Don’t judge me. Crooked Kingdom arrived at dinner last night and I finished it after I woke up this morning. So, yeah. That happened!
We have some more maps! This time, the second map is of Ketterdam, the capital city of Kerch nation where Kaz and his little canal rats have returned to:
And the cover is so intricate! Like, the crow is the first thing noticed but the gold makes up the spires of Ketterdam’s merchant halls:
So, to avoid spoilers for what happens at the end of Six of Crows, we will just say that Jan Van Eck is a jerk and stole something extremely precious from Kaz, and now he and the crew are trying to get it back. Van Eck has also managed to turn the Barrel against Kaz, meaning that there isn’t a safe place for the crew to lie low while they plan and scheme.
While not as fast paced as the first book (possibly because I read them back to back) I absolutely loved this one as much as the first and I think it is due to the amazing characters. They could be sat in a room playing monopoly and I would read the hell out of it. I fell in love with the murder thieves in the last book, and I can’t even put into words any more how much I love Kaz and Inej. I think this book focusses more on Nina, and how Matthias is dealing with being a traitor to his country as well as Jesper and Wylan. It makes it more interesting only seeing Kaz from their points of view (except for the few times he and Inej go off to gather information without the clumsy crew) because he hoards secrets like magpies hoard shiny objects and with every plan you wonder what his back-up is, or what he knows that the character POV you are in doesn’t know.
The politics of the world come to a head, with delegations from all the major political players arriving in Kerch and it is interesting to see the different cultural customs side by side and interacting in the merchant world of Kerch. We see more of the city than Inej’s rooftops or the Barrel and the gambling dens. We’re treated to graveyards, the university, the exchange, the centre of all business in Kerch, canals, fine houses, more graveyards and a few boats. I love how layered the world is. It may be fantastical but it exists, you can touch it, you can smell the stagnant water.
So, sassy diverse characters, CHECK; world building, CHECK; magic, CHECK; Kaz being a devious little crow, CHECK CHECK. I love this duology so much, and I absolutely and completely recommend it to everyone, even if you aren’t a fan of YA because yes the crew are seventeen, but they’ve been through hell and only Wylan really feels like a child and that is only until about halfway through the book where he suddenly starts channelling his inner Kaz like a pro. LGBTQ representation as well, CHECK. Just pure awesomeness? You betcha. Seriously, how have you not read this series?
There’s another series in the “grishaverse” written by Leigh Bardugo, so when I have money I will have to read those too! Because as much as I would break into the Ice Court for any one of those characters, I am curious about the world and the grisha. So, thank you Leigh Bardugo for giving me such gems as these! And also these quotes (not in any order, I just scribbled them on various post it notes next to my bed):
“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.”
“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.”
“Where do think the money went?” he repeated.
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.
He shrugged. “They all seem like practical choices.”
And my personal absolute favourite of all:
“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
So, yes, the Six of Crows duology should be on your TBR list.