Welcome back to the Dreggs: a Review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Genre:
Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication date: September 26th, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 546

Series: Six of Crows #2

Read my review of Six of Crows here.

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Buy from Book Depository, Kinokuniya Malaysia

Blurb:

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.

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Crooked Kingdom is my book for #TheReadingQuest Challenge: A Book With Magic in It

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“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.” 

Crooked Kingdom is the much anticipated sequel to Six of Crows, the infamous series of six delinquents from the Barrels’ toughest gang, the Dreggs. To be honest I couldn’t help but feel excited when I had the book in my hands, but waited 8 months before I actually read it. Runs away in shame.

After attempting the world’s riskiest heist and in possession of the most valuable prize, Kaz Brekker and his gang are faced with more trouble and danger as they try to win the game against Ketterdam’s most powerful and famous merchant.

While I mildly enjoyed Six of Crows, I’m glad Crooked Kingdom is a whole lot better than it’s predecessor and with good reasons.

We see more character developments with more emotional background in each character. We see more scheming and plotting on Kaz’s behalf. Many of which caught me by surprise. We get to see a budding relationship form between Matthias and Nina, which I loved. In contrast, the friendship between Inej and Kaz left me feeling…bland. I have little care for their feelings for each other in this whole series, and I’m aware of how unpopular this opinion is.

“I would have 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.” 

Asides from that, the plot build up was really good. There’s a whole lot going on in this book and you better pay attention because what happens throughout the book will take you off guard. I have no idea how can so many things can occur in the span of 500 pages but that’s the thing about YA. Every form of disaster and tragedy is possible. Just when I thought one plan was going well, things got flipped over. It was frustrating at the worst of times, but impressive otherwise.

One of the most interesting aspects of this series is its lack of positive or heroic characters. Typical YA Fantasy series often times see good versus evil situations, but this series has so many terribly shades of grey in its characters. It repeatedly plays around with the cards of morality and survival.

“I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.” 

I generally enjoyed this book, but was a little underwhelmed. I tried my best to refresh my mind from Six of Crows since I last read it over a year ago, but occasionally forgot some references made in Crooked Kingdom. And to be honest, the hype surrounding this book didn’t help. I had some high expectations starting the book, especially after reading The Thief, but glad I got to enjoy the book in its entirety.

 

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Overall, I’d recommend this series if you love action-packed novels with complicated and a diverse group of characters. You’ll definitely be sucked into the Grisha world and all of its glory.

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