Review: Crooked Kingdom

22299763CROOKED KINGDOM :: LEIGH BARDUGO

GENRE: FANTASY

RATING: 3.5 STARS

SUMMARY: The Crows are back from the Ice Court with the every whiny and unimpressive Kuwei, but instead of collecting their reward, they’re double crossed by Van Eck (shocker). As delegations from all the world’s big powers converge on the city in a drug war that puts Columbia to shame, the Crows are forced to rely on Kaz’s unquestionable cunning and cruelty, as well as their own emerging skills to wriggle out of every trap and lie Ketterdam has to throw at them.

REVIEW: Alright, so I know everyone and their mother loved this book, so I’m sorry if I hurt any tender feelings. Honestly, I felt as if Six of Crows should have been reworked a bit and written as a standalone. There just didn’t seem to be quite enough going on that it couldn’t have been wrapped up one book, but hey I’m always down a bit of a plot twist that leads to a sequel.

EXCEPT IT KEPT HAPPENING. I felt like Bardugo was just pulling twists out of her ass to keep the story going. And not necessarily good twists … more like complications to a problem that I didn’t really care about. There’s fast paced novels, and then there’s novels that just snorted a kiddie pool’s worth of crack cocaine and was let loose. This one is the latter. In other words, it was WAY. TOO. FAST. There was chance to soak in the characters, or the budding relationships, or even the feels! A main character DIED and I felt absolutely cheated because the story immediately whisked me away to the next heist, without giving me time to mourn.

Backstories for the characters were just pulled out of nowhere.. Matthias’ wolf? WHY WAS THIS NEVER MENTIONED BEFORE? If he literally had a bonded-wolf, you think it would come up a little before halfway into the second book. It seemed as if Bardugo was pulling stuff out of a non-existent  prequel to Six of Crows to flesh out the characters, and I was told so much history, rather than shown. If she had put out an Assassin’s Blade-type short story collection for the characters between the books, it would have made it a lot more sense and would have made me care more.

I adored Ketterdam and the gang in Six of Crows, but I found myself losing interest around halfway through Crooked Kingdom. The crew just kept getting into trouble, and then more trouble… though admittedly I did enjoy watching them pull themselves out in spectacular ways.

Character-wise, most of them began to annoy me. I’ve never liked Kaz, finding him a bit too removed and aloof to connect with. He reminded me a bit of Aelin in this book; plotting and keeping secrets from not only the reader but also everyone in his crew, only to reveal them at the very last minute. And just like with Aelin in EOS, it annoyed me.  He had some character growth, but not nearly enough considering he is arguably the main character for both of these novels. Frankly, I stopped caring. Inej is still great, though I DO NOT ship her with Kaz, and I don’t think even she ships herself with Kaz. Seems to me that she can take care of herself and don’t need no man. Especially one as shoddy of a boyfriend as Kaz. Talk about emotionally (and physically) unavailable.

Nina. Thank god for Nina. Even though her character was overdone in Crooked Kingdom (I get it, the girl likes food and has J. Lo hips), she provided a lot of life and comic relief for me, and was one of the main reasons I kept reading. Her and Matthias’ relationship reminds me a bit of Anna and Kristof from Frozen, and was adorable, if a little too slow burning.

Jesper and Wylan. Oh, so cute. I really enjoyed their relationship and their bantering, though like everything in this damn book, it was little over blown. I also liked how Bardugo treated a homosexual relationship exactly how she treated the heterosexual ones.. like it ain’t no big thaaang. Cause it isn’t.

Overall, this book kind of reminded me of a tv series that really should have died out, but they keep making seasons, and they keep getting more ridiculous and overdone, but you keep watching because you feel like you have to. The ending more than made up for the bajillion times I almost DNF’d, but good gawd. Not all that I had hoped for.

**********

Alright, who out there adored this book and is ready to slay me? I know you’re out there.. Tell me why you loved it 🙂 Or hated it!

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