Is there enough mischief in Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom?

71p2bgb7ipilA few moments ago I read the last page of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. How dare she…? Such a sadist. I’m done falling in love with her writing. Now I’m just falling into the abyss.

This was the kiss he’d been waiting for. It was a gunshot. It was prairie fire. It was the spin of Makker’s Wheel. Jesper felt the pounding of his heart—or was it Wylan’s?—like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.
Slowly, inevitably, they broke apart. “Wylan,” Jesper said, looking into the wide blue sky of his eyes, “I really hope we don’t die.

If this is your first time reading my review on the Grishaverse, let me catch you up on everything that’s been going on. I decided to have a tiny one-person readathon and I decided to read only Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. I’ve been reading the books in chronological order and in that order you’ll find my essays/reviews on them. Firstly, there is the Shadow and Bone trilogy which contains Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. Then, I read Six of Crows. And now we’re here.

Where to begin… Before I started reading Crooked Kingdom I heard many people say that it didn’t live up to Six of Crows. I was a bit afraid I’d be of the same opinion. I’m not.
This book felt a bit more expansive than Six of Crows. There was more scheming. Which is in my opinion, just fine. Better than fine.

The problem was that the creatures who had managed to survive the city he’d made were a new kind of misery entirely – Brekker, his Wraith queen, his rotten little court of thugs. A fearless breed, hard-eyed and feral, hungrier for vengance than for gold.

The story picks up where Six of Crows left off. Inej has been abducted and the rest of the gang have to find a plan to get her out and also they need to find a way to get their money. Easy-peasy, right? Well, no. Even though they manage to trick Jan van Eck they get into some much deeper shit. And in a few words that’s what this book is. These six dumbasses get themselves in and out of deep shit.

And it is phenomenal. It is funny, scary, nerve-wracking, and completely soul-crushing.

He was on the ice once more, and somewhere he could hear the wolves howling. But this time, he knew they were welcoming him home.

9781510107038There are two things I enjoyed the most about this book. The first one is the glimpse we got into Kaz’s head. I liked getting to know him as a character and I enjoyed watching him scheme and hatch crazy plans. I am overwhelmed by how intelligent this man is. It is so satisfying to see his plan evolving and changing. Also, the moments in which he reveals a deeper side-plan always made me fall in love with him a bit more.

Just a few minutes before noon, Matthias caught sight of Kaz advancing from the west, his dark shape a blot moving through the crowd, his cane keeping time with his uneven gait. The crowd seemed to part around him. It reminded Matthias of villagers making signs in the air to ward off evil spirits.

The second thing is the character development. Since I was already familiar with all the main characters I could see them grow. And all of them did. Every character had depth, a backstory and every character had something to work towards. The relationships evolved, both romantic and platonic. I can’t even pick one couple I’d say is my favourite. They were all so lovable and couldn’t help but root for them.

It took me much longer to read Crooked Kingdom in comparison to the previous books. I’m not sure if I did it on purpose or if my mind refuses to part with this world. So, I read slowly, I savored every word… and it broke my heart. The ending was sweet and sour at the same time. It was beautiful. I suspect every ending written by Leigh Bardugo is destined to be beautiful. She has a talent to soothe the pain when saying goodbye.

However, I often wonder… does she want me to read King of Scars? Because, I can’t read it if I’m dead. And she seems determined to kill me.

“Farvell,” she said in Fjerdan. “May Djel watch over you until I can once more.”

 

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