Reviews, YA, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

GoodReads Summary:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My Review:

So this is the followup to Bardugo’s Six of Crows which I absolutely loved. And Crooked Kingdom was just as good, though not better. We again follow the rogue Kaz Brekker and his band of miscreants. This time they are seeking revenge on their double crossed deal with Ja Van Eck- “We are going to take Van Eck’s money, and then we’re going to take his reputation.”

Bardugo does a good job of wending the story long, telling if from the perspective of each member in the group. And along the way things go wrong. Plans must change. Surprises arise. The writing is just as good, but I do have to say the story felt slower than Six of Crows. There isn’t as much action. You get more personal with Nina, Matthias, Inej, Kaz, Jesper, and Wylan, more of their backgrounds that was missing from the first novel.

Six of Crows was better, in my opinion, due to the fact that it was more fast paced. I will say that Bardugo does a great job of holding back details and surprising the reader just when you need it. Don’t think you’ll get through this book scot-free without deaths. There are some and they hit pretty close to home.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Book Events, Interviews

Magic and Mayhem Tour with Leigh Bardugo

Written by Liz Brooks

I sit in the front row of a small section of the Ellicott City Barnes and Noble waiting. On the edge of my seat, delighted, nervous, vivacious. This is an event I have been waiting for since I first read Shadow and Bone. The Magic and Mayhem tour with Leigh Bardugo for her newly released book, Six of Crows. She is animated, hilarious, and beautiful. She is gracious and genuine. She meets and exceeds all my expectations.

Leigh Bardugo read two excerpts. One from a book she started when she was 12 years about siblings Blood and Jared. It was amusing to see where Bardugo started and how far she has come. She followed that up with a scene from Six of Crows. One where Nina first meets Matthias- my two favorite characters from.

After the readings, there was a wonderful Q&A.

  1. The easiest character for Bardugo to write was Matthias- he is dogmatic and a drama queen. Whoever she was writing at the time was her favorite or least favorite depending on how you looked at it.
  2. She loved writing her contemporary stories. She liked uncovering secrets where we live.
  3. She has a lot of favorite YA authors- Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.
  4. Her idea for the Grisha world was Imperial Russia. Russia occupied the role of the great suppressor. Kertch is crafted after the Dutch Republic with a little Las Vegas thrown in.
  5. It took her less than a year to write Shadow and Bone. And she didn’t publish her first novel until she was 35.
  6. She always knew she wanted to come back to the Grishaverse and write a story about a Witch Hunter (Fjerdan) and a Witch (Ravkan). She had ideas about Kaz Brekker but didn’t know where he fit into the story until she came up with the idea for the heist.
  7. She cried when she received Six of Crows in the mail.
  8. The Darkling has a sweet tooth.
  9. She might write a novella about Nikolai one day.
  10. She uses music to help her write. Sinister Kid by the Black Keys is Kaz Brekker’s anthem.
  11. She is currently reading Angela Carter short stories, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, and a book about art heists (I wonder why that is).

After the Q&A, she signed books and took photos.

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Quote from Mal in the Grisha series.
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“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”
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Cup and Crow tattoo.

Overall it was a fantastic event. My review for Six of Crows can be found here. I can’t wait till Fall 2016 for the follow-up Crooked Kingdom. Check out the book reveal video hereLeigh Bardugo can be found on tumblr, twitter, and facebook.

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Reviews, YA Fantasy

Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Written by Liz Brooks 

GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Review:

Six of Crows is the latest installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. The first installment was her Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising (all very good books).

“You don’t have to read the Grisha Trilogy to read Six of Crows. It was built for people new to the Grisha world. Yes, there are trilogy spoilers but there are also misdirects. (And if you’ve read the trilogy, lots of little Easter eggs.)”- Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo’s world building ability is probably one of my favorite things about this book (as well as the others). It’s full of thick descriptions of the different settings as well as each of the six main characters. Even the secondary characterizations are detailed. This is a pet peeve of mine. If authors are going to create a brand new world, I need details.

Six of Crows isn’t your typical single point of view narrative. The heist is told from six different POVs (Nina, Kaz, Inej, Wylan, Jesper, Matthias), which makes this book more intriguing. Bardugo shows us one situation in six different ways; each person showing the reader what they are feeling and thinking.

The characters themselves are very flawed and each goes through a transformation over the course of the book. There is also great POC and LGBTQ representation. You will learn their backgrounds. Why they came be apart of the heist group. Their relationship to one another. And what’s truly at stake. I will say that my favorite characters are Nina and Matthias. Their stories really stuck out for me. But that doesn’t mean that Kaz, Inej, Wylan, and Jesper aren’t fascinating themselves. Keep in mind those characters are not heroes.

My favorite place is the Ice Palace (when can I visit?). It’s so convoluted. It took a while to truly understand the intricacies that Bardugo was describing. And it’s not just the physical palace that is a labyrinthine but the inner-workings of the people of Fjerda (who we don’t get to know in the Grisha Trilogy).

If you like adventure, fantasy, and romance give this book a read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Also keep an eye out for the follow-up post to this. I will be attending the Magic and Mayhem Tour for Leigh Bardugo/Six of Crows on November 17.

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