Crooked Kingdom

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By Leigh Bardugo

* * * * *

This book killed me, brought me back to life, and then killed me again.

This is a story based on layers. Scheme upon scheme, deceit upon deceit, twist upon twist. There is never not something happening, never not another trick up the sleeve and I absolutely loved it. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with all of these characters all over again.

The complexity that Bardugo brings to both the world and the characters that inhabit it, is completely astounding. I cannot even begin to describe how much of an improvement this series is on her previous Grisha Trilogy, and I loved Ruin and Rising. There is so much depth to these characters, they seem so real, as if you could reach out and touch them (or not touch them at all, in Kaz’s case). Each of them faces a million challenges and even as the world is beating them down they find a way to stand up and keep moving.

The plot is, of course, insane. The things the crew will do here make breaking into the Ice Court seem like a day in the park. I especially love how the entire book takes place only a few days after the end of Six of Crows, and the entire plot goes down in like a week. The tightness of it raises the stakes to whole new level, adding suspense and a sense of real danger for these characters.

And the relationships! I can’t leave those out. They were all great but Kaz and Inej tore my heart out. Theirs is I think one of the best, most pure relationships in YA. Pure, you say. Yes, yes I do. Theirs is a relationship not based on physical attraction, no lust. The two characters have never even touched each other! They both know each other’s misdeeds, each other’s bad sides and horrible pasts and want each other anyway. Kaz doesn’t mind Inej’s history in the Menagerie, Inej sees past Kaz’s heartless exterior, all while not putting up with his crap. They see the worst and best in one another and love it, and will go against their own self-interest and self-doubts to be together.

Seriously though, Kaz is amazing.

“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.”

If that is not love, I do not know what is.

My favorite thing about this book is the ending. And I don’t just mean that final Inej chapter which I reread about twenty times and managed to kill me each one. I mean the overall ending of the series, the final bow to tie it all together. My favorite books are the ones whose bow isn’t quite as neat. They are the ones that tie up a plot, yet leave both the world and the characters open. They did not solve all of the world’s problems, they did not find world peace and closed the book. This is just the ending of a chapter for them and so much more can come from it. I can imagine this world thriving and moving, I can imagine these characters having lives beyond that of this story and that is my favorite thing. (Especially because I am still hoping for a series on King Nikolai)

In the end, Leigh Bardugo is an evil genius. She is somewhere right now laughing at our misery, taking in our tears of pain and joy because she knows that she has written one of the best YA series that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

This book is dark and violent, it is romantic and sexy, it is absolutely entertaining. I recommend it to everyone.

Also, if Leigh Bardugo ever wants to write another epilogue, or like a ‘fast forward five years’ sort of thing, I would buy that in an instant.

 

This review was originally posted by me (Angelica) HERE.

Picture originally posted on our Instagram

 

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