Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"No visible means of support
Yeah, you have not seen nothing yet
Everything's stuck together..."
-Talking Heads, "Burning Down The House"
I remember when I first read Six of Crows last fall, I thought it was a good book, if a little slow at times. A second read, more recently, helped solve that pacing issue for me as I got into the characters a bit more. So, maybe a second read a year or so down the line might improve Crooked Kingdom for me similarly, though for now, I have to admit the book felt a little dead at times.
That said, though, our six antiheroes are as compelling as ever, particularly now that they're starting to pair off a little more closely. Maybe not so much Kaz and Inej (first, there's the sticky matter of resolving Book 1's abduction cliffhanger), but more so Nina and Matthias, and especially Jesper and Wylan, this book's main couple by far, as the story explores their slow-burn relationship.
As with the previous book, there's considerable action to go around as well, particularly as Crooked Kingdom comes down to its home stretch. In fact, there's such a buildup of surprises upon surprises that, ultimately, the book doesn't seem to end, even when it does. Which makes me wonder - is Bardugo really limiting Six of Crows to two books? I actually hope not. There's room for further adventures with these characters. Or, failing that, another sequel series set in the Grishaverse, maybe even updating the setting to something resembling the modern day.
Until then, to Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, I now say ave atque vale.
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