Crooked Kingdom A.K.A. The Reason I’m a Sad Ball of Tears in the Corner

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So, I finished this book a day ago but since I a) have zero time and, b) was* emotionally unstable, I put it off until today. Even so, this post will probably consist more of me randomly babbling than any actual useful information. Sorry.**

*Still am

**Not sorry

Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young adult/fantasy/fiction

Heat Level: So the romances were more developed in this book than in Six of Crows─as one would expect, being a sequel and all─but they still were most definitely not the center of the story line. All in all, I’d say it has about the same amount as Six of Crows (which I reviewed here).

Violence (on a scale of 0-5): Five. Just as unnecessarily graphic as SoC, although not more so. The graphicness─yes, you grammar person in the back, I’m aware that that’s not a word─of this duology─that is a word, I looked it up, so HA─is absolutely the only complaint that I have. Everything else is just so wonderfully subtle and gorgeous and perfect and… but this paragraph is about violence, so I should shut up now. In case you couldn’t make head nor tales of that, these books are a bit too descriptive in their gory details for my taste, so if that bothers you, this isn’t the duology for you.

Language: I mean… well… they’re street thieves and thugs, right? So they’re allowed to have dirty mouths, right? RIGHT? Dear gosh, I feel like an over doting mother making excuses for her heathen children that she thinks are little angel babies. My angel babies need a good washing out of their mouths with a bar of soap à la A Christmas Story, ok? Don’t judge.

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“But Eden,” you ask, sounding really annoyed/angry/DONE WITH ME, “why are you sobbing in a corner? You haven’t explained that very well.”

First of all, you should know by now that I don’t explain things very well. Second of all, I am sobbing in a corner because it wAS SO SAD. ONE OF THEM DIES. Of course I can’t tell you which one dies because I took an oath not to reveal any spoilers on my blog*, but suffice it to say that it was one of the saddest things that has ever happened to me in the history of my reading life (although definitely not THE saddest. I will never forget Lupin and Tonks) and I might need intensive therapy to get over it. Seriously. Ask my family. I just wandered around the house clutching The Raven Boys─the next thing on my TBR─and sighing mellowdramatically, too afraid to start it for the fear that it might be devastating, too.**

*No I didn’t. I lie too much.

**I still haven’t started it. I’m reading V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic right now, and it’s fabulous.

But even though Crooked Kingdom caused me immense emotional and mental trauma, it, along with SoC, is still on my best books of 2017 list.* You know that feeling when you read a sequel and it’s just… just… meh? Like maybe it’s a gazillion times thicker than it’s predecessor, or it just rehashes the same themes as book #1, or, for some reason, the characters that you originally loved now are the most annoying/infuriating/just not fun people in the bookaverse** and you inexplicably start rooting for the antagonist? Well, I am proud to say that not a single one of those things happened in CK. The six main character’s backstories were delved even deeper into, and I was happy to see the addition of Wylan’s voice to the narration. Kaz is still my beautiful little messed up sort of scary angel baby, Inej is still too pure for this world, and GUESS WHAT. THERE WERE NO STUPID LOVE TRIANGLES AND ALL OF MY SHIPS SAILED. Do you have any idea how absolutely and completely and incandescently OVERJOYED this makes me?

*That list doesn’t really exist except for in my mind, but if it did, I think I would rename it Best Books That I Have Read In 2017, ‘cuz CK was published in 2016. Just so you know.

**Made that word up too.

I was so so SO SO SO SO SO happy with how all of the relationships turned out; each of them were explored to the extent that it seemed right for those characters feelings to be explored, and there wasn’t anything… uncomfortable, if you know what I mean.

“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.”

Yes, Kaz said that. And yes, I had to put down my book and take deep breaths and stare into the middle distance until I calmed down.

I don’t need your pity.

“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.”

The dialogue in this book was just so funny. Maybe I didn’t notice it in SoC, but I think that the humor was really expanded on in CK, and it provided a nice distraction for all the not-so-nice things going on. Also, did anyone else notice the Hamilton referance in that last quote, because I sure did and I freaked out.

Well, I think it’s safe to say that this post has completely derailed. I’d like to thank you all for sitting here and listeneing to me. Maybe now I won’t need as much therapy.*

*I will.

Read on, lovelies!

Eden (because I currently lack a signoff and I have 0 skill with technology)

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Six of Crows

GUYS. OH MY GOSH GUYS. GUYS. GUUYYYSSSSS.

This book… I don’t have the words. But I’m gonna try anyway.

Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young adult/young adult fantasy/fiction

Heat Level: The actual romance is minimal and definitely not the center of this story line, but there are a great many mentions of brothels and a little bit of sexual innuendo.

Violence (on a scale of 0-5): Five. Remember when I talked about those books that left you feeling like you had stumbled into the middle of a massacre and watched your best friends die? This was one. But… not in a bad way─if that’s possible. There were a few detailed scenes that I honestly could have done without, but I suppose I understand the need for that in order to develop the characters and provide motive and all that jazz. And when Kaz did that thing for Inej─well, that certainly helped me understand his feelings. But still.

Language: Soooo… yeah, there’s quite a bit. I mean obviously I’m not going to give you any examples, but you get the idea. It was very creatively used, though; it always made me laugh.

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Kaz Brekker, thief, is hired by Jan Van Eck to Break into the Ice Court─a military stronghold that is the most notorious in the world. He is charged with kidnapping a hostage that they have there by the name of Bol Yu-Bayur who holds the secret of creating the dangerous drug, jurda paraam that, if unleashed, would wreak havoc upon Grisha and non-Grisha alike. In order to complete this dangerous heist, Kaz must recruit a crew that is desperate enough for money─for if they succeed there is plenty of money to be had─to undertake this suicide mission. And so he does, finding six of the most dangerous outcasts, thieves, and thugs that Ketterdam has to offer.

These are some of the most wicked, nasty, sarcastic, rude, and completely lovable characters that I have ever read. Six of Crows is written in third person so that we’re provided insight into each of the characters thoughts, although sometimes that still doesn’t tell us anything, and while most of the time I’m dubious of this format, in this case, it worked. It wasn’t confusing─at least no more confusing than it would be had it been written from only one character’s perspective, with the intricacy of the plot─and I was able to understand each of them better because of it. I especially loved the diversity of this cast; out of the six main characters, two of them weren’t caucasian, and I’m fairly sure that at least two of them weren’t completely heterosexual, either. There is Kaz Brekker, thief, and the most I-am-Kaz-and-I-don’t-feel-anything character EVER; Inej Ghafa, ex-acrobat-turned-killer dubbed the Wraith by Kaz; Jesper Fahey, sharpshooter, sarcastic, crafty, and unable to resist any challenge; Nina Zenik, Heartrender, beautiful and she knows it; Wylan Van Eck, son of Jan Van Eck, young, naive, and unintentionally useful; and Matthais Helvar, guarded and pious Fjerdan who ALSO literally fights the most obvious feelings for tHE WHoLe DArN boOK. What is it with these boys and emotions? Pull it together, Dregs.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

And here we have a Slytherin, Gryffindoor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff─sorry. I let my fangirl take over for a moment too long.

So if you can’t tell already, I loooved this book. It was dark, and descriptive, and beautiful; Kaz is the most extra person ever except where it comes to admitting that he loves things other than money (I mean come on; who breaks his leg, doesn’t set it right, and then has a magical-bone-breaking-crow-headed cane made for him just so he can look cool? And has a different haircut for the same reasons? And refuses to ever take his dark, mysterious, card-magic-assisting gloves off? And wears the fanciest suits ever to make the good ol’ boys jealous?) but I still love him; and the world building was FLAWLESS. I saw each and every country, city, town, heck even the OCEAN as if it were truly there before my eyes.

“Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”

I most definitely recommend this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Crooked Kingdom! Leigh Bardugo is extremely talented to have taken on such an ambitious endeavor and succeeded─almost as talented as her characters─and while I’ve heard mixed reviews of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I think I’ll go ahead and try those, too!

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’”

Read on, lovelies!

Eden

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