Crooked Kingdom ~ Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
This book finally did what all 4 books before it failed to do.
It made it to my favorites list.
That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.
I started this with low expectations, to be honest. I had been let down by Six of Crows and didn't want to repeat my disappointment. And I think those low expectations saved me just a little bit. While I still had reservations in the first 100-or-so pages, by the midpoint, I was sufficiently hooked. Honestly, I feel like the real problem with this duology is that the first book is bogged down by thematic set up that only pays off in this book. The plot was better paced, held more tension and stakes. There were real ideas here to latch onto, and real character moments that didn't feel too contrived or that they were entirely for the aesthetic. I felt myself begin to truly care for the characters and their problems, especially those characters who hadn't managed to snag me in the first book, like Jesper, Wylan, and Matthias. And those who I already cared for only became more important to me, primarily Kaz and Inej.
In specifics, I loved Nina's new abilities and the utter horror of their reality (I'm trash for possessed dead people; weird, I know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ). I loved Jesper's battle to accept his own faults and his own gifts, and how his father played a key role in the plot. I loved Wylan's similar journey, and I loved that they helped each other through their hardships. I loved Inej and her warrior's spirit. I loved Kaz and his open ending. I loved Matthias and his goofy, fish-out-of-water kindness and equally compelling struggles. I even loved Kuwei and his stupid little antics.
This book had me sobbing all the time. I was a mess. I stayed up to ungodly hours reading this and further ruined my already damaged circadian rhythm. I'm so glad I read it. Maybe, upon a re-read, I'll like the first one more because of this one.
Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.
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