Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
Pages: 536
Song I Played While Reading: Ghosts N' Stuff by Deadmau5
Rating: 5 stars

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 pare, 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.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write a full review for Crooked Kingdom because it's hard to surmise feelings for a sequel that's as wildly loved as CK is. Like, do I really need to take this book apart and review every aspect of it if I loved it with my entire soul? If my heart was shattered into a million pieces and tears streamed down my face as I read the last page? Using technical terms is nearly impossible when all you want to do is let your fangirl fly free and scream; scream and scream over how unfair it is that this was only a duology, that there won't be any more Kaz and Inez, Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias. (At least for the next couple of years. I'm still holding out hope that Bardugo has a spin-off Nikolai series up her sleeve, and that our crew will pop up in it.)
I was comatose for a solid hour after finishing this. Alex from The Book's Buzz was generous enough to lend me her internet shoulder to cry on, and I wailed and bemoaned the book and certain events that took place on pg. 495. (Not that I memorized that entire chapter and its contents or anything?????) Leigh Bardugo hasn't just proved that she would be a Barrel boss in Ketterdam, oh no, she's proved that she would be the Crow Queen. The Crime Queen. Ketterdam's Queen. The Cunning Queen. Whatever you want to call her, she would be Kaz's equal in every way. I'm unable to fathom how she's created not only the heist in the first book, but all the politics and cunning and double-crossing in CK. My brain is unable to comprehend the scope of it, so I'll gladly bow down to her. Bardugo is truly a wordsmith, a master of thugs and thieves, and she's carved herself a spot in my heart for, let's be honest, the rest of my life. (Ruin & Rising also left me destroyed and scarred.)
I'm going to finish this off with two (ish) sentences that ruined me in this book.

"Mama!" she called out. "Papa!"

"I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way."

I'm getting that last one tattooed on my body. Don't you dare doubt my love for Helnik.

"But she's one of us."
Jesper's brows rose again. "One of us? Does that mean she knows the secret handshake? Does that mean you're ready to get a tattoo?" He ran a finger up Wylan's forearm, and Wylan flushed a vibrant pink. Matthias couldn't help but sympathize with the boy. He knew what it was to be out of your depth, and he sometimes suspected they could forgo all of Kaz's planning and simply let Jesper and Nina flirt the entirety of Ketterdam into submission."

"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."

"Matthias knew what it was to face the mentors you had idolized, to feel yourself become a nervous pupil again, yearning to please. He turned to Nina and said in Fjerdan, "Do not let them cow you.You are not the girl you were. You are not just a soldier to command."
"So why do I feel like finding a corner to sob in?"
"This is a round room. There are no corners."

"She smiled then, her eyes red, cheeks scattered with some kind of dust. It was a smile he thought he might die to earn again.

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

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