Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ★ ★
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：Find my review for Book 1 here.
When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.
Kaz Brekker and his crew 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.
✩ Kaz was a really focused character (he kinda had to be, being the mastermind). He was also cold at times but had these moments where you could see the good in him.
✩ Nina was funny whenever she interacted with Matthias. She was a shameless flirt and a good friend. She was really kind.
✩ Jesper was one of my favorite characters for pretty much the same reason as Nina. He was one of those characters that just made me laugh in the series. He was funny, a total flirt, and really sweet.
❝ ” […] why do you guys say that anyway? No mourners, no funerals? Why not just say good luck or be safe?”
“We like to keep our expectations low.” ❞
It’s bittersweet to be finishing up this series finally. I had so much fun reading it, enjoyed seeing this fantastic cast again, but I was also sad to know this was the end of the road. Although I haven’t read too many duologies, this is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever read.
As I said, the cast of characters was one of the biggest reasons for coming back to the book. I loved the interactions between the different friends and couples. The relationships between the crew made me laugh and cry. I love these characters so much. I was honestly sitting there at the end of the book just quoting all these great moments to my friends in Discord and telling them “That’s me” “That’s totally you” “Oh, this is so us!”. Honestly, so many squad goals in this book.
I think it’s easy to fall in love with these characters because they have so much personality. They feel like real people you might meet (and cower at probably). They’re complex and unique. This was something I noted in my review for Six of Crows because it’s honestly hard to juggle six characters and have them stand out from one another and it deserves to be praised.
Aside from the characters, you can also expect to be swept up in a great plot. Bardugo doesn’t fail to deliver on those intense oh-my-god-what’s-Kaz-got-up-his-sleeve moments. The stakes are higher in this book because it’s not just their lives in danger out there, it’s right here in the place they call home. Kaz was always scheming and we, as readers, only got to know part of it. I loved the thrill of seeing them in impossible situations only to see how Kaz’s brilliant planning got them out of trouble.
And because I can’t not talk about Kaz: I loved how much more vulnerable Kaz was in this book. He was always wearing a mask of calm in the Six of Crows, but this time around we get to see his insecurities, his fears, his desperate need for revenge. It made it easier to accept the bad things he did and really helped give him a more human quality. Giving him these moments made it easier to connect and sympathize with him. Not to mention I liked the development we saw in his relationship with Inej.
❝ “That’s where you’re wrong,” said Kaz. “I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.” ❞
Another character whose development I also enjoyed was Matthias. He turned around a bit in Six of Crows, but it was really in Crooked Kingdom where we get to see how much he’s truly changed. He sees things differently and understands how he let fear of the unknown poison him towards a whole group of people, and how that was wrong. I think what he said to Nina at the end of the book was just the perfect way to show his development. Of course, I can’t forget to mention how much I loved his moments with Nina. Her constant teasing was always funny ❤
Now, before I get caught up praising all the characters (even though they are totally praise-worthy), I’m going to talk about the ending. To sum it up: WOW! Honestly, it punched me in the gut. No spoilers, so I can’t say why but I was totally in shock over something that happened to one of the characters. It’s like you expect things to not be perfect but it still takes your breath away. Ahhhh! Even at the end of the book I was still like not really accepting it fully. Like it didn’t hit me until after.
But aside from that, the ending was impactful simply because of the way that Kaz handled his revenge. Part of me was like “he’s not as bad as people think, he could’ve done worse” but then when you take a step back it’s like “wow, that’s really cruel and just… genius. Evil, but genius”. I definitely had mixed feelings about Kaz being good or bad, and I was totally okay with that. I think one of the things that appealed to me was how gray his character could be at times.
It was also great because it showed him investing in his personal relationships with his crew members. He did so much for them… and it just made me love him for it. The ending gave Kaz’s character almost like a hopeful feeling to it because you could see that he’d survived Ketterdam, he didn’t let it swallow him whole. There was still some good in him and it was just a fantastic way to end the series.
So, yes, I absolutely 100% recommend this series! I’m definitely going to be catching up on the Grishaverse in the near future and I suspect Leigh Bardugo is going to quickly make her way onto my auto-buy list ❤