lurch. It had been a long time since he'd seen someone shot down in front of him — and that had been in a time of war.
"Ain't no one taking the payroll," the clerk repeated with satisfaction.
But before Retvenko could reply, the Shu woman wrapped her bloody hand around the door frame, hauling herself to her feet.
Retvenko blinked. Just how much whiskey had he had?
The woman marched forward. Through the remains of her tattered blouse, Retvenko saw blood, flesh pocked with buckshot, and the glint of what looked like metal.
The clerk fumbled to reload, but the woman was too fast. She grabbed the gun from his hands and swatted him down with it, knocking him sideways with terrible force. She tossed the gun aside and turned her golden eyes on Retvenko.
"Take payroll!" Retvenko shouted, clambering backward. He dug in his pockets and tossed his nearly empty wallet at her. "Take what you want."
The woman smiled slightly at that — with pity? Amusement? Retvenko did not know. But he understood that she had not come for the money at all. She had come for him. And it didn't matter if she was a slaver or a mercenary or something else entirely. She would face a soldier, not some cowering weakling.
He leapt to his feet, muscles responding reluctantly to his demands, and shifted into fighting stance. His arms arced forward. A howling wind swept through the room, tossing a chair, then the clerk's desk, then the steaming coffee urn at the woman. She batted each item away with little interest, as if she were brushing aside stray cobwebs.
Retvenko focused his power and shoved both his hands forward, feeling his ears pop as the pressure dropped and the wind swelled in a surging thunderhead. Maybe this woman couldn't be stopped by bullets. Let's see how she fared against the fury of a storm.
The woman growled as the gale seized her, hurtling her back through the open doorway. She seized the jamb, trying to keep hold.
Retvenko laughed. He'd forgotten how good it felt to fight. Then, from behind him, he heard a loud crack, the shriek of nails torn free and rending timber. He looked over his shoulder and caught the briefest glimpse of the dawn sky, the wharf. The wall was gone.
Strong arms seized him, clasping his hands to his sides, preventing him from using his power. He was rising, sailing upward, the harbor shrinking beneath him. He saw the roof of the harbormaster's office, the body of the first mate in a heap on the dock, the ship Retvenko had been meant to sail on — its deck a mess of broken boards, bodies piled near the shattered masts. His attackers had been there first.
The air was cold on his face. His heart pounded a ragged rhythm in his ears.
"Please," he begged as they soared higher, unsure of what he was pleading for. Afraid to move too suddenly or too much, he craned his neck to look at his captor. Retvenko released a terrified moan, somewhere between a sob and the panicked whine of an animal caught in a trap.
The man holding him was Shu, his black hair pulled into a tight bun, his golden eyes narrowed against the rush of the wind — and from his back emerged two vast wings that beat against the sky, hinged, gracefully wrought in looping silver filigree and taut canvas. Was he an angel? A demon? Some strange mechanical come to life? Had Retvenko simply lost his mind?
In the arms of his captor, Emil Retvenko saw the shadow they made cast upon the glittering surface of the sea far below: two heads, two wings, four legs. He had become a great beast, and yet that beast would devour him. His prayers turned to screams, but both went unanswered.CHAPTER 2
What am I doing here?
That thought had run through Wylan's head at least six times a day since he'd met Kaz Brekker. But on a night like this, a night when they were "working," it rose and fell in his head like a nervous tenor practicing his scales: WhatamIdoingherewhatamIdoingherewhatamIdoinghere.
Wylan tugged at the hem of his sky-blue jacket, the uniform worn by the waiters of Club Cumulus, and tried to look at ease. Think of it as a dinner party, he told himself. He'd endured countless uncomfortable meals at his father's house. This was no different. In fact, it was easier. No awkward conversations about his studies or when he planned to start classes at the university. All he had to do was stay quiet, follow Kaz's instructions, and figure out what to do with his hands. Clasp them in front? Too much like a singer at a recital. In back? Too military. He tried just dangling them at his sides, but that didn't feel right either. Why hadn't he paid better attention to the way waiters stood? Despite Kaz's assurances that the second-floor parlor was theirs for the night, Wylan felt certain that at any minute a real member of the staff would enter the room, point at him, and shout, "Impostor!" Then again, Wylan felt like an impostor most days.
Excerpted from Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Copyright © 2016 Leigh Bardugo. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Grisha Trilogy,
Also by Leigh Bardugo,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hands down the best two books I've ever read. No mourners, no funerals.
Leigh Bardugo is a mastermind of the heist novel once again! I cannot wait to see what this author brings to life next!
This book was so worth the wait. I my thought when will Kaz get the girl
Point #1: Crooked Kingdom is awesome and totally deserves a longer review. Point #2: But it's also a sequel, and who likes reviewing sequels? Also, you've probably all read it already, so I'll be preaching to the choir..? For me it's especially hard because I bought the book straight after finishing Six of Crows, and they sort of translated into a single book for me. So there's not much more I can say about Crooked Kingdom that I already haven't said in my Six of Crows review (minus the spoilers, maybe.) I just know that I hope there WILL BE a third part! Because I simply cannot deal with that ending regarding some of the characters which were unjustly eliminated!! The things I loved best in this book, ordered by importance: - Inej - Inej and Kaz - Inej though. - How fleshed out Wylan was!!! And everything about him! He was the characters most overlooked in the first book, and I was so happy that he got so much more attention in this one. - Nina and Matthew's relationship and all about them as well – it made up a really enjoyable part of the book for me. JUSTIFIED REVENGE. Dayum! - I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Is it Inej, by any chance..? Anyway. This is a series that is definitely worth reading, and if you haven't picked it up yet, now's your chance. I'm all for avoiding hyped books – you know me, but this one? You've got to try this one!
This book is another amazing story from Leigh Bardugo! Leigh’s writing is amazing. I felt immersed in the world immediately. And the story started right away. Kaz was in the middle of a heist when the story began. The end of the book returned to that first mission, so the story came right back around. I love that the stories are complex. When things went wrong in Six of Crows, it seemed like a mistake, but Kaz had planned it. When I read these stories, I can’t imagine the planning Kaz would have had to make. And in reality, I can’t imagine how Leigh writes these complicated stories. I just love them!
I love this book
Crooked Kingdom gets a very quick start as Kaz and his crew come up with a plan to save Inej, who at the end of Six of Crows was taken hostage by Wylans father Van Eck. There is a clear cut line of good and evil in Crooked Kingdom with Kaz, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, Wylan and Inej all cast on the side of good, even though they are the best of the worst part of Ketterdam. Van Eck is an easy villain in comparison with Wylan who is the angel among thieves, and the easiest to identify with in the crew. Kaz, as the mastermind behind all of their plans plays puppeteer to all of their marionettes. Even as I tried to figure out the plans direction and guess as to the outcome it would change on a dime and I would try to read faster to play catch up. Crooked Kingdom had a beginning, middle and end I just didn’t end up where I thought the path was leading and it was wonderful! Crooked Kingdom showed an advancement in the relationship of all of the players. Kaz and Inej, Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias all grew as individuals but also as couples. There wasn’t any time for more than a kiss here and there but the emotions behind those kisses were long drawn out and well thought. I was not disappointed in the final outcome to any of these players parts, although I did have a couple of teary moments. We got to know each of them and their reasons behind their actions so that even if I didn’t agree morally with what I thought they were doing I did understand why. Bardugo did a great job of making a band of miscreants honorable and likable. I rooted for them to outsmart their opponents and enjoyed the exchange of wits. I know that I have not said anything about the plot of this book. I really feel that whatever I have to say can not do the intricacies of this plot any justice. All I can say is that I loved getting to know all of these characters and enjoyed reading their story. One last thought on the city of Ketterdam. I am glad that it is a fictional destination. I would fear for any tourist who docked their ship in the bay where a sign reading Enter Ye At Your own Risk No Mourners, No Funerals greets their gaze.
Leigh Bardugo is solid in this sequel to the Six of Crows. Interestingly, even though I didn’t read the first book (my only Bardugo novel was Shadow and Bone, which I loved), I was completely engaged with Kaz’s story. For me, Bardugo writes the kinds of books I love: strong characters, fast paced action, and plot lines that are intriguing. Both books I’ve read by her have fallen into the “can’t put down” category. Looking for an entertaining and engaging read? Crooked Kingdom will definitely meet your needs.
A special treat for me. I really enjoyed the time it took to read it.
Crooked Kingdom is the epitome of a perfect book. This heart racing sequel to Six of Crows will have you you the edge of your seat. Praise is well deserved for this action packed adventure! The Plot: In the aftermath of "the impossible heist" things continue to turn dangerous for Kaz and his crew. The deadly group of misfits must overcome more obstacles to re-unite and escape the world of hell that is raining down on them from all corners of the kingdom... Oh, the feels!! I never thought I would be calling a sequel my new favorite book, but...Crooked Kingdom is my new favorite book! Leigh Bardugo has delivered perfection. Yes, it is a sequel, but it honestly reads well enough that you don't necessarily have to read Six of Crows (though I HIGHLY recommend reading it, as they are a pair and Six of Crows was fantastic). The author has done an incredible job with catching you up in the beginning of the story so, no matter how long its been since you finished book 1, you don't feel like you need to re-read it to be kept up to date. This story holds laughter, sadness, pity, admiration, fear, action, adventure, justice, revenge, and death. The book quickly jumps in to action, as there is never a dull moment. We learn more about the characters through flashbacks that are both relevant to the current story and a perfect length as to not digress too much in to the past but still help us learn exactly who they are. The characters are further developed with astounding backstory and we grow even closer to each one of them. There is so much emotion in the heartbreaking stories of each character that drives them to be the exceptional criminals that they are. The plot twists of the story are amazing. Bardugo does an exceptional job with keeping us guessing at every turn. Just when you think Kaz has been out-schemed, he pulls another scheme out of his sleeve! Each situation has a surprising, unexpected outcome that still fits and makes sense in hind sight. This duology has ensured the fact that I will read every book by Leigh Bardugo that I can get my hands on, no questions asked. Crooked Kingdom gets all the stars and moves to my number 1 read for 2017! Don't miss out on this amazing adventure!
I have so many mixed feelings about this book, I mean I loved it because of course I did buuuuut there were some things that I didn’t quite liked and I can’t talk about them because SPOILERS! But if you’ve read this book you know what I’m talking about, I was so very disappointed but at the same time it made some sense for it to happen. The writing was as superb as the first book and from page one I found myself completely immerse in the story and the characters. It seemed like there was always something going on, each chapter ended on a cliff hanger and it was impossible to not turn the page and keep reading even if it was really late and I needed to go to sleep. The character development for Kaz in particular was very well done, his progression was very slow and you can tell he still has some work cut out for him but I’m glad for him at the end of the book. This world was one that was easy to get lost in and I’m now wondering if I should have read the Grisha Trilogy first because I’m afraid this book does spoil some things from those book and I’m not sure if getting lost in the story is going to be easy knowing what I think I know, so please let me know if I should give the trilogy a chance.
Best written book by this author. Incredible character dev; very immersive story.
Amazing story. How could I expect less from such a great author? This book truly puts you into another world full of adventure, suspense, and excitement. Probably the most impressive part was the large quantity of unique characters, each to which I loved and connected to. Highly highly reccomend!
Truly some of the best world building, best plotting, and most complex, interesting, weirdly likable characters I've ever read about. I think I liked Six of Crows a teensy bit more but this was a masterclass in scheming and plotting, and seeing it all come together as things fell apart was mind boggling. There is nothing I love more than a good reveal scene in books and movies. And the friendships! And the ships!! These people shouldn't have been friends in any sense but they were and it was real and I loved that. This book gave me a lot of Feels and a few teary lumps in the back of my throat while keeping up with awesome banter and black humor. I also thought it was left in a really satisfying place but because you can imagine these characters' lives, it would be easy to hope for another book in the future someday. Now excuse me, I have some tumblring to do.
It is hard to write a book review when your personal feelings about it scream injustice. But I am going to try. There is always a speculation about reading Grisha trilogy before the Six of Crows duology, but I will say that you don’t have to. Not reading Grisha before Crows does not spoil the experience of it, however it does give away some of the events that happened in Grisha trilogy. I liked six of Crows fourth of a star more than I liked the Crooked Kingdom, so my rating for this book is 4.75/5. Don’t get me wrong, this book is flawlessly played – the plot, the twists, the humor, the characters, it’s all quite spectacular. I just didn’t feel like the justice was delivered to those who deserved it the most, and that left me a little bitter. Okay, maybe more than a little! Bardugo must be a ninja of writing, because I did not see any of her twists coming. At one point I literally stared at the page not believing what I was reading. Also if somebody told you that this book is full of merchant’s talk, political conspiracies and business strategies, you might think that it would be very boring. Well, it’s anything, but boring! Takes a skill to write about such dull things in such an edge gripping manner. Altogether this was a perfectly executed fantasy, with twists and turns that always kept me on the edge. Kaz’s brilliance and the way he always was ahead of a game, even when it all seemed lost, was invigorating to read. He is truly one of the most dimensional and badass characters ever created. None of them was a “hero”, they just were a bunch of hurt, but talented misfits, and that made them all very lovable. Together those two books make a perfect set worthy of an "all time favorites" shelf.
Once again, Leigh Bardugo's characters are what make this book shine, despite its dark grittiness. The depth and the anguish and their individual flaws and hidden pains all mix together to create characters that feel alive on the page and almost so real you can believe they are not. I thought that most of them had already gone through their character growth arcs in Six of Crows, but of course that is wrong because they all still had so much more to overcome. And in this book they blossomed and grew, revealing even more about themselves and discovering more too. The story itself felt like it moved in fits and starts, with action happening one moment followed by planning or preparing for the next move, and for some reason this felt very up and down in terms of the pace and movement of the book to me, like someone constantly hitting the accelerator in a car and then letting go of it, only to hit it again a second later, and just keep repeating. There were some excellent moments of course, and I still enjoyed the complexity of all the schemes that appeared throughout the book, but for some reason I did not feel as excited as with Six of Crows, perhaps because it was one thing right after another. Overall, though, this was an excellent sequel to Six of Crows, it rounded everything up wonderfully (although I am still not sure how I feel about Matthias at the moment), and just cemented into my heart how much I love the complexity of these characters.
This installment in the Six of Crows series is so, so, so good. We get to revisit all of these wonderful characters. Kaz and his crew of bandits :). My favorite bandits ever. In their scheme to get the money they are owed, Kaz comes up with another plan that ends up being dangerous (of course), and has lots of moving parts that could go wrong. Which is when this book gets really, really intense. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time listening to this book. It took me longer than planned to finish, but that was because I had some books that "had" to be read. I would listen to this in my car, when I was getting ready in the morning, and at night when every one was asleep. I took every opportunity between my "must" reads to listen to this book. There is so much action in this books, and I grew to love Kaz's crew even more with this book. They may have their issues, but they always have each others backs. True loyalty, which makes their band so much better. There is dancing on rooftops....okay more like fighting, but dancing sounds better ;). Fighting, blackmail, kidnapping, and non stop action. You will really enjoy this series!!! It was fan freaking tastic. Awesome. Source: I bought this book for myself. I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.
I need more!
I didn't love this one quite as much as I loved SIX OF CROWS, for one big spoiler-y personal reason. Otherwise, it was wonderful. More heists and more scheming, more interpersonal drama and snarky one-liners and developing relationships, more poignant moments of self-realization and many, many more chances for each and every member of Kaz's crew to be badass and save the day. I love these characters, and I love to think of them all staying friends and getting up to crazy shenanigans and changing the world. I like where the story ended, by and large, and I'm happy with the way things worked out for (almost) everyone. But man, am I going to miss these people regardless.