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7 Weighty Things about Jodi Meadows’s “When She Reigns”

“When She Reigns”

Fallen Isles #3

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: The Great Abandonment has begun, Idris has risen and no one knows which Fallen God will rise next. As Mira and her friends scramble to find a way to save everyone, their worst fears are confirmed when they learn that the dreaded Empire is working with Anahera. With two foes to fight, Mira takes a risk and goes to the Queen of the Empire to propose a new agreement between the Isles and the Empire. But they may be out of time. Once the double eclipse takes place, the Great Abandonment will be complete and the Fallen Isles will be no more.

7 Weighty Things about Jodi Meadows’s “When She Reigns”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. LGBTQ Inclusive

The Fallen Isles world is inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Through the trilogy, there is a lesbian couple who are side characters and part of Mira’s core group of friends. But in “When She Reigns” there is a scene in which politicians and other influential people are condemning the isle of Idris for not allowing men to marry men or women to marry women.

2. Aaru

Aaru has been a favorite throughout the Fallen Isles Trilogy and happily in “When She Reigns” he begins to speak verbally again showing that he is healing from all he has suffered. One of my favorite things about Aaru is his thoughtfulness especially in regards to Mira. He never rushes her, he does not chastise her, but most importantly he allows her to make her own decisions. Aaru respects that everyone has a right to choice, no human should be able tell another human what they can or cannot do if no one else is being affected.

3. The Empire

While brief, “When She Reigns” takes place in the Empire and though the interactions were sometimes less than pleasant, it was nice to be able to see the Empire and have some of the characters’ misconceptions corrected. One thing that stuck out was Mira being surprised that people of the Empire looked like herself and others of the Isles to the point where they could easily blend and secretly spy without being detected as foreign.

4. Consequences

The Fallen Isles Trilogy overarching plot revolves around the fact that the humans of the Fallen Isles did not protect dragons, the children of the gods, and the consequences are catastrophic. There is a mirror to our world about how we have destroyed our planet across the generations and still are not coming together to fix it. Much like the governments of the Fallen Isles, there are partial attempts, half-assed declarations and intentions that do not solve the problem but are deemed good enough as a means to save face.

5. Sacrifice

Mira’s sacrifice was not what she expected and it was utterly heartbreaking when LaLa and Mira tried to come together before she relinquished her dragon soul. Though it was her dragon soul she needed to sacrifice and not her human life, which was a mercy in many ways, it was still devastating. But a sacrifice is never truly worthy unless it is something you love. Regardless, Mira made it allowing herself and her friends to survive the Great Abandonment.

6. Death and Rebirth

Meadows effectively utilizes the concept of death and rebirth in “When She Reigns.” Through the Great Abandonment and the sacrifice of Mira’s dragon soul, a new dawn arises. A natural cycle, death allows new life, an ending creates a beginning. While death is difficult, there is a purpose and there can be joy found in the sorrow and Meadows paints this beautifully.”

7. Conclusion

Overall, the Fallen Isles Trilogy conclusion is rather bittersweet but fitting. A new island is formed by Mira’s sacrifice but many people of the Fallen Isles perished and those that survived are left giftless now that their gods are gone. Regardless, they are left with a fresh start, a second chance to take care of the dragons and create a better life for them all.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

6 Affective Things about Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends”

“As She Ascends”

Fallen Isles #2

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: Escaped from the Pit, Mira and her friends are on the run as they are pursued by Khulani warriors led by Altan, their imprisoner and torturer. As they travel across the Fallen Isles searching for a safe sanctuary for the dragons, they come to realize that the conspiracy to capture and ship off the dragons may have not been limited to just Damina. Governments on each Isle may be complacent and their gods are angry. As quakes and storms ravage the Fallen Isles, Mira realizes that the Great Abandonment has begun and it may be too late to save her beloved dragons.

6 Affective Things about Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Inclusion

With the exception of one Isle, being of the LGBTQ community is widely accepted in the Fallen Isles world and Meadows includes a lesbian couple as part of Mira’s core group of friends.

2. The Fallen Isles

The Fallen Isles world is enriched due to the vastly different cultures, traditions, and values seen on each isle. Most importantly though is that Meadows includes examples of misunderstandings and missed opportunities that may arise due to making assumptions, stereotypes, and judgments about others based on their culture.

“We’d both spent those moments making incorrect assumptions about propriety and culture and intention when we should have just talked.”

Meadows 456

3. Aaru & Mira

Ever the romantic, my heart was so happy when Aaru and Mira finally kissed and professed their love. It was nearly torture for almost two whole books of them looking at each other longingly and then deciding that the other didn’t actually like them.

4. Anahera

Surprising twist to find out that perhaps the Empire may not be the big bad but it is actually the Fallen Isle Anahera who are collecting the dragons and noorestones. Believing that cleansing fire is the way to redemption, Anahera would want nothing more than the Great Abandonment to come about in order to “save” the world. Looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds and to learn more about Anahera but I must admit some hesitance in believing a spy from the Empire.

5. Dragons

As a dragon lover and overall animal lover, it was hard reading about how distressed and sick the dragons were. But thankfully I can rejoice and can continue reading the Fallen Isles Trilogy knowing that for now the dragons are free and well. Mira’s affinity for dragons is amazing and I’m absolutely jealous!

6. When She Reigns

Thankfully Jodi Meadows’s Fallen Isles Trilogy concludes in the next book “When She Reigns.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Dealing with Death during Covid-19

As I’m writing this post I am grieving. Grieving for the sudden loss of a beloved aunt and uncle taken suddenly due to a car accident. A car accident simply caused by a semi-truck driver being too distracted. Too distracted to notice traffic coming to a stop before ploughing into my uncle’s car and killing my aunt and uncle instantly. While part of me is grateful that no one else was seriously injured or killed, I cannot help my shameful wish that it had been someone else’s family to have been affected so tragically. I also cannot seem to contain my staggering rage at the truck driver who was “distracted.” Distracted by what?! What was so important that you took your eyes off the road? Your one job while driving is to drive, paying attention to the road at all times. I am trying to be compassionate and realize that it was an accident and obviously, I know nothing about the truck driver, what they were going through that day, what their life is like, or even their working conditions. I am trying to imagine the guilt that they, or anyone else who has killed another in a car accident, may feel. But if I’m honest, my compassion is being smothered by my anger; the want to hurt this person as deeply as they have hurt me and my family is astounding. 

And while I grieve for my loss, I am grieving for the fact that I cannot be with my family during this crucial time. While many of my family is able to gather together to offer support and comfort to each other, I live hours away and while in any other circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to drive those few hours to be with them, I have to remain at home due to my high risk of complications with Covid-19. This fact is eating at me as nothing else has since the pandemic began.

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways. While governments and politicians have been largely concerned with the effects on the economy, the effects are most devastating for a family dealing with death. When a loved one passes, there is nothing more cathartic than gathering with others you know cared for them as much as you did, who understand how special that person was and how irreplaceable they truly are. This comfort is almost indescribable and has never been so glaring to me until this moment. Others can empathize, they can offer their love, support, and compassion but it is nothing like being in the company of those that share common memories with the departed, who understand wholeheartedly what was lost. 

I will never get the opportunity to mourn with my family over the loss of my uncle and aunt because of Covid-19. I will not be surrounded by those who remember my uncle as the rock of the family. An uncle who even after hours of work and driving around, would do more driving to visit a sick family member on a whim to brighten their day. An aunt who made me a delicious yellow chicky cake on my birthday from scratch, simply because she could, knowing my favorite toy was a giant stuffed chicky. An aunt and uncle who helped other family members financially, even when they didn’t have money to spare. An aunt and uncle who laughed and smiled easily, making any family gathering without them less bright, their absence always felt immediately.

Due to Covid-19, I will miss out on the funeral of my aunt and uncle. Many people fail to realize how important rituals are to us as a species. Every human society has had rituals for the dead as it allows closure and healing to take place, it is a way to say “goodbye” and wish them well on their next journey. Due to having cancer and other health risks, I cannot be physically present for any gathering, thus my aunt and uncle’s funeral, as the potential of exposure to Covid-19 is too high. 

Most importantly though, due to Covid-19 I won’t be there for my family. I cannot go to my family and hug my two cousins who have lost not just one parent, but both on the same day. I cannot offer the comfort of my presence or help them with anything they need. I cannot even offer them a place to stay while they are grieving so that they aren’t alone. There are no words to truly express how much this pains me. 

When this pandemic began, putting my health first and keeping physical distance from others seemed like a no brainer and not much to ask from my family and friends. But now it seems unbearable. I’ve never been more angry about the fact that I have cancer. I’ve never been more upset about the pandemic until now. And these words are truly inadequate to describe how I’m really feeling. 

I know I am not the first one who has dealt with loss during Covid-19, nor will I be the last. I am one of millions who has and will have to endure this terrible predicament. While I normally would have written these thoughts in my personal journal, I thought to write it here just in case it resonated with someone else. You are not alone. I care and hope that you find a small bit of comfort in that fact.

OwlCrate Book September 2017: “Before She Ignites” by Jodi Meadows

“Before She Ignites”

Fallen Isles #1

by Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: Mira, the Hopebearer, beloved to the people of the Fallen Isles, finds herself in the most unimaginable situation, imprisoned in the notorious and brutal Pit. When she went to the Luminary Council after finding out that dragons, the children of the gods, were being kidnapped, Mira expected outrage and a swift plan to stop the culprits. Now she must consider that it was her government, the Luminary Council, that sanctioned this affront to their gods. Mira must find a way out of the Pit to save her cherished dragons and stop the Great Abandonment, the rise of the Fallen Gods, from happening.

OwlCrate Book September 2017: “Before She Ignites” by Jodi Meadows

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Dragons

Probably my favorite fictional creature, I love dragons. I totally relate to Mira’s character of absolutely cherishing them and wanting to protect them at all costs. In the Fallen Isles world, dragons are children of the gods and endangered thanks to humans. Bit of a reflection of how we are killing our own beautiful animals on planet Earth.

2. The Fallen Isles

The Fallen Isles world is unique and utterly beautiful in its myths and constructs. The Fallen Isles are actually gods who fell from the sky and are known as the Fallen Gods. Each Isle has a unique culture, government, and religious book based on their Fallen God.

3. Gifts

Each of the Fallen Gods have gifts or powers that people of their island are bestowed. Some of them include being able to create silence and/or hear exceptionally well from Idris the Silent, increased speed, reflexes, strength from Khulan the Warrior, charm and allure from Damya and Darina the Lovers, Harta the Daughter allows her people to promote growth of plants, and people of Bopha the Shadow are able to manipulate shadows.

4. Anxiety

I’m really curious to know if author Jodi Meadows actually suffers from anxiety and panic attacks because she really captures this insidious mental condition very well. The main protagonist, Mira Minkoba, suffers from panic attacks throughout the Fallen Isles Trilogy and it actually caused me to experience some anxiety while reading because Meadows does a very accurate job of describing the feelings. As someone with mental illness, I always appreciate books that include characters with mental illness as it is a way to destigmatize it and help others to understand and realize we are human too, not crazy. Also provides great examples of someone being able to thrive regardless of mental illness.

5. Friendship

“Before She Ignites” portrays friendship at its finest. Mira’s best friends Ilina and Hristo attempt to spring her free from her imprisonment at the risk of their own lives and freedom. Even though dehydrated and a prisoner himself, Aaru gives Mira water and stays with her when she unleashes uncontrolled power. Mira chooses to go back to the Pit to free her friends instead of running free when she could have. These friendships are absolutely inspiring!

6. As She Ascends

The Fallen Isles Trilogy continues in Jodi Meadows’s “As She Ascends.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

10 Kingly Things about David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

by David Grann

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Living a life of luxury during the 1920s, the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were the envy of many and this envy took a deadly turn. Members of the Osage tribe began dying under suspicious circumstances and anyone who investigated were murdered as well. With the rising death toll, the newly put together FBI gets involved and exposes a large conspiracy that will haunt the Osage for generations to come.

10 Kingly Things about David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Educational

Killers of the Flower Moon was an absolute eye-opener, I’ve never even heard about the Osage Nation and definitely not about their murders. This novel was a wealth of knowledge about the Osage Indians, the Osage murders, and also the beginnings of the FBI. It is a testament of the atrocities we can do to fellow human beings due to prejudices and believing they are less-than.

2. Osage Indians

David Grann showed the utmost respect when talking about the Osage Tribe and their people throughout Killers of the Flower Moon. Grann gave background and described some practices of the Osage people but he did not attempt to be an expert and he did not make stereotypes. He did not portray them as ignorant savages who need pity nor did he portray them as nature protecting shaman who should be revered.

3. White Power

Ultimately, the Killers of the Flower Moon is a story of how whites took advantage and even killed many members of the Osage Tribe during the 1920s for their money. And they got away with it because of prejudices and discrimination against Native Americans. Many of the whites in the county including judges, policemen, and doctors were complacent, no one cared about the rich Indians and there was an overall attitude that these crimes were okay because they were benefiting white people.

4. Good Whites

On the flip side, David Grann makes sure to show that not all whites in Osage County were involved with the conspiracy. There were some white men who honestly tried to solve the Osage murders and found themselves killed as well. And then there was Comstock, an affluent white citizen of Osage County who openly and willing assisted investigators.

5. New Information

One of the most important things that came out with David Grann’s investigation into the Osage Murders was that there were more killings than just what the FBI investigated and pressed charges for. Through Grann’s research he found that hundreds of Osage Indians had died at a much higher rate than normal and that all of them had money being overseen by whites. Grann uncovered a conspiracy that went farther than what was once believed and the victims will never have justice.

6. Writing

While incredibly heavy with dates, facts, and overall information, Killers of the Flower Moon does not read like a history textbook. Instead Grann does an exceptional job of uncovering the facts, people, and places in a story-telling way and he keeps his readers engaged with great pacing, beautiful descriptives, and a layer by layer reveal of the conspiracy and its key players.

7. Context

Another exceptional writing skill that Grann displays is that of contexts. Grann makes sure to explain customs or norms that were different during that time period. He also includes background on numerous characters allowing readers to better understand their motives, values, and choices. And Grann also includes reminders of who people are in relation to events. This was incredibly helpful and allowed for easy understanding without having to flip back in the book or to look something up.

8. Now

Even though the events of the Osage murders occurred during the 1920s, Grann visited Osage County and interviewed relatives of those who were directly involved. This is so powerful because of generational trauma and the fact that so many of the murders did not get investigated. Grann looks at the repercussions on a people who have been abused and neglected by the government and justice system that was meant to protect them. 

9. Pictures

Throughout Killers of the Flower Moon are pictures. Pictures of people, sometimes places but pictures to help remind you that these are not fictional characters. The tragedies that happened in Osage County during the 1920s were real. Killers of the Flower Moon isn’t a fictional mystery novel and the pictures help provide context but also to drive that fact home.

10. References

There was extensive research done for the Killers of the Flower Moon and Grann has both an “Archival and Unpublished Sources” and “Selected Bibliography” included at the end. It is proof that Grann did his work and provides credibility to all information presented in Killers of the Flower Moon. It is hard to realize that this tragic tale is not fiction but rather a true tale of horror that many people lived through. 


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

“Five Dark Fates”

Three Dark Crowns #4

by Kendare Blake

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Katharine is the Queen Crowned, yet her two sisters still live and the island is not happy about it. The mist that once protected and concealed the island now raises up to gruesomely slaughter all who come into contact with it. As Queen Mirabella seeks out Queen Katharine to find a peaceful solution, Queen Arsinoe prepares for war, backing the rebellion of the Legion Queen. All the while, Queen Katharine is finding that she may have doomed the whole island as she is the Undead Queen and may not be able to control the rageful dead queens inside of her.

5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Gifted

Many residents of Fennbirn are gifted with supernatural powers. There are the elementals that can manipulate the elements of earth, air, fire and water, with Queen Mirabella being the strongest one in a long time. Then there are the poisoners such as Queen Arsinoe that are able to ingest poison, withstand them, and have uncanny abilities creating them. Naturalists like Queen Katharine are able to influence plants, communicate with animals, and usually have a familiar. Then there are the oracles or seers and the warriors who are war-gifted and have exceptional fighting skills.

2. Concept

Overall, the concept for the Three Dark Crowns is pleasantly unique. A set of triplets are born each generation by the preceding queen and then those triplets must battle to the death. The remaining girl becomes the Crowned Queen and reigns until she bears the next set of triplets. Very dark and twisted.

3. LGBTQ

Blake includes a LGBTQ romance budding between Jules and Emilia. There also seems to be no uproar from other characters so in the Three Dark Crowns universe this is accepted and appears to be viewed as normal. Hopefully we can get there one day!

4. The Queens

While they have been taught and raised to not trust each other, the three queens do attempt to work together. They remember that they loved each other once and that perhaps they can be there for each other instead of against each other.

5. Conclusion

“Five Dark Fates” has an overall happy ending for such a bloody and dark tale. Queen Katharine redeems herself in many ways, even though she was never truly monstrous. The Legion Queen is crowned and the island begins to change. There is no more mist to conceal Fennbirn and the reign of the three queens is finally over. And although Billy has left back to the mainland, “Five Dark Fates” ends with Arsinoe leaving to find him.

What were your favorite things about “Five Dark Fates”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Sassy Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Seduction”

“Midnight’s Seduction”

Dark World #9; Dark Warriors #3

by Donna Grant

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Finally free from her curse and able to see, Saffron wants nothing more but to get revenge against the Druid who tortured her. With the help of the enticing Warrior, Camdyn, Saffron stands a chance until she starts wanting Camdyn more than her revenge and Camdyn doesn’t seem even interested. But when Saffron is captured once again, Camdyn swears to slay all who get in his way till she is by his side once more.

7 Sassy Things about Donna Grant’s Midnight’s Seduction

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Camdyn MacKenna

While all the Warriors have pasts filled with loss, trauma, grief and regret, Camdyn’s story was quite heart wrenching. He was married once and watched his wife not just grow old and die but become bitter and unhappy with their marriage because he was immortal.

2. Kristin

Kristin was a side character that was introduced in “Midnight’s Lover” and secretly planted at the MacLeod castle by Declan. Happily, the Druids and Warriors have figured this out and while it is sad that she died, good riddance, who knows what kind of damage she could have done.

3. Laria

“Midnight’s Seduction” was full of “finally” moments, read on to come across more. So many things happened in this novel that readers have been waiting for. One of those being Laria. Not only were the Warriors and Druids able to find Laria but they also awakened her. Time to kick some Deirdre ass!

4. Malcolm

Finally, finally Malcolm has redeemed himself! While never truly bad, Malcolm has made some poor choices and has been following Deirdre, becoming one of her henchmen. Regardless, when it counted he made the right choice and turned the tide to ensure Deirdre’s demise.

5. Deidre’s End

Deirdre has finally met her end at the hands of the Warriors, Druids, and her sister Laria. While the death of Deirdre cost Laria’s life, it was absolutely necessary and a long time coming. Victory dance!

6. New Beginnings

With a happy ending of Saffron and Camdyn being together, their union was made so much more magical with finding out that Saffron is carrying his child.

7. Midnight’s Warrior

Donna Grant’s Dark World series continues in Book 4 of the Dark Warriors series, “Midnight’s Warrior.”

What were your favorite things about Midnight’s Seduction?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

9 Knightly Things about Leigh Bardugo’s “King of Scars”

“King of Scars”

Grishaverse #6; Nikolai Duology #1

by Leigh Bardugo

NIKKI’S RATING: 9 OUT OF 10

Summary: Trying to save Ravka from another war, Nikolai is doing all that he can to save his country. Then one night, he is taken over by the monster, the Darkling’s monster that possessed Nikolai months ago but has been absent since the Darkling’s death. Knowing he must secure the Latsov line, Nikolai calls a lavish festival, inviting all the important influential families in the world, in order to help choose a bride but the Saints have other things in mind.

9 Knightly Things about Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Grishaverse

A return to Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, we get to catch up with some characters from both the Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the Six of Crows series. Love it when I get to return to some old fictional friends! After “Crooked Kingdom” is was a relief to read about Nina and see how she was coping with the death of Matthias and her promise to him.

2. Nikolai

Nikolai Lantsov is one of my favorite characters from the Grishaverse. He is a dashing king with an adventurous spirit, devilish charm, and fantastic humor. But most importantly, he is a king that cares about his people and wants only the best for his country. Nikolai is not interested in personal glory, power, or money.

3. Isaak

While short-lived, Isaak was truly an enjoyable character. A simple guard pretending to be King Nikolai to keep Ravka safe from enemies, Isaak stumbles through the role quite hilariously. As Isaak states:

“I was just so excited, finally something went wrong and I had nothing to do with it”

Bardugo 406
4. Zoya

Zoya Nazyalensky, I have come to really like her after nearly hating her when she was first introduced. In “King of Scars,” readers get to know more about her background and how deeply she cares for those around her and how much loss she has already dealt with. One of the last things Juris says to her really resonated with me:

“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself”

Bardugo 464
5. Saints

Who knew that a “saint” could be such a fucking bitch?! Ugh, so not a fan of Elizaveta for many reasons. Regardless, it is very neat to have the Grishaverse’s Saints feature as actual characters in “King of Scars.”

6. Grisha Power

In each book so far in the Grishaverse series, Bardugo has revealed new information about the universe and the magical workings in it. In “King of Scars” we learn that the Grisha have severely limited themselves in their training and teachings of their powers and the use of amplifiers as they did not embrace the true concept of like calls to like. Are we not all things?

7. The Darkling

Not sure if I have ever been so excited to have a bad guy come back! The Darkling is very intriguing and seductive, I can’t help but like him. Hoping that perhaps he will change his ways, do good things and redeem himself but sadly, this is probably wishful thinking. Very curious to see how this is all going to turn out.

8. Writing

As always, Bardugo provides an engaging, imaginative story with good pacing and charming characters. The writing is clear, providing description to set scenes but is not overwhelming or stifling to the story.

9. Nikolai Duology

While no title or release date, this series is called the Nikolai Duology so there will be a second book and the Grishaverse shall continue, hopefully very soon.

What were your favorite things about King of Scars?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Cunning Things about Leigh Bardugo’s “Crooked Kingdom”

“Crooked Kingdom”

Grishaverse #5; Six of Crows #2

by Leigh Bardugo

NIKKI’S RATING: 8 OUT OF 10

Summary: Double-crossed by a merchant and the man who killed his brother, Kaz Brekkar is preparing to go to war. As his gang of misfits come together to save the Wraith and even the score, Kaz will need be the ruthless monster of The Barrel as they take on not just two men but the whole town of Ketterdam as word gets out that Kaz is protecting the only person who can create parem, the super addictive and deadly drug that gives Grisha god-like powers.

8 Cunning Things about Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Grishaverse

“Crooked Kingdom” features characters from the Shadow and Bone Trilogy and even though it is a brief glimpse, it is always to see previous characters again. It is like bumping into an old friend.

2. World Building

Bardugo has done an amazing job of building the Grishaverse world and she continues weaving the tapestry. One element of world building that is very prominent in “Crooked Kingdom” is the politics in Kerch. It is drastically different in comparison to Ravka or Fjerda making her universe believable and brings diversity to her fictional world.

3. LGBTQ

As with her previous novels, Bardugo includes characters who identify as LGBTQ. Jesper and Wylan are adorable and thankfully Wylan gets his own face back to keep Jesper from making mistakes again.

4. Raising the Dead

While Nina grieves the loss of her original powers, her new powers are pretty badass while also disturbing. Basically a necromancer, Nina can control the dead in certain aspects, a perversion of her Corporalki powers after consuming parem.

5. Balance

One of my favorite elements of the Grishaverse is the universe’s mandate of balance. This was seen in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy in many ways, the Fold being created by the Darkling on accident, a place where his powers were utterly useless and then when Alina attempts to become super powerful, her powers are scattered amongst thousands of others and she is left with nothing. In the Six of Crows series we see this with the madness and death usually brought on by the consumption of parem or in Nina’s case, since she survived, her powers were altered. There is a cost, a balance to be maintained.

6. Emotional

“Crooked Kingdom” kept me on my toes mostly because I was so afraid of one or more characters dying and then when everything seemed safe Matthias was killed. I’m still upset about this death, Nina and Matthias were meant to have a happily-ever-after. It was so devastating to read their goodbye scene, absolutely killed me!

7. Hope

Regardless of the pain, turmoil, and trauma that all the characters have gone through, especially Kaz and Inej, “Crooked Kingdom” ends on a positive note. The book concludes with each character planning for the future, a brighter one, each of them grasping onto hope.

8. King of Scars

With the glimpse of the characters from the Shadow and Bone trilogy, it is only fitting that Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse continues with those characters and a return to Ravka in “King of Scars” book 1 in the Nikolai Duology.

What were your favorite things about Crooked Kingdom?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.