This post will be difficult, only because I did enjoy Crooked Kingdom— BUT there was something lacking. If you know anything about me, you know of my love for the Grisha Trilogy, and I will try my hardest NOT to compare Crooked Kingdom to Ruin and Rising, because that would be unfair to Kaz and his crew.
At this point, I have finished five series this year, all of them heartbreaking in their own way—except Crooked Kingdom. Yes, that end is one that could potentially tear your heart out, but it wasn’t one for me. I didn’t have an emotional response to it, which shocked me because I’m a total shipper of those two (spoiler free for the moment). This post is presenting issues because I love the Grishaverse so darn much, but Crooked Kingdom left me wanting. Leigh Bardugo is a master of words and sentences, the opening paragraph is like taking a long sip of whiskey (no pun intended, haha) and letting it soothe all your worries and fears. She will always be the mistress of beautiful phrases and vivid imagery. So as you can see, I’m enthralled with her style, and prose, and characters; so what went wrong? Why did Ketterdam leave me out to dry? I honestly can’t place my finger on it.
Here’s what I did love though: The SASS! I cannot even touch Bardugo’s sass levels in this book. The characters are on a new level of witty comebacks. It’s refreshing, and even Matthias joins in.
Nina. Nina is a league of her own. From Six of Crows I have loved this women. She is strong and courageous and witty and my favorite Heartrender. Nina’s arc is Crooked Kingdom is phenomenal, and if we are being honest, she’s the reason I stayed. Through all that she has been through, Nina is a spark, a flash of courage, a star to guide people through dark places. Why I love her is simply because she adapts, she grows, she learns for her mistakes and applies them. In short: she is not afraid of failure, she embraces it. She learns to accept who she is, what she has become, and through that I found a powerful voice. While I do love Inej, I just never felt the same way for her character.
On the topic of characters I love (SPOILER ALERT), can I just say that seeing THOSE faces again made me SO HAPPY! Now for the SPOILER part. I can read page after page after page of those two bantering, of the kings squabbling over their kingdoms. Yes, I’m talking about Sturmhond— NIKOLAI! So I am normally good about not posting spoilers on IG or Twitter, but I had to do a squeal when I saw his name. His ease, his manner, his voice… When are we getting a Nikolai short? Because I can read him all day. — Other people I enjoyed seeing were Genya and Zoya (mostly Zoya)! Once again, the sass levels of all these Grisha made my heart sing, and to see their familiar faces and banter again was like Christmas morning.
I’m running out of things to say. I liked how Inej’s storyline closed. I like the banter between Nina and Matthias, who I totally shipped. I like the Council of Tides at the end… but nothing was particularly standout about Crooked Kingdom for me. Which is making this post really difficult. How do you explain that you just weren’t thrilled with a book and can’t give a reason why? In short, I will be rereading the Grisha Trilogy, but not Six of Crows duology.
On that note, I’ve said all I can. Something didn’t work for me, and when I figure it out, I’ll let you know.