Review: Crooked Kingdom

SYNOPSIS

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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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.

WHAT I KNEW GOING IN

Quite a few people have told me that the Six of Crows duet is their favorite of Leigh’s series. At the end of the first book, I could see why. This group of misfits pulled off an impossible heist only to have things go sideways at the very end. Kaz was prepared for part of it, but he was not prepared for Inej’s capture. I knew there would be hell to pay for whoever took her. I also knew that things would inevitably get more complicated. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew it was going to be epic and full of the unexpected. So, I started reading. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I knew this story was going to be different in size and scope than the other. We pick up mere days after the end of Six of Crows where things have not progressed much. Inej has a good grasp of her surroundings and Kaz is already working on his plan to rescue her. Things, naturally, get rather complicated rather quickly. The battle to gain control over the jurda parem continues as the crows tuck their new scientist friend away somewhere safe. I got the feeling this would be less of a single con and more of an intense, delicate game of chess played between multiple players. And I was right.

WHAT I LOVED

The characters we know and love get a chance to shine even brighter in all of their messy glory. They are back on their home turf, in the city of Ketterdam, yet that is not entirely a point in their favor. Ketterdam is a messy, complicated city run by thieves and con artists posing as businessmen. Our story follows some of the best and one of the men who will one day run this city. That is, if they can survive the building battle for the jurda parem. A drug that with drastically alter the fate of all Grisha, no matter whose hands it falls into.

Instead of being one heist with a single focus, this is a series of heists and cons daisy-chained together. A domino effect of plans that work and plans than fail leading to the final showdown between Kaz Brekker and the men who think they run this city. Dreams are made and found and, in some cases, achieved. 

There may be no heroes in Ketterdam, but that does not mean the city cannot be saved.

WHO I RECOMMEND IT TO

As I mentioned, Leigh Bardugo is an excellent fantasy author who has a gift for weaving together secrets of the past with mysteries of the future to tell a story that you cannot put down. 

If you are a fan of stories that linger near the darker side of fantasy that center around a charming group of misfits with somewhat questionable morals, this is the story for you. The world is rich and the Dregs from the Barrel may be poor but they are very good at what they do. They want to change Ketterdam, but they may just change the world. 

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