Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Published October 4, 2016 by Indigo Books
Source: Hachette AU
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the most daring heist imaginable.But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, they're low on resources, allies and hope.While a war rages on the city's streets, the team's fragile loyalties are stretched to breaking point. Kaz and his crew will have to make sure they're on the winning side... no matter what the cost.
Crooked Kingdom picks up a week after the events of Six of Crows. Kaz and his crew are back in Ketterdram and now they have a serious situation to sort out. Despite being home, their troubles have only increased.
I was thrilled to be able to read this right after finishing Six of Crows, my heart was still racing from the ending of book one and I knew I couldn't rest until the crew had... retrieved their very important cargo... I'm being vague on purpose so as not to spoil readers. This book definitely didn't feel like it was over 500 pages long, I flew threw it in fewer days than it took me to read Six of Crows.
It was fantastic to get back to their group and already know them so well. In Crooked Kingdom we learn more about them which made the story more thrilling and extremely nerve-racking because I wanted them all to make it out alive.
It was great to see Ketterdam explored further and and learn more secrets about this harsh and dangerous city. I will say I got a bit lost in some of the business talk and the auction procedure but I just went with it knowing it would all make sense eventually.
I know a lot of readers are mourning the end of this duology and wishing it was a trilogy, but I am perfectly happy with just two books. A format like this, where plans are made and then foiled, dangerous situations are entered into and then escaped from, often become repetitive and formulaic. Thankfully the plot in book two kept escalating, but under a less skilled author it really could have fizzled and become boring. A third book probably would have been too much for my heart to take anyway.
Speaking of my heart, Kaz and Inej, ag! Those two made me so sad, happy, and heartbroken. They are my favourites, though I love the other four as well. Their scenes towards the end had me in tears.
Crooked Kingdom is the perfect sequel to Six of Crows. It takes the stakes and raises them. There's more action, more danger, more depth. It's hard to imagine the level of planning and editing that went into this story, but it was executed perfectly - much like a Kaz Brekker plan.
Ableist language: dumb, crazy.
Cover art: John Bartlett and Thomas Walker
Cover design: Rich Deas and Thomas Walker
Like Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom has a beautiful cover. I used a base of Natio Aura and acrylic paint for the design.