Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
I´ve started, like, three different versions of this review, but none of them seemed to capture the sheer perfectness of this duology, so I´ve abandoned any semblance of put-together-ness and I´m just gonna let it all out:
My heart feels so full after reading these two books. The characters, the relationships, the places, the descriptions, the freaking plot- oh my God, I was (and still am) completely hooked. And although I really liked the Grisha trilogy´s more traditional “Chosen One” plot, there is just something so addicting to Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
Ketterdam is a dark, gritty and chaotic city, and our cast of main characters are a bunch of scheming anti-heroes (which is to say, I have adopted them all). It is a rare thing when I can´t pick a favorite character in a story, and the fact that I´ve decided that all six of them are my children speaks for itself. Inej, Nina, Kaz, Jesper, Wylan and Mathias are thieves, liars and all-around troublemakers and ASDFGHJKL I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They are so well developed! They´re perfect characters, not in the sense that they´re flawless- on the contrary, they´re full of flaws and utterly, utterly human. Sometimes I wanted to chuck the book across the room and freaking strangle those lovable idiots, but hey, they kept me on my toes. They´re all little devils with hearts of gold.
And devils they were. Their little troupe planted chaos wherever they were, disrupting the order of things with their never-ending schemes and plans. I really enjoyed the grittiness of it all and I´ve got to admit that since the Grisha trilogy, Leigh´s style has matured and sophisticated in a way that blew my mind. The plot, with its thousands of twists and turns, was just so infinitely INTERESTING.
There´s very little romance, but it´s done in a way that doesn´t feel lacking, but very much complimenting. The author managed to show that relationships are not all about physical attraction and explosiveness (which is the vibe I get from most Young Adult books), that there´s much more to it. There´s a grand total of THREE ships throughout the series, all of them developed in a very natural way, built brick by brick (OHHHHHH KAZ REFERENCE). I. Love. Them. All.
I get all warm and fuzzy when thinking about these hooligans. Unreliable narrators are to me what gambling is to Jesper- an addiction (to the point where I might or might not just have spent the entire night scrolling through Tumblr, hunting for fanart)(And saved them all to my phone)(Don´t even ask what my screen saver is). They make everything more interesting.
And THAT ENDING. Oh, my God. It was peeeeerrrrrfect! It left me wanting more while giving me the feeling that yes, that was the right place to end the series. It left me sad and happy and content and excited and now I wanna start my own little criminal empire. And then burn it to the ground (I´ll keep on quoting Kaz ´till I die).
So, right now, my brain is in a constant loop of “MAGIC! HEISTS! WEAPONS! BADASS FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO TAKE NO CRAP! SCHEMING! DIVERSITY! FEELINGS!” and if you like any of those things, you should definitely read this duology. Five out of five stars to the whole thing, with lots of waffles piled on top. And, like, with a couple of fancy Zemeni pistols thrown in.