What a blow minding book was that! I read it really quickly and I just managed to stop myself from going to the next book. I have a beta to read and a few more books as part of a readathon I’m doing this month. I will try to get to “Crooked Kingdom” though as soon as possible!
In the inspiring world of Grishaverse there is more than Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han and Novyi Zem. There is Kerch and the city of Ketterdam. Ketterdam is a bustling hub of international trading, so close to Ravka and Shu Han, as well as the rest of the world. Thank’s to its harbors, it welcomes travelers from all over the world, many of them seeking the entertainment available in the Barrel, the pleasure district of Ketterdam. The Barrel is home to the criminal underworld and the rival gangs of the City. The Barrel is home to Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, Nina Zenik and Jesper Fahey. This dangerous lot is out for a heist!
Kaz Brekker is clever thief, one known for not being afraid to get his hands dirty, therefore he is also known as Dirtyhands. He is a born leader and one that plans everything into the smallest detail and anticipates and plans for anything that may come up or go wrong. With his abilities he turned the Dregs into a gang to be watched out. Kaz always does things for a reason, as Inej also mentions in the book, so he has a really good reason for wanting to make this crazy and almost impossible heist and this is why he wants the best crew to help him with.
Inej the Wraith will be with him of course. He is used to having her on his side, either visible, or lurking in the shadows, she is always there to watch his back and feed him with secrets. Inej is a skillful spy that goes unseen and unheard and therefore she is so successful on what she does. They will need more than that to succeed this job. They will need a powerful Grisha, a Heartrender that can be a bit of a Tailor and a motivated woman. A sharpshooter and a friend is always welcome to such a crew. So Jesper might be a gambler but he is found suit for the job and he can be of great use in the course of it. Unfortunately they are not enough. They are going to Fjerda so they will need someone they can trust, even by using a leverage, and who knows very well their destination. This is where Matthias comes in the view. The former druskelle might be currently imprisoned in Hellgate, but he won’t stay there for long. He will have a few more obstacles to go over in the process though. Going on a dangerous territory, the crew will need a demolition expert. There are a couple of really good demo experts in the Dregs, but Wylan is the one chosen to join the crew. Kaz has selected him for his own reasons, and being a son to one of Ketterdam’s wealthiest families is just one of them.
The story is just great. I mean it does sound like something simple, something anyone could write about. It’s a heist and they are a a crew of six to work it out. This is the main plot on a huge number of films and a few books as well. How different could it be? Well Leigh Bardugo has outdone herself and my other authors and screen writers. This is more than just a heist story.
First of all the premise is so different and at the same time so familiar. If you have read The Grisha trilogy then you are somewhat familiar with the premise. There is no Darkling and no Nikolai in here. This story evolves few years after the trilogy events, so you won’t see much of The Grisha characters mixing in the story. Also, this is not all around The Grisha and their powers. We see them here, that’s for sure, but not as all mighty, all powerful players. In Ketterdam for example they work for wealthy people or for other facilities. But they are part of the story, a big one that is.
Secondly, the characters are amazing! They are so well developed and unique, there was no way one could mix them up. There is background story to each and every one of the, backing up their current actions and their personality. There is so much behind the mastermind of the heist, the cunning Kaz, which is revealed on little doses at different parts of the book, explaining all his actions, feelings and behavior. Same goes also for Inej, Nina and Matthias. We learn quite a bit for Jesper too, but there aren’t many skeletons in his closet. The same goes for Wylan, for which we learn a great deal at the last 50 pages.
These last 50 pages feel like a punch. Bardugo creates a cliffhanger at the end of this page turner that makes you want to scream! Most of the readers cannot help themselves from reading Crooked Kingdom the next moment! I had to behave myself, otherwise, I would be writing two reviews today! The whole book was full of interesting plots, action and adventure that kept me going and making me think of what might be coming next. I had no idea how this would end, but when it came to that, I was furious!
I you have already read the book or even the duology, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Those of you that haven’t read the books yet, what are you waiting for???