I’ve been meaning to review these books for simply ages, but have been struggling to decide how to put into words my absolute adoration of this duology…so prepare for some serious gushing!
It actually took me a long time to get round to reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, even though they’ve been on my book radar for some time. I think a large part of the delay was my fear of the hype – a few well hyped series I’ve read haven’t lived up to my expectations (ahem, The Raven Boys, I’m looking at you!), and I really didn’t want to be disappointed in this series! Thankfully that wasn’t the case, so check out my mini-reviews to find out why (although beware: there may be spoilers!)!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Kaz Brekker is a criminal mastermind, notorious round Ketterdam for his cruelty and cunning. When he’s offered a chance to earn an insane amount of money he jumps at the chance…but has to find a crew of people crazy enough to attempt a heist on the impenetrable Ice Court.
First things first: I absolutely adored the characters! The six main characters are a varied bunch – Kaz is dark and dangerous, Inej is calm and capable, Jesper is fun-loving and reckless, Nina is vibrant and irreverent, Matthias is loyal and fierce, and Wylan is innocent and naive – and I loved every single one of them! I really enjoyed seeing the friendships and relationships between them grow as they transform from a ragtag group of misfits and criminals, with little trust between them, into a strong and resourceful team capable of defying the odds.
The witty banter between them and combination of personalities was really engaging and kept the moments of light conversation just as interesting as the more action-packed moments of the book. In a somewhat predictable way, the group did split quite neatly into couples, but I didn’t mind this, as all of their relationships felt convincing and were suitably complex (especially Kaz and Inej’s!), and I found myself shipping them all (but especially Jesper and Wylan! They were super cute, and definitely my two favourite characters!).
I also really liked the world of this book, with its’ combination of classic fantasy aspects and a much more modern and fresh twist: whilst there’s magic and merchants and fortresses aplenty, there’s also guns and pistols and bombs. I definitely intend to read the Grisha books that precede this series at some point just to see more of the world of Six of Crows, although I’ve heard they aren’t quite as good.
I also loved the heist aspect of this book, and when I really thought about it, I realised that whilst I’ve seen plenty of heist films I’ve never actually read a heist book! I think it was a plot device that really worked as a book, as there is the slow build of the characters plotting the heist, yet it never feels boring because you know you are heading towards a truly epic showdown at the end. I definitely finished this book absolutely desperate to read the second, anyway, so I got to Crooked Kingdom pretty quickly!
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
“I would have 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.”
Kaz Brekker’s crew have done the impossible, but things are far from perfect. Having been betrayed and with one of their crew captured they have to scramble to recover, and start making plans for their revenge.
I worried with this second book that it wouldn’t be quite as exciting as the first, what with the whole ‘heist’ thing that was such a selling point with the first book being done with, but thankfully I was totally wrong! The plots Kaz Brekker and his crew start conjuring up in this second instalment are even more daring and dangerous that their trip to the Ice Court in Six of Crows, and I love the way their plans keep being unexpectedly foiled and then completely turned on their head.
I definitely kept being surprised anyway by the many turns in the plot, but more than anything I liked returning to the characters as their friendships and relationships continued to develop and blossom, and in some cases, become more complicated. I loved getting more backstory on the characters as well, especially the history between Wylan and his father, as the matter of their estrangement was one unanswered question I had from Six of Crows. I also liked seeing Kaz get darker and more dangerous in his rage at having been double crossed, as well as his brotherly protectiveness towards Jesper starting to show, and his conflicted feelings for Inej and their future.
Overall I loved this book just as much as Six of Crows, and whilst I like this as a two-book series (and I can’t actually think of any other series with only two books in it off the top of my head!), I would have loved it to have been a trilogy just so I could get more of Kaz and his crew! For me this series really did live up to the hype, but I am a pretty big fan of anti-heroes, fantasy and heists (fictional ones, not committing actual ones, obviously!), which probably helped!
Have you read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom? What did you think?