Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

 Purchase on  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble

Purchase on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

4.8

No Mourners. No Funerals.

The book hangover with this one is real. It was a glorious ride, and I’m so sad that it’s over. This book was so rich, exciting, and complex; I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to read it. I struggled with writing this review for many reasons. First, I’m not sure how to describe this book in a sophisticated and organized way. Declaring that everything was AMAZING and OMG SO AMAZING is not really helpful to anyone. Second, I’m still in denial that this duology is over. Third, I’m not sure where to start.

It took me a while to get through the first couple of chapters of Six of Crows. This time was a little similar. Unlike with Six of Crows, the first chapter was the only chapter that dragged on. And once I pushed through it I was fully immersed. I think the issue was that the first chapter did not focus on the core six. It introduced a new character and I so desperately wanted to get back with the core six. I would not really call this a complaint; it is more of a personal opinion.

Once I got past the first chapter, this book had me on the edge of my seat. It was so thrilling and exciting. The twist and turns were amazing. I thought I knew what was happening, but I didn’t. I really want this to be a movie, because I’m sure that the cinematic version would be as beautiful as the book.   

In addition, to being thrilling this book was extremely stressful. I enjoyed these characters. They might one day be included on my list of favorite characters ever, and while reading this I was very stressed. This is not a Disney movie where everyone gets a happy ending. This is not even the second to last YA cliché dystopian novel. This is the final book. These characters are in dangerous situations, fighting for their life, and not everyone could make it out alive in the final book.

So as I read, I kept holding my breath because I was afraid that someone would die. I was preparing myself for the tears. I will not say if there was a death in the book. That would be too big of a spoiler. But I will say in general that this was an emotional book. Surprisingly, I did not cry. I stayed calm on the outside, while internally I was freaking out.

I think it is worth mentioning that this book is not going to give you everything you asked for. I wanted all the characters to get somewhat of a happy ending. Different people may disagree on whether that happened or not. I personally struggled with the end. I understood it, and I thought it was great. The issue I had was that it was not what I wanted. I wanted a solid happy ending because I’m selfish and really enjoy happy endings.

Instead, I got a hopeful ending. And I think that it fits the book more than the ending that I wanted. It made sense for this series to end like this. Having a rainbow and cookies ending with a box on top would have felt random, and Leigh knew that. She made a good call. So I’m happy I did not get what I wanted. However, for my own selfish reasons I’m still a little sad that there was not rainbows and cake.

A part of me is hoping that Leigh will write one more book. Since the ending was hopeful, I feel the need to be hopeful that there will be more adventures with these characters.

I’m not familiar with the Grisha trilogy, but I do know that there were some familiar faces that showed up in this book. So that is exciting for anyone who has read those books.

Characters

To vaguely sum up all of the characters, I will say that they all are diverse, beautiful, strong, and defined characters. I enjoyed all of them. Every character brings something unique to the group and contributes to the overall awesome dynamic. There was so much character growth in this book. And it’s sad that there will not be any more books.

Kaz Brekker is my problematic, yet lovable son. He’s so ruthless. He always has a plan. I could see how that could be a turn off for some people, but I enjoyed that he was always the smartest person in the room. I really like Kaz’s POV. And it was a little frustrating that it took forever for us to get in it.

Kaz and Inej. Inej and Kaz. As I even think about these two character, I get tears in my eyes. To say that I wanted them together was an understatement. I needed them together. The chemistry between the two were amazing, and they are just perfect. This was my main ship; I was literally ready to go down with them.

I was immediately drawn to Nina in the first book. She was so funny, so sassy. And overall amazing! It was interesting to see her have this new power and try to cope with the events that happened in last book. The issue I have is that we did not really explore what happened to Nina after the conflict had be resolved. There was not much closure with her. I wish there was one more chapter in her POV.

Jesper was extremely funny. And his POV was always refreshing. I loved his humor. I loved that we got more backstory in this book from him. I understood him more. It was interesting to see his gambling addiction being explored. There was so much depth with him.

Also, I enjoyed him and Wylan’s moments. They were adorable. And like every other relationship, it was interesting to see how it played out. The dynamic between the two of them was great.

Wylan is such a cute little cinnamon roll. I enjoyed being in his perspective and finding more about his backstory. He is adorable. And his story was heartbreaking, and I wanted to give him such a big hug.

Inej is amazing. And I think she might be my overall favorites. I admire her strength. Like every character in this book, she is so strong. She has had a rough life, and she is still fighting. I was so invested in her character arc. And I’m pleased with how it turned out.

I’m not going to lie, I struggled with Matthias in the first book; I was so scared that he was going to kill Nina in it. Spoiler alert, he did not kill Nina. I think I enjoyed his character development the most. It was interesting to see him realize that his community were the ones that were in the wrong, and I found it interesting to see him develop to this extremely lovable guy. I did have an issue with how his story arc concluded. It felt a little unnecessary and anti-climactic. He deserved more.

He and Nina were adorable. I was completely here for the two of them together. There was so much laughter and love and they fit together like a perfectly shaped glove.

Final Analysis

Crooked Kingdom is a rush. An emotional, heart pounding, stressful, seat gripping rush that takes the crown for the best YA book I’ve read this year. The diversity in this book is outstanding, and everyone should read this duology.