Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
WHAT I KNEW GOING IN
I bought this book soon after finishing Shadow and Bone mostly because we were sold out of Siege and Storm, the second book in the series. I also had all of my coworkers who had read them telling me that this second series was much better than the first. I also knew that it takes place a few months after the end of Ruin and Rising, set in a different part of the world. So the stories don’t overlap and I was assured there weren’t any major spoilers. At the time I knew it was going to be at least a few weeks before we got the second book into the store, so I decided to dive right in. Between the fact I enjoy groups of misfits running a heist and that Leigh Bardugo’s writing was already starting to grow on me, I had a feeling I was in for a good time.
MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Right off I knew the world was going to have a totally different feel and I love it. Ketterdam is a place full of gritty streets and messy people doing whatever it takes to survive. I very much enjoyed being able to learn more about the wider world of the Grishaverse and see for myself how these different companies treat the Grisha. It is a step away from the coming of age type story that is the Shadow and Bone series and into something that is more dark, more raw, and more human. I quickly found myself growing fond of several of the characters and incredibly curious about the others. When we were introduced to the impossible job and its incredible reward, I knew I wouldn’t be putting the book down for a while because I had to know if this crew of talented misfits could pull it off.
WHAT I LOVED
Leigh Bardugo is an incredible author and seeing how much her skill has grown from one series to another was mind blowing. I love the way she toys with your expectations of where a scene is going to go in a way that feels natural and leaves you guessing.
This story features some of my favorite things. Found families. Incredible world building. Complex characters with their own fears and dreams. HEISTS! Everything is woven together so beautifully that I devoured the book in a few days.
Some of them exist in that grey area where they are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons and sometimes I am not sure if they know why they are doing what they are doing aside from a sheer need to survive. The leader of the group, Kaz, is an absolute enigma even after we are finally introduced to what he is trying to accomplish and why. Yet it is hard not to root for the Dregs as they lay it all on the line to follow Kaz’s plan to break into an impenetrable prison to steal a man whose invention could set the world ablaze.
Needless to say, I loved everything about it.
WHO I RECOMMEND THIS 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. And this story has an ending that will have you immediately reaching for Crooked Kingdom.