Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked-Kingdom-Cover-Image.jpg

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 27th 2016

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

“Suffering is like anything else. Live with it long enough, you learn to like the taste.”

After completing the most complex heist in history Kaz and his gang are double crossed. With his spider kidnapped and out thirty million kruge he has to find a way to change the game. New enemies keep appearing and the stakes are higher than ever. Will a bunch of criminals be able to weather the storm?

Bardugo has created a fantastic cast of characters with dubious morals that leads to a far more exciting story than good guy wins again. Using the groundwork set up in her original trilogy the world is already well-developed and complex, but Ketterdam is a creature all it’s own. It’s nice to see a small peace of world come so vibrantly to life.

Crooked Kingdom is slightly more of slow boil than it’s predecessor, one long con working up to a grand finale but all the action is still there. Each scheme is more interesting than the last and it is immensely satisfying to watch things unfold in terror before figuring out Kaz has everything in control.

Despite the objective brilliance of her world and plot, Bardugo’s characters outshine everything. The glimpses into their past are both intriguing and incredibly important for understanding why they are who they are. The dialogue is funny, deep and natural. Kaz is a monster, but one that readers will root for with all their hearts despite his awful deeds. Bardugo’s cast is diverse, interesting and all equally well-developed with their own point of view chapters.

I think, most of all, Bardugo’s portrayal of damaged but flourishing people is what really makes this book a masterpiece. A cripple with awful PTSD. A multiple rape survivor. Two addicts struggling to stay clean. A person raised in hate learning to be better than before. A boy who can’t read struggling with self-image. Their various issues are made clear – but they are not their sickness. Bardugo has made them strong, funny, and real. They are not caricatures to be pitied.

Funny, heartbreaking, exciting and well written. Bardugo has hit the nail on the head again and I cannot remember the last time I devoured a story that tasted so sweet.

For Fans Of: The Name of the Wind

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