by Leigh Bardugo
This is the second and last book in the Six of Crows duology and here we follow the team as they seek to get their hands on the money they think they deserve and also to push down the man that betrayed them from his upstanding position.
Crooked Kingdom is a well-crafted sequel to a very good book, but I do find that it’s not as great as its prequel. Crooked Kindom has the same great cast as the first book, and Bardugo manages her cast well and gives the reader plenty of insights to their lives, their backstories and their rolls in the current heist. She had a way of making sure that the full scheme of the heist is never fully revealed to the reader, which is what makes it so interesting to read and I love when there are twists and turns that surprises me in a book like this. The fun thing about a good heist story is that feeling of not really understanding how they did it until it’s all explained afterwards, and Leigh Bardugo does this well.
All of her characters are also very fleshed out and they all have backstories that makes them into who they are and who makes them feel like real people. They are not flawed and wounded, yet strong and compassionate at the same time. I rarely felt like they were stereotypes or caricatures of what a normal person would be, and I love that they are so different and yet so much alike and, in the end, forms a friendship that is hard to break apart.
In this book I enjoyed Wylan’s and Jasper’s chapters the most, which is a bit of a surprise since they were the characters I cared the least for in Six of Crows. And I loved their relationship, the way their stories were brought to life and how I got to know these two characters even more. Kaz and Inej, however, just faded into the background and annoyed me more than it intrigued me. Kind of disappointed about that.
Compared to Six of Crows though, this book lacks the momentum that I loved so much and Crooked Kingdom seems to want to do so much that it sometimes gets dragging and boring to read. There are some POVs in the story that isn’t as interesting as others here, and I found myself wanting to skip parts and get back to the good stuff. In particular I didn’t enjoy Inej story this time, she didn’t do much and her role in the heist and the story as a whole seemed to be there only to push Kaz’s story forward. And like I said, there were so many things going on here that made it hard to keep focus at times. I don’t want to go in to detail though since that would spoil the story for those who haven’t read it.
And just as in the first book, this one had that weird first chapter that more or less was completely unrelated to the story and I feel like they should be cut because they don’t do anything, at least not for me.
The ending for me felt a bit rushed, like there wasn’t enough space to give the ending the time that it needed. I don’t mind the ending per se, but when two books are basically wrapped up on just two pages at the end, things feel a bit forced and it was hard to really believe what was happening.
But still, this is a great book and one that I recommend to anyone looking for a good heist novel with complicated ad morally gray characters. I’m giving it a solid 3.5 stars out of 5 and I also want to end by saying that I personally love the way Leigh Bardugo writes.
Get your copy on Amazon.