by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Orion Childrens Books
Book 2 in the Six of Crows Duology
Book 5 in the Grishaverse Series
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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 parem, 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.
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence Young Adult Chaos
Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows duology, and follows Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan. It begins a few days after the first book ended, with Inej, taken as a hostage, and Kaz and crew scheming to get her back, get their money, and vengeance.
I liked Crooked Kingdom. I liked this duology. I didn't love it. And it's not because there is anything wrong with this book. Technically, its great. Original? Yes! Plot? Amazing! Characters? Chef's Kiss. Consistency? Flows wonderfully. The problem is with me. Specifically, my age. This is a middle grade young adult novel, and if I am going to truly enjoy a YA book, it needs to be upper/new adult.
I really enjoyed the characters further development in this book. The characters are seriously the best part of this book. They are ALL well-written, incredibly dimensional characters, which, with six POV's, and it being only a duology, is impressive. Kaz and Inej's storylines were heartbreaking, and beautiful. Their connection is one of romance and respect, which is SO rare in a YA these days. Then Nina and Matthias. I loved them in the first book, and I loved them even more in this one. ----------------> which makes Matthias's death that much more heartbreaking. <-----------. And Wylan and Jesper? Love, love, LOVE them!
Will I ever re-read these books? No. But again, it's not because these books are bad. They are enjoyable. They are well-written. It's just me. That being said, that Shadow and Bone trailer ... I got CHILLS seeing Kaz, Inej, and Jesper. <3
Jesper running into a girl he hooked up with at the university
Matthias comforting Nina during a craving
Inej is back!
Kaz smiling when Inej ditched him after letting him climb all those stairs
Kaz telling Inej that we would have come for Inej, even if she was no use to him
Nina teaching Matthias to appear non-threatening and kind, and the whole Princess and Barbarian thing
Jesper supporting Wylan when he found out about his mom
Jesper hinting to Wylan that he wants him in his life
Kaz trying with Inej, and bandaging her up
Kaz winning over the Crows
Wylan getting his face back
Jesper and Wylan kissing
Kaz telling Inej that one of Nina's stop's spreading the fake pox was the menagerie
The wolves welcoming Matthias home
Van Eck's arrest, and Wylan getting everything
Jesper deciding to stay with Wylan and help him
Inej and Kaz holding hands
Kaz having Inej's parents found, and brought to her
Matthias: "How is -"
Kaz: "Nina is fine except for me because I'm stuck with a gang of hand-wringing nursemaids. Keep a watch."
Wylan: "Why do you guys say that, anyway? No mourners, no funerals? Why not just say good luck or be safe?"
Kaz: "We like to keep our expectations low."
Kaz: "Stop gawking like you've never seen a girl in a dress before, Matthias."
Matthias: "I wasn't gawking."
Nina: "Be quiet, Brekker. I like it when he gawks."
Just a scratch, but it hurt like hell, and he was bleeding all over his new tweed jacket.
Jesper: "This is why it doesn't pay to try to look respectable."
Jesper: "Don't worry, Da. People point guns at each other all the time in Ketterdam. It's basically a handshake."
Jesper: "Madeleine? Madeleine Michaud?"
Madeleine: "You said we'd have breakfast!"
Jesper: "I had to go to Fjerda."
Jesper: "If I live, I'll buy you waffles."
Wylan: "You don't hve enough money to buy her waffles."
Nina: "I hate this. I hate you a little, druskelle."
Matthias: "I'm used to it. Come here."
Inej: "Console yourself. Even better men can be bested."
Wylan: "Always hit where the mark isn't looking."
Jesper: "Sweet Ghezen. You've been thoroughly corrupted."
Nina: "Why do you assume I know how to arrange hair?"
Matthias: "Because yours always looks so nice.
Jesper: "Wait. Is he being charming? How do we know this isn't an imposter?"
Matthias: "I don't feel anything."
She arched a brow
Matthias: "What did you try to make me do?"
Nina: "I'm trying to compel you to kiss me."
Matthias: "That's foolish."
Nina: "Why is that?"
Matthias: "Because I always want to kiss you."
Nina: "I prefer to think of the good times. Like when you held my hair as I was vomiting into a bucket."
Matthias: "Stop trying to make me laugh."
Nina: "But I like your laugh."
Nina: "Well, the story is that when a woman found out her husband had fallen in love with a girl from West Stave and planned to leave her, she came to the bridge and, rather than live without him, hurled herself into the canal."
Matthias: "Over a man with so little honor?"
Nina: "You'd never be tempted? All the fruits and flesh of West Stave before you?"
Matthias: "Would you throw yourself off a bridge for a man who was?"
Nina: "I wouldn't throw myself off a bridge for the king of Ravka."
Kaz: "What did you say to Van Eck on the bridge? When we were making the trade?"
Inej: "You will see me once more, but only once."
Matthias: "The Shu woman we faced was stronger than me, Jesper, and Wylan put together."
Jesper: "You heard right. Stronger than Wylan."
Kaz: "Where do you think the money went?"
Nina: "Political bribes?"
They all looked at Matthias.
Nina: "This is where you tell us how awful we are."
Matthias: "They all seem like practical choices."
Matthias: "I don't like speculation."
Kaz: "Of course you don't. You like things you can see. Like piles of snow and benevolent tree gods."
Inej: "Oh, there it is!"
said Inej, resting her head on Nina's shoulder and beaming at Matthias.
Inej: "I missed his glower."
Inej: "He was going to break my legs. Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn't scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn't the Wraith anymore?"
Kaz: "I would come for you. I would 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."
Nina: "Let's go, you big goon - and I'm supposed to be your sister, stop looking at me like that."
Matthias: "Like what?"
Nina: "Like I'm made of ice cream."
Matthias: "I don't care for ice cream."
Nina: "Matthias, I'm not sure we can continue to spend time together."
Matthias: "It's not -"
Nina: "If you say natural, I'll give you giant buck teeth."
Matthias: "Can you actually do that?"
Nina: "I can certainly try."
Nina: "Then you need to calm down and try to look friendly."
Matthias shook out his arms and relaxed his features.
Nina: "Friendly, not sleep. Just ... pretend everyone you meet is a kitten you're trying not to scare."
Matthias looked positively affronted.
Matthias: "Animals love me."
Nina: "Fine. Pretend their toddlers who will wet themselves if you're not nice."
Matthias: "Very well, I'll try."
As they approached the next stall, the old woman tending to it looked up at Matthias with suspicious eyes. Nina nodded encouragingly at him.
Matthias smiled broadly and boomed in a singsong voice
Matthias: "Hello, little friend!"
Woman: "Always had a taste for Fjerdans. Ask him if he wants to play Princess and Barbarian."
Matthias: "What did she say?"
Nina coughed and took his arm, leading him away.
Nina: "She said you're a very nice fellow, and a credit to the Fjerdan race. Ooh, look, blini! I haven't had proper blini in forever."
Matthias: "That word she used: babink. You've called me that before. What does it mean?"
Nina: "It means sweetie-pie."
Matthias: "Nina -"
Matthias: "I was just asking, there's no need to name-call."
Nina: "She wanted to know if you'd like to play Princess and Barbarian."
Matthias: "It's a game?"
Nina: "Not exactly."
Matthias: "Then what is it?"
Nina: "In Ravka, there's a popular series of stories about, um, a brave Fjerdan warrior -"
Matthias: "Really, he's the hero?"
Nina: "In a manner of speaking. He kidnaps a Ravkan princess -"
Matthias: "That would never happen."
Nina: "In the story it does, and -"
she cleared her throat
Nina: "they spend a long time getting to know each other. In his cave."
Matthias: "He lives in a cave?"
Nina: "It's a very nice cave. Furs. Jeweled cups. Mead."
Matthias: "Ah. A treasure hoard like Ansgar the Mighty. They become allies, then?"
Nina picked up a pair of embroidered gloves from another stand.
Nina: "Do you like these? Maybe we could get Kaz to wear something with flowers. Liven up his look."
Matthias: "How does the story end? Do they fight battles?"
Nina tossed the gloves back on the pile in defeat.
Nina: "They get to know each other intimately."
Matthias' jaw dropped.
Matthias: "In the cave?"
Nina: "You see, he's very brooding, very manly. But he falls in love with the Ravkan princess and that allows her to civilize him -"
Matthias: "To civilize him?"
Nina: "Yes, but that's not until the third book."
Matthias: "There are three?"
Nina: "Matthias, do you need to sit down?"
Matthias: "This culture is disgusting. The idea that a Ravkan could civilize a Fjerdan -"
Nina: "Calm down, Matthias."
Matthias: "Perhaps I'll write a story about insatiable Ravkans who like to get drunk and take their clothes off and make unseemly advances toward hapless Fjerdans."
Nina: "Now that sounds like a party. We could play."
Matthias: "We most certainly could not."
Nina: "At one point he bathes her."
Matthias' steps faltered
Matthias: "Why would he -"
Nina: "She's tied up, so he has to."
Matthias: "Be silent."
Nina: "Already giving orders. That's very barbarian of you."
Jesper: "This song is getting old."
Kaz: "Then learn a new refrain."
Jesper: "You're stupid about a lot of things, Wylan, but you are not stupid. And if I ever hear you call yourself a moron again, I'm going to tell Matthias you tried to kiss Nina. With tongue."
Wylan: "He'll never believe it."
Jesper: "Then I'll tell Nina you tried to kiss Matthias. With tongue."
Matthias: "Meeting you was a disaster."
Nina: "Thank you."
Matthias: "But I am grateful every day for that disaster. I needed a cataclysm to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landside."
Nina: "I, am a delicate flower."
Matthias: "You aren't a flower, you're every blossom in the wood blossoming at once. You are a tidal wave. You're a stampede. You are overwhelming."
Nina: "The first day you showed up at my house for this proper courtship, I would have corned you in the pantry. But please, tell me more about Fjerdan girls."
Matthias: "They speak quietly. They don't engage in flirtations with every single man they meet."
Nina: "I flirt with women too."
Matthias: "I think you'd flirt with a date palm if it would pay you any attention."
Nina: "If I flirted with a plant, you can bet it would stand up and take notice. Are you jealous?"
Matthias: "All the time."
Nina: "Yes, yes, Nina Zenik is hungry. Now will someone feed me before I'm forced to cook one of you?"
Jesper: "Don't be ridiculous. You don't know how to cook."
Kaz: "Jesper, you're tall, brown, and conspicuous -"
Jesper: "All synonyms for delightful."
Jesper: "Yes, this is what I want."
Wylan looped his satchel over his shoulder, and without thinking, Jesper reached out and untwisted the strap. He didn't let go.
Jesper: "But it's not all that I want."
Jesper: "Staying on task?"
Nina: "I'm teaching Matthias all about fun. He's an excellent student. Diligent in his lessons."
Matthias: "Nina -"
Nina: "Has problems with attitude. Shows room for improvement."
Jesper: "Was Ma a witch?"
Colm: "She was a queen, Jes. She was our queen."
Inej: "No matter the height of the mountain, the climbing is the same."
Nina: "That's not technically true. You need ropes, picks -"
Inej: "Don't be a Matthias."
Nina covered her mouth in horror.
Nina: "I'm going to eat twice as much cake to make up for it."
Inej nodded wisely
Inej: "Sound policy."
Doughty: "Come on out! You can't shoot us all."
Jesper: "I can't hear you. Come closer."
Nina: "You're better than waffles, Matthias Helvar."
A small smile curled the Fjerdan's lips.
Matthias: "Let's not say things we don't mean, my love."
Inej: "You have a weak spot. We all have weak spots."
Jesper: "What's yours?"
Inej: "The company I keep."
Kaz: "I've taken knives, bullets, and too many punches to count, all for a little piece of this town. This is the city I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it's that you can always bleed a little more."
Gorka: "My leg! My leg!"
Kaz: "I recommend a cane."
Kaz: "You have two minutes to get out of my house, old man. This city's price is blood, and I'm happy to pay with yours."
Wylan: "My mother painted this?"
Jesper: "It was in that room full of her art."
Wylan: "It's how she remembers me. She never got to see me grow up."
Wylan: "It's so old. I don't know if it will be useful."
Jesper: "It's still you. Same curls. Same worried little divot between the brows."
Wylan: "And you took this just because you thought it might come in handy?"
Jesper: "I told you, I like your stupid face."
Sturmhond: "Though Zoya is, of course, a force to be reckoned with, Genya's extraordinary gifts are ill-suited to physical confrontation. I, on the other hand, am well suited to all forms of confrontation, though I'm particularly fond of the physical."
Kaz's eyes narrowed.
Sturmhond: "He knows me!"
He nudged Genya with an elbow
Sturmhond: "I told you I'm famous."
Zoya: "Thank you. He's going to be twice as insufferable now."
Jesper: "Do you really have a flying ship?"
Sturmhond: "I have several."
Jesper: "Take me with you."
Zoya: "We are the Triumvirate. We do not take orders from Kerch street rats with dubious haircuts."
Kaz: "I can phrase it as a question if it will make your feathers lie flat."
This was the kiss he'd been waiting for. It was a gunshot. It was prairie fire. It was the spin of Makker's Wheel. Jesper felt the pounding of his heart - or was it Wylan's? - like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.
Sturmhond: "Let us say, hypothetically, of course, that the Ravken king has intelligence networks that reach deep within Kerch, Fjerda, and the Shu Han, and that he knows exactly how important Kuwei Yul-Bo could be to the future of his country. Let us say that kind would trust no one to negotiate such matters but himself, but that he also knows just how dangerous it is to travel under hi own name when his country is in turmoil, when he has no heir and the Lantsoz succession is in no way secured."
Kaz: "So, hypothetically, you might be addressed as Your Highness."
Sturmhond: "And a variety of more colorful names. Hypothetically."
Jesper: "Who's Jordie?"
Kaz: "Someone I trusted. Someone I didn't want to lose."
But wasn't that what every girl dreamed? That she'd wake and find herself a princess? Or blessed with magical powers and a grand destiny? Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.
She smiled then, her eyes red, her cheeks scattered with some kind of dust. It was a smile he thought he might die to earn again.
Zoya: "Is anyone going to thank me - or Genya, for that matter - for this little miracle?"
Kaz: "Thank you for nearly killing and then reviving the most valuable hostage in the world so you could use him for your own gain. Now you need to go. The streets are almost empty, and you need to get to the manufacturing district."
Zoya: "Show your face in Ravka, Brekker. We'll teach you some manners."
Kaz: "I'll keep that in mind. When they burn me on the Reaper's Barge, I definitely want to be remembered as polite."
Matthias: "I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way. Bury me so I can go to Djel. Bury me so I can take root and follow the water north."
Nora: "I promise, Matthias. I'll take you home."
he said, pressing her hand to his heart.
Matthias: "I am already home."
Inej: "Let him go, Nina."
Nina: "I can't."
Inej: "Let him go to his god."
Nina: "He should be here with me."
Inej: "You will meet him again in the next life. But only if you suffer this now."
They were twin souls, soldiers destined to fight for different sides, to find each other and lose each other too quickly. She would not keep him here. Not like this.
Nina: "In the next life then. Go."
She watched his eyes close once more.
Nina: "Farvell. May Djel watch over you until I can once more."
Jesper: "I can read to him."
Wylan: "He has a very soothing baritone."
Wylan: "Jes, did you mean what you told me father? Will you stay with me? Will you help?"
Jesper: "Let's see. Live in a luxurious merch mansion, get waited on by servants, spend a little extra time with a bidding demolitions expert who plays a mean flute? I guess I can manage it."
Jesper's eyes traveled from the top of Wylan's red-gold curls to the tips of his toes and back again.
Jesper: "But I do charge a pretty steep fee."
Wylan flushed a magnificent shade of pink.
Wylan: "Well, hopefully the medik will be here to fix my ribs soon."
said Wylan, glancing briefly over his shoulder, his cheeks now red as cherries.
Wylan: "I'd like to make a down payment."
Jesper: "He loved you so much, Nina. Loving you made him better."
Nina: "Did it make a difference in the end?"
Inej: "Of course it did. Matthias and I didn't pray to the same god, but we knew there was something beyond this life. He went easier to the next world knowing he'd done good in this one."
Kuwei: "You should visit my in Ravka. We could learn to use our powers together."
Wylan: "How about I push you in the canal an we see if you know how to swim?"
Jesper: "I've heard he's one of the richest men in Ketterdam. I wouldn't cross him."
Check out the first part of the Six of Crows duology