Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#Wednesday Review - Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo #YALit #Fantasy @LBardugo @HenryHolt

Series: Six of Crows # 2
Format: Hardcover, 536 pages
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Crooked Kingdom is the final installment in author Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows duology. The story takes place in the same world as the author's The Grisha series. Kaz Brekker, and his crew have done the impossible. They've gotten in and out of one of the most dangerous places on the planet, and survived. But, they can't sit back and celebrate their achievement or rest until they get one of their own back. What's worse is that Kaz is given 7 days to give up his prized possession Kuwai Yul-Bo or lose the Wraith forever.

Once again, Bardugo alternatives narratives between Kaz's crew. That includes Matthias Helviar, Jasper Fahey, Nina Zenik, Wylan Van Eck and Inej Ghafa who is being held hostage by Jan Van Eck as the book opens. What's even more curious, is that she even has a few guest appearances from The Grisha series which makes things really interesting for Nina who has spent the past year away from her home and believing she would one day be dragged back to face the music. 

Crooked Kingdom is a dark story that finds our unlikely heroes who've become an even more unlikely family, up against nearly everyone in Ketterdam. It becomes a cat and mouse game against not only Van Eck, but everyone else who is looking for a bit of payback against Kaz and his gang. I have to say that chapters 39 and 40 really stung. They stung so badly that I found myself angry for reading two books back to back that left endings that tore my heart into bits and pieces. But, that is to be expected from Ms Bardugo. What's sad is that this series is only two books.

What's good is that this series is only two books so that I don't have to wait around for another year to find out what happens to my favorite gang of misfits and dregs. What's also curious is how Bardugo is able to weave equal couplings between the group. Kaz and Inej have danced around each other for so long, that it was a nice ending that was actually warm, and not open ending. The coupling between Jesper and Wylan was unexpected but curious nonetheless.

I liked having Jesper's father along for the ride. If gave Jesper's character more depth and I could understand why he became the person he was. The most heartbreaking coupling is the one I can't speak about without tearing my heart apart at the seams again. I'm not sure what the point was. I'm sure there was some way to prevent the ending that was written. But, I am just a lonely book reviewer who actually likes Happy endings. I loved that Bardugo gives a peek into each character's background. I love when author's complete the entire story and not leave us wanting to know more.

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