I recently finished Crooked Kingdom, the sequel and last book to Six of Crows and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year or ever to be honest. I read Six of Crows earlier this year and I’ll be honest, I liked it but I didn’t love it the way I loved Shadow and Bone. The plot dragged for me a little but I did for the characters (still a solid 4/5 stars mind you). Crooked Kingdom blew me away.
If you haven’t been convinced to pick up these books yet here’s six (heeeh see what I did there?) reasons why:
- Perfectly flawed characters - who wants to read about perfect characters anyway? Is there even such a thing? What would be the point if they’re not interesting? Every single one of these characters has so many layers to them. They make the choices that the privileged don’t have to make. They make the hard choices that should make us hate them but we love them instead. Leigh Bardugo writes such depth to these characters (Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, Wylan), the more you read on the more you understand the things they do.
- Tackling tough issues - sex trafficking/forced prostitution, what refugees have to face, addictions (drugs/gambling), racism, phobias this series has it all. Leigh Bardugo takes issues that are present in our current day and tackles them head on. She takes it seriously, she treads carefully but persistently to put it into perspective. It’s still YA but it brings to light all these issues for the reader and makes us SEE. It was horrifying and at times uncomfortable but this is necessary.
- It’s a freaking heist - I mean how much more exciting can it get? All the planning and strategising and layers upon layers of scheming! And in the end will they pull through? ONLY YOU WILL KNOW IF YOU READ IT. Leigh Bardugo is an absolute fracking genius to come up with everything. There’s scheming then there’s one upping the schemers and then some. How to even?
- Inej Ghafa - my leading lady. She is amazing. After everything she’s been through she still holds so much hope and love inside her. How she can see the light after everything is beyond me. She’s a symbol to not give up. When things are at their worst she still stands strong. I admired her so much and my heart broke at her pain.
- Diversity - all the characters are different nationalities. I love fantasy books because authors make up different nations and races and they tackle racism in this way. But not just diversity of race and colour, but diversity of sexuality, diversity of religion. The characters have different values and there’s clashing, especially in the first book but it’s amazing to see them work through these or agree to disagree and just get along with their lives and not let them affect the mission at hand. Acceptance requires understanding and the books are a journey to this.
- The writing and world building are stunning - Leigh Bardugo has a way with words. If you’ve read the Grisha trilogy, Leigh Bardugo expands so much on her Grishaverse outside of Ravka. If you haven’t read the Grisha trilogy you should totally read that too! Anyway, we’re pulled in the Barrel - the slums of Ketterdam and its corrupt world. Leigh’s introduced whole languages to add to the world as well as Barrel slang to really make the reader feel like they’re part of the gangs. It’s a gritty and dark world enhanced by decadent language that flows.
HAVE I CONVINCED YOU YET? Well here’s bonus reasons:
- The books are visually stunning - I felt like showing them off while walking down the streets, with the gorgeous covers and black/red sprayed edges. And inside there’s MAPS. YES MAPS *squeals with glee* what’s a better fantasy than a book with maps??? Also gorgeous chapter headings
- There’s only 2 books - YAY AND NOOO because it’s over but you can read it all in 1 hit! And then suffer the intense withdrawal with the rest of us.