Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Crooked KingdomCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
Author:
Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt and Company
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Pages: 546
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift

“They don’t know who we are. Not really. They don’t know what we’ve done, what we’ve managed together. So let’s go show them they picked the wrong damn fight.”

The freaking transformations in this book, oh. My. God. If you thought Kaz and his crew couldn’t develop individually or as a group more than they already had in Six of Crows, prepare yourself.
Jesper gets more backstory time, which I am grateful for.
The Wraith meets her match. Kaz continues to scheme on a higher level than ever before. Matthias is accepting. Nina is a warrior in her own right and Wylan finds himself a home amongst thieves.

I love how Bardugo highlights all these regular faults in her characters and makes them assets, or at least not detrimental to her characters’ successes. For example, Wylan may not be able to read, but that doesn’t hinder his other abilities in any other way.  “You’re not weak because you can’t read. You’re weak because you’re afraid of people seeing your weakness. You’re letting shame decide who you are.”

The relationships between the crew are so entrancing and develop so much in Crooked Kingdom. Each one definitely gets the attention they deserve but this moment between Kaz and Inej really hit me:

“He was going to break my legs ,” she said, her chin held high, the barest quaver in her voice. “Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn’t scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn’t the Wraith anymore?”
Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

And let’s not even get into the final chapters and all that Kaz does for Inej. I can’t handle that right now.

And it’s about time Kaz and his crew got some recognition for their scheming! I’ve waited for what feels like forever and finally my wishes have been granted. Bardugo tricked me throughout this book and I love her for it. The plots within plots, all of Kaz’s plans, just marveled me. The level of thought that went into Crooked Kingdom compared to Six of Crows is just phenomenal.

We finally get to see Kaz and his crew destroy the people that hurt them. “You couldn’t go to war with an upstanding merch like Van Eck, not if you were a thug with a reputation dirtier than a stable hand’s boot sole. To win, Kaz would have to level the field. He would show the world what he already knew: Despite his soft hands and fine suits, Van Eck was a criminal, just as bad as any Barrel thug—worse, because his word was worth nothing.”
As Kaz pointed out, “the really bad monsters never look like monsters.” Watching everything play out so splendidly gave me chills.

The last hundred pages of Crooked Kingdom had me sobbing. This duology has brought me so much inspiration, comfort and adventure within and beyond the pages. It’s really weird to think that it’s over but I really hope this isn’t the last time we’ll see the Grisha world. It’s such an incredible place filled with the worst and best kinds of people that for this to be the last of it, would be quite saddening.

I loved absolutely everything about Crooked Kingdom. It had me feeling overjoyed but also distressed. It had me laughing and crying. Nothing and everything mattered all at once. Bardugo has skill. Let her bless us with more books forever and ever. Leigh Bardugo wrote a kick-ass duology that I can find no faults in. I love it wholeheartedly and shall hold it dearly forever.

And so, for the last time,
“No mourners. No funerals.”

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