Book Review: Crooked Kingdom
5 out of 5 stars
Format: Library Hardback - YA fantasy - Goodreads summary:
"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."
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Leigh Bardugo is a freakin genius and I love her. #goals.
CHARACTERIZATION: My one critique with Crooked Kingdom is the characterization, which was my biggest critique for its prequel, Six Of Crows. The characters act WAY older than teenagers. No matter your hard living and your ability to make ends meet as a con-man or crook, your thoughts and emotions are still developmentally adolescent in nature. It’s also the one area where the suspension of belief doesn’t quite fit.
I was very excited to see this diverse cast again in the final installment of the duology, and I appreciate Bardugo answering the “why” behind the diversity. Urban areas tend to be more diverse, but that’s a flimsy (and modern) foundation to build your cast of characters on. Instead, Bardugo uses character backstories and flashback scenes to show us where each of our characters came from, how they came to be who they are, and why their pasts influence each of their present choices.
SETTING: I really enjoy Bardugo’s fantasy vision for a Victorian-era Russian city. Ketterdam doesn’t exist, the Grisha world is unique to this series, and other than some Victorian-era technology (like pocket watches and pistols), the book could be classified as high fantasy. But the setting is so real and visceral, I think of it more like historical fantasy. The world-building is smooth, clear, and not overly described. We know just enough to immerse ourselves.
STYLE: This story’s style is much like the first—dark, sinister, dramatic, but with little gems of humor from our comic relief, Jesper. Due to the book’s sheer volume and the subject matter of heists, loss, family abandonment, etc., it’s not a light read by any means. But it’s meaningful. For you speed-readers out there, this is one you’ll want to take your time with.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Support your local bookstores and buy a copy. Mine was on loan from the library, but I wish I’d bought it because I can definitely see this series going in my re-read pile!