Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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.

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— MY REVIEW —

I loved Six of Crows so the minute I finished it I went straight into Crooked Kingdom (which I highly recommend you do so you don’t torture yourself with a cliffhanger).

After Kaz and the crew survived the job at the Ice Court I was relieved! Everyone was alive and together and I was just one happy chappy.. but to find out the job was a scam?!?Ohh I knew Kaz would destroy Van Eck and anyone who was working with and I knew whatever his plan was it was going to be epic!

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And I was right! Just like Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom did not disappointed in the twists and turns and the unexpected.

If I thought I was on the edge of my seat reading Six of Crows, let’s just say I wasn’t even sitting down anymore for Crooked Kingdom. I was in panic-mode, anxious with sweaty palms reading this book. I was preparing myself for the worst. You guys know what. Death of a beloved character! Yup. It could happen at anytime and it certainly did here. I’m sad to say that I knew they wouldn’t all make it out alive but for one of them to die so suddenly by someone who wasn’t even one of the original bad guys in the book!?

⚠ WARNING WARNING WARNING ⚠

SPOILER ALERT!

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I cried. No wait. I bawled my eyes out when Matthias was shot and he struggles himself back to Nina just so he could see her one last time! Like what?!?!? Why !?!?! 😭😭😭

Why would Leigh Bardugo kill off a character in the way? Why would she kill her readers along with him!? My heart sank. For Mathias and especially for Nina. I felt like I was there with her. Crying and begging for Mathias to stay alive.

What made me cry even more was when she accidently brought him back with her power except it wasn’t really him anymore it was more like his body being commanded by her. It was just one HUGE sad part of the book! 💔

Sure, it was almost the end but still..

And speaking of the end of the book. It’s been 4 days since I finished it and I’m still reeling from the lack of ending. In my opinion anyways. I felt it was unfinished. So many things lingered and left open.

  1. Kaz and Inej were together – but not really. It wasn’t the result I was hoping for. It almost felt like the beginning of something between them rather than the big “fireworks” kiss that we’ve all been waiting for that should have after having gone through all of the things they went through. I don’t know. I just wished for more.
  2. Nina’s exit out of the storyline felt cut off. Yeah her plans were to go back to Fjerda to bury Matias and try and help as much Fjerdan soldiers as she could but I figured at the very end we would at least hear from her. See if she made it. Something? Anything? But there wasn’t, so I felt like if Leigh wanted to she could keep going and write another book in the fabulous story. (Here’s to wishing again!)
  3. Jesper: promising his father he would return to the farm once Wylan was settled back at his old home. But then they seem to be together too so how would that work? Was he just planning on visiting his dad or actually moving back? Because the way he said it to his dad it could be interpreted differently by each reader.
  4. Another thing with Kaz and Inej. Kaz has plans to rule Ketterdam, starting with The Barrel. Inej has big plans to command her own ship and crew and free slaves but yet she asked Kaz to help her. Once again, how will that work? Will he stay at Ketterdam whilst she sails around and they’ll just write to each other? And then there’s the question of her parents. Kaz (that sweety!) had gotten Nikolai (that’s right, he made an appearance!) to help find her parents. Will Inej go back with them first?
  5. The book ends with Pekka Rollins as the final chapter and point of view. This was the guy that Kaz wanted to destroy. I suppose when you look at it from a different perspective Kaz did finally destroy his life but the things he did to Kaz – that made him the way he is now you would think he would just kill Pekka in the end but he didn’t. It just makes you think, you know? Could Pekka return? Eventually?

There’s just so many unanswered questions and things left open. I want to know! It felt like an open ending which is worse than a cliffhanger because at least with cliffhangers there’s another book to read. Crooked Kingdom, as far as I know is IT! The book that was suppose to wrap the story up but I have more questions now than when the story initially began. Frustrating stuff right here! Haha. Or maybe I’m just overthinking everything. But these are questions that popped into my head the second I read the last page!

I love the bits of romance here and there whether between Nina and Mathias, Jesper and Wylan and yes of course between Kaz and Inej. I took whatever I could from those two but I was hungry for more. Lol!

There was the perfect amount of emotional heartfelt scenes, flashbacks and action that I was always hooked.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

This was such an easy read. Beautifully written story that draws you in instantly from start to finish. I’m still surprised how much I ended up loving these books considering The Grisha Trilogy was just average for me. If you haven’t fallen in love with each of the characters yet during Six of Crows then you would definitely be changing your mind after reading more about them in this one.

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I wish I could give this one full rating like Six of Crows then it would really be a fist-pumping series. But all the questions rattling around in my head really took points of my rating. But I still think this is an unbelievable book. The entire duology has become one of my all time faves now. It’s caused me to have book hangover (not as massive as Maas’ books) but nevertheless I’m having withdrawals.

No Mourners. No Funerals.


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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— MY REVIEW —

If you read my review on The Grisha Trilogy, you would know that I did not love at as much as the majority of readers did. But my friends insisted I read the trilogy first before I read Six of Crows to get a feel for the world and apparently some characters from those books were making cameos in this one so that’s what I did.

I’ll tell you now though. I don’t think it’s necessary for you to read the trilogy first before Six of Crows because it doesn’t affect the storyline or characters in any way. But in saying that, I started reading Six of Crows with a familiarity to the world already and how tough it is so..it’s up to you whether or not you want to start with The Grisha Trilogy first 🙂

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WARNING WARNING WARNING

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Now, onto my review.

This is probably the only place I can let out my opinions and rants in full so if you read ahead, be prepared for spoilers. Giving you a heads up now!

What can I say about Six of Crows? Well.. It was unbelievably phenomenal! There’s only a handful of books/ book series I can say are my total favourites and Six of Crows has been added to that list.

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I knew everyone who ha read it raved on about it but I didn’t want that affecting me because before I read The Grisha Trilogy, everyone was telling me it was that good and that I was going to love it as well…and well I didn’t. So I went into Six of Crows with no expectations except that it was in the same fictional world and that the characters would be similar in a way?

But I have to say it completely blew the trilogy out of the water for me. The characters in Six of Crows were a bunch of misfits that just meshed well together. They are an ultimate crew. The differences in each character, their personalities and the way they interact with one another is what sold this book for me.

The book is written in a point of view format. So each chapter is a character from their point of view. At first I thought it might be a little difficult to follow as there are six main characters here and all with a story to tell but it was very well written. It was easy to follow and it just flowed. I couldn’t read it fast enough and I couldn’t put it down.

You get to know each character, their past and how they came to be where they are now. I fell in love with all the characters. They’re the characters that have gone through the worst of the worst and are trying to get out it.

You have Kaz Brekker. The leader of this crew. The guy who has a plan within plan within a plan and so forth. He is the most complicated guy from them all (and quite possibly from any fictional character I’ve encountered). He’s the most intriguing. He doesn’t open up and when he does it almost seems like it was by accident. That alone kept me turning pages. He’s unemotional, very calculating and gives off that vibe of “this is all business” but the deeper you read the more you realise everything is not what it seems with the guy and you get hooked. I don’t know anyone who’s read this book and did not come away from it not falling in love with him. I know I did!! (Inej is one lucky chick!)

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There’s Inej (Aka Spider. Aka The Wraith). Quite possibly my favourite from them all if I had to choose 😉 She, I can’t help feel for the most. I know they’ve all gone through hell but if I went through what Inej had I would have been dead long ago. She has a strength in her that I gravitated towards from the get go. The thing she has going with Kaz doesn’t hurt the book either. Lol. I only wished there was more of it! Leigh Bardugo really knows how to torture her readers with little crumbs of romance. Haha.. oh sigh.

Then there’s Nina. Who I would say is the closest connection you would have to The Grisha Trilogy because she is a Grisha (or was training to become one) who is just trying to get back to her life but can’t until the mess she got herself into gets fixed. I love Nina. She’s spunky, funny, kicks ass, loves food. She’s very relatable. She’s so sassy. I loved reading her point of view. I love her backstory and the reason as to why she’s with Kaz and the crew.

Mathias. Oh man this guy. This guy is pure soldier. Until you get to read more of him. He may just be the tough yet sweet guy you’d be looking for in this book. The struggle he goes through with what’s right and wrong puts you on edge. I found myself literally talking to “him” whilst I was reading it. I was like “dude, c’mon!” Do you guys argue with fictional characters too? 😜

Jesper is the Sharpshooter and a hoot! He cracks me up with his flirty ways and untimely jokes and comments. I’m giggling just thinking about him now. He’s definitely the comedic relief in certain parts of the story where things are getting a little heated or problematic. He’s just a one of those guys who could cheer you up and he does. His friendship with Inej throughout this book had me smiling,his brotherly-like relationship with Kaz had my heart and his budding relationship with Wylan was one I did not see coming until later but I’m rooting for them!

Wylan is the kid in the group. Well they’re all pretty young in age but I see him as the baby of the group. Just because he seems like the naive, innocent, lost one from the crew. You almost think he’s a bit useless at the beginning (especially since he doesn’t know how to fight) but doesn’t mean he is. He is a Brainiac. I would keep an eye on him. He may just be the slyest of them all. 😉

I was surprised to read that the characters were only 16-18 years old which isn’t young (considering it’s a YA book) but when you read it you would never have guessed. I pictured them more to be in their early 20’s at the most but it doesn’t affect the experience one bit once you get your head around it.

The storyline is clever. So many twists and turns. I felt like I couldn’t pinpoint where the story was heading at all. Nothing was predictable. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

I wish it was longer than a Duology. This is a YA Fantasy fiction reader’s dream book!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND SIX OF CROWS!! I will shove people into bookstores, get them to buy it online, whatever! This is a must read! Full rating and more from me!!

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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

• Shadow and Bone •

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

• Siege and Storm •

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

• Ruin and Rising •

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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— MY REVIEW —

I thought I would review all three books in the series into one review. I read them a few months back but with life getting in the way this review is tad late but better late than never! This is going to be a an extra long one so I applaud you if you get through to the end 😀

Shadow and Bone (Book One): 

shadow_and_boneI had high hopes for this series and could not wait to get started. Everyone was raving on about The Darkling and to be honest it was the main reason as to why I wanted to read it. I was hooked from the first chapter. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I instantly fell in love with Mal but I was still very much curious about The Darkling and why he was everyone’s “favourite villain”.

Let’s just say when he finally came onto the scene I could see what people saw in him. He was the strong, powerful, dark, mysterious character. But there wasn’t enough there for me to say “yeah I love the guy”, you know? He seem like a misunderstood character at the beginning until he finally showed his colours and by then I was yelling at my book thinking “people like this guy??”. I thought he was villain. A typical, evil, cruel villain. Plain and simple. If anything I wanted him destroyed. I wanted Alina to wake up and smell the coffee. I wanted Mal to finish him off. But considering this was the first book in the trilogy, I knew that wouldn’t be the case (a girl could dream, right? hehe)

I found this book to be any easy read. It was probably the book I finished the fastest from all three just because I was already loving the fictional world and of course Mal 😉 But I have to say the halfway through the book it took a turn for me. It went from a really addictive read that I couldn’t put down to a slower pace during the second half. I also started finding Alina to be a little annoying just because she was indecisive until it was too late. There was just so much frustration reading this on and I disappointed at how quickly I went from loving this book to just liking it.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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Siege and Storm (Book Two): 

siege_and_stormAlthough this book introduces Nikolai who’s become one of my favourite characters, he wasn’t enough for me to give it a full rating. From all three books this one took the longest for me to finish just because I felt it dragged on. The pace was really slow and I have to admit the entire book was one big “plan” to go into war with the Darkling. I needed more action in the storyline. There was a lot of planning and taking the steps to make sure they were prepared (which they still weren’t) but there was no real battle. I was actually expecting this to be the book that had the big major war (or at least the beginning of it) but there was nothing like that. It was every underwhelming. 😞

I will say that the introduction of Nikolai in this book saved it for me. He was the sexy, flirty, funny privateer (almost like Captain Jack Sparrow or Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles)..you know the type. The little triangle between Alina, Mal and himself had me smirking all throughout. I wish I could explain in words why I found the storyline lacklustre. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. Usually people say the second book almost always tops the first but in this case (in opinion), Shadow and Bone was a lot more appealing.

RATING: ♥♥♥

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Ruin and Rising (Book Three): 

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The 3rd and final book in the series. I had high hopes this book would turns things around and finish with a bang!

So, did it?

Sigh.

Nope.

I figured the big battle between Alina and The Darkling that I thought would come in Siege and Storm would of course be in this book but I guess I blinked and missed it because one minute I was reading beasts flying around attacking people and darkness everywhere then the next The Darkling was stabbed and Alina holding onto him and comforting him in a way. It was all anti-climatic for me. It was one giant sigh but the end of that scene. I was seriously questioning if that was it?? By the end of it I realized this entire series was all about the Grisha themselves and what they could do and what they were capable of doing with their powers if there were no rules – not necessarily about The Darkling or Alina being their savior. This was just a starting off point for this world.

For those who don’t know Leigh Bardugo wrote Six of Crows which takes place in the same fictional world and I can’t help but think this trilogy has almost become a prequel? or a backstory of the world. It gives the readers an insight to it and to the people that live there. Well, that’s how I am seeing it now that I’ve read Six of Crows too.

It’s nice that the trilogy did finish off the story completely by telling us what happened to Alina and Mal and to Nikolai and what was left of the Grisha army. I love that it was all wrapped up and no questions needed to be answered. I don’t necessarily like the fact that Mal and Alina moved away from it all and decided to live a quiet life. It literally sounds nice after what they’ve gone through to finally be together but I just couldn’t picture them (especially) Alina walking away when she could’ve helped rebuild Ravka.

But hey… I’m just happy Mal lived on. Hehe.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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It’s a nice series overall. I would still recommend it to YA fantasy fiction fans. I know a ton of readers who loved this series so it’s really all about preference. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a read 😊 I do love the world. It’s definitely different from any other fantasy fictional worlds I’ve read about.

OVERALL TRILOGY RATING: ♥♥♥½

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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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