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)
“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.
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.
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.
“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!
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.
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.