Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Book 14/30.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No mourners.
No funerals.


It was THE MOST bittersweet feeling going into Crooked Kingdom because I loooooooved Six of Crows and was dyyyiiiiiiinnngggg to pick up the story where it ended. DYYYIIIIIIINNNGGGG!! But it is also book two in the duology and it was heartbreaking to know I would be saying goodbye to my ultimate book boyfriend Kaz Brekker(#Kalerie 👩🏽‍🤝‍👨🏻), and his phenomenal crew, at the end of it. It took me six days to read this and every minute spent reading during those six days were some of the best of my entire life! No cap!

I thought SoC was a rollercoaster ride of emotions with twists and turns that didn’t give you a second, let alone a minute, to catch your breath, but goddamn CK shitted all over that thought. Everything I loved about the first book is here, AND THEN SOME . From page 1 to page 536 the story moved with breakneck speed and did not relent on the pace even once. And just like SoC this book gave EVERYTHING a good book is supposed to give! Every! Single!! Thing!!! There was flawless world building, pitch-perfect character development, superior plot and pacing, madd drama, serious suspense, banging banter, lowkey romance, highkey romance, MAJOR ships 💑, high stakes, secret alliances, delightful dalliances, characters with varying ethnicities and sexual orientations 👩🏽‍🤝‍👨🏻👨🏼‍🤝‍👨🏾, sizzling sexual tension… you name it, it had it. It will be a bit hard to articulate my love for CK without speaking about the romance, so mild spoilers ahead if you’ve not read SoC.

The story picks up right where SoC left off and we are back with our favourite six outcasts: a gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who has become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse. 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.

I was beyond invested in this book thanks to the author’s skillful use of chapter-ending cliffhangers that were just as masterful as in book one. I hated leaving each character and was anxious to get back to them to ensure their safety, but I was just as keen to get back to the next character’s POV to ensure their safety. And this time around Wylan had his own POV and I loved everything about that because he is cute and earnest and good and Wesper is just sooo damn shippable 😍 CK goes even deeper into the pitch-perfect character development established in SoC by shedding more light on their struggles: gambling addiction, drug withdrawals, the aftereffects of sexual abuse, not to mention Kaz’s trauma that drives him. None of these things are miraculously fixed in real life and Leigh Bardugo stayed true to that reality until the very end and I applaud her for that.

As I said, this book has everything I loved about SoC, AND THEN SOME . So be prepared for higher stakes and more twists and turns. And, delightedly, more romance that still never takes over the story. Kanej, Wesper and Helvnik were even more shipabble in this book and the hopeless romantic I am almost combusted from all the shipping I was doing.

“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.”

She smiled then, her eyes red, her cheeks scattered with some kind of dust. It was a smile he thought he might die to earn again.


“Jesper’s mind emptied. He wasn’t thinking of what had happened before or what might happen next. There was only the reality of Wylan’s mouth, the press of his lips, then the fine bones of his neck, the silky feel of his curls as Jesper cupped his nape and drew him nearer.
This was the kiss he’d been waiting for. It was a gunshot. It was prairie fire. It was the spin of Makker’s Wheel. Jesper felt the pounding of his heart—or was it Wylan’s?—like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.
Slowly, inevitably, they broke apart. “Wylan,” Jesper said, looking into the wide blue sky of his eyes, “I really hope we don’t die.”

“I am grateful you’re alive,” he said. “I am grateful you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

“Meeting you was a disaster.”
She raised a brow. “Thank you.”
Djel, he was terrible at this. He stumbled on, trying to make her understand. “But I am grateful for that disaster. I needed a catastrophe to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landslide.”
“I,” she said, planting a hand on her hip, “am a delicate flower.”
“You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

Do you see why I almost combusted 😍😍😍

But damn this book brought tears to my eyes. Something happened towards the end and at first I thought and hoped and prayed it was one of Kaz’s many tricks, but when I realised it was not the tears threatened to spill 🥺🥺🥺

Now that I’m done with the duology I’m nursing THE BIGGEST BOOK HANGOVER OF ALL TIME 😫😫😫 I don’t think I’ve ever truly had a book hangover before but I suppose it’s true that the first hangover is the worst, regardless of the cause. What the hell do I do with my life now that I’ve finished both books??! I just want to enter my brain and cut out the part of it that read the series so that I can read it anew. Rinse, repeat. I have been Googling both books upon finishing the series and now I am deep into the Grishaverse. I’m also Googling the Shadow and Bone trilogy as well as the trending hashtag on Twitter now that season 2 of the TV show is out on Netflix. I cannot wait to read the trilogy before watching the TV show and I hope Netflix gives the people what we want by greenlighting the Six of Crows spinoff.

View all my reviews

** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing

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