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Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Where do I even start? I think this duology has become one of my favorite series ever. I connected with each of these characters so thoroughly and I felt every emotion with them. I’m currently crying over a few of these characters and I can’t believe it’s over. 


After Inej is taken from the crows at the end of Six of Crows, the crew must come up with a plan to save Inej, keep Kuwei away from Van Eck, and get the money that they deserve. 

With the crew low on resources, time, money, and hope, things only get worse when Pekka Rollins gets involved with Van Eck and they have two powerful enemies against them. 

The crows must stop an outright war surrounding the fate of the Grisha world, saving the dark and twisting streets of their beloved home in the process. 

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”

“So?” said Kaz.

“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”


Kaz Brekker. Oh how I love Kaz Brekker. I mean how can you not love him? Kaz’s tough demeanor was a constant throughout the book. We could definitely bits and pieces of it peeling away to make way for something newer and softer around his crew, however, when it comes to business, he’s all Dirtyhands. Kaz is like all of the other bad boy book boyfriends that exist in the YA fantasy universe, but this time, his trauma is something that controls his every step. We explore his dealings with the PTSD that’s triggered every time he’s touched by someone skin-to-skin, and we see him working past that as the book goes on. Kaz’s overwhelming sad story of his brother attracting the plague and passing away is something I’ll probably never get over, but I’m glad that Jordie got his justice by the end of the book and Kaz did right by his older brother by proving that he has what it takes to rule the world of Ketterdam. 

Now let’s talk about Jesper. We delve deeper into Jesper’s past in this book and I have to admit that I like him even more. I feel like Jesper has always been someone with a bit of a trigger-finger, and now that he’s been explained better, I can see why and where he gets all of his thoughts and actions from. Jesper hid his Grisha abilities because his father believed that it was what killed his mother, and while that’s sort of true, Jesper didn’t consider training his abilities because of that. But as the book goes on, we see Jesper come into his abilities and realize that they’re an asset to him, not something to be feared, and I loved that development!

Matthias Helvar. I loved Matthias. His character was so well written and it really showed his struggle between his instincts of hating the Grisha, to change into someone who admires their abilities and knows that the Grisha can either be good or bad depending on their use of their powers. I think it was really cool to see that kind of internal struggle with him, especially since he’s such a physically strong character that had a lot of sway with the crew. He’s also developed into someone who associates with the crows instead of being apart from them which I also loved to see. 

Wylan Van Eck really surprised me in this book. I started out still shocked from the revelation that he couldn’t read and his fathers decision to kick him out. As the book went on, Wylan’s insecurities were clear, but with each of Jesper’s taunts, Kaz’s hints that he didn’t need to read, Wylan grew past that insecurity and into a character that I found myself really enjoying. He wasn’t just a kid anymore, he was one of the crows. He could hold his own and do what needed to be done. 

Nina Zenik. Now I’m not really sure where to start with her. To be honest, I went into this book worrying that Nina would die from the parem drug, but instead she came out a different kind of stronger. Nina’s powers are no longer the ordinary Heartrender abilities that she previously possessed, no, this time, she can control the dead and that’s so much cooler! Nina overcame the powers of a drug that not many Grisha have been able to survive, and if that doesn’t show the strength of this girl then I don’t know what does. 

I left Inej for last because she’s still my favorite and I love her. Inej wasn’t the same powerful Wraith as she was in the last book. She started the book actually captured by Jan Van Eck and I was worried that my Wraith would lose hope, but she’s Inej, so of course she didn’t lose hope. Inej worked hard to get herself out of the containment building, and when it didn’t work out, Kaz stepped in and saved her. Inej is someone who is definitely more powerful than she looks, but she also has weaknesses. I love that about her. Her weaknesses are something I want to see from a character because it makes it more realistic! She’s still beautiful and amazing and incredibly talented, but she has weaknesses that make her who she is and I love that!

“Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.”


Kaz and Inej had such an amazing relationship that I had to create a whole new section to explore these. Their friendship was something I couldn’t get enough, the way they constantly looked out for each other without any heaviness, but as their relationship developed into something more, I found myself adoring every inch of it. I love that they have restrictions with each other, I love that they aren’t the perfect couple. That’s what makes them beautiful and special and something that I loved to read about. 

“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 and Nina is something that I’ll probably never get over. It’s like one of them wins only for the other to lose and while it’s beautiful, it had me bawling at times too. While their relationship is built off of a foundation of struggles, they manage to maintain it throughout the book and come out stronger on the other side. 

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

Jesper and Wylan. I don’t even know where to begin with these two because it’s a complete emotional roller coaster. Jesper and Wylan’s relationship had me laughing and crying pretty much all the time. They’re perfect for each other. They pick each other up and complete each other. I can’t even begin to explain the feelings that they give me and I love them so much. 

“Jes, I’ve thought about this-“

“Thought of me? Late at night? What was I wearing?”

“I’ve thought about your powers,” Wylan said, cheeks flushing pinker.”


Instead of the crazy Ice Court fortress, we took this book a little closer to home. Ketterdam. This beautiful city feels like home now and I have to admit that while it is grungy and is run mostly by gangs, it’s stunning. I loved discovering the different parts of this city, the smells and different types of areas. 


Bardugo had my attention from the first line of the book and held it throughout the entire time. I found myself thoroughly attached to each character, feeling everything they felt with them. I was on the edge of my seat throughout pretty much the entire book and I couldn’t get enough of it. 

In Conclusion… 

This book broke me and put me back together a million times and I don’t know how to cope. I need more content from the crows but at the same time, I love how it ended even if it did make me want to rip my heart out from the pain. These characters are something I’ll never forget and will probably come back to often (I’m pretty sure they’re my new comfort characters). 

I loved this book so much and I wish I could read it again for the first time. 

Rating: 5/5⭐

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