Review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Brekker is back and with more fiendish frivolity from the barrel.  Still trying to recover from the disastrous end to the Ice Court job, little does Kaz know how deep the deception went and how much he is going to have to unravel to even begin to salvage what he started.  Kaz maybe clever but he is far from the only clever man in Ketterdam.  He is going to have to work even harder than ever before to try and recapture what he is owed, but with Inej captured, Nina battling an addiction with parem, Wylan tailored to the wrong face and Jesper now forced to confront his past, how easy will that be?

Crooked Kingdom is a longer book than Six of Crows yet the action takes place mainly over a matter of days, the multiple POV’s stretching the tortuously epic and heart thumping twists across the pages.  It still has that immense page turning captivation that was within Six of Crows, but it just lacked that extra sense of excitement along with it.  They are both books of equal joy but I think book 1 just pips it, but only just. In typical Kaz Brekker style there are twists and swindles and multiple cons that would given Danny Ocean on his best day a run for his money.  I love a story that keeps me questioning myself and hanging on a thread as to the outcome, and Crooked Kingdom gave this to me in spades.

I don’t know what is wrong with me of late in the emotions stake, but this book again reduced me to tears, the short but intense bursts of connectivity with the characters overwhelmed me.  Multiple POV’s in books is a risk and I have been drowned by them in books in the past but Leigh Bardugo manages to completely avoid this.  Despite every player being forced to battle for chapter time, I felt utterly part of them and their story, sharing their joys and sadness as they peaked and troughed through the words.   

The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about this concluding part of the duology was entirely down to the publisher.  I read the paperback of this book and found that the text was just so hard to read.  The margins were so tight, the text was disappearing into the gutter and hiding under my thumbs as I was reading.  I hate having to bend back spines on paperbacks which made this even more of an arduous task, I get that more text on a page means fewer pages and lower print costs but this made it such a hard read at times, sort it out Indigo!!  This is the first Duology that I have read and I have to say this is now my favourite book series style, all of the action and none of the filler – I hope that more writers/publishers take this forward in the future.

Would I love more from Kaz and the Dregs? Of course!  However, unlike a TV show that jumps the shark I am glad that the world of Ketterdam has been left the way it has and I look forward immensely to the next original world created by Bardugo.

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