Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo! I finally got around to reading this one!

If there is one thing Leigh Bardugo can do, it's write an action packed story full of darkness that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I won't really get too much into plot here because I don't want to spoil this or the first book, but I will say a few general things. The characters were great, like in the first book. They are witty, broken, diverse and ruthless. The story picks up right where things left off from the first book and you are thrust into the world of Ketterdam. I will say that I wish there was just a bit more of a recap on how things ended in Six of Crows, I read it about a year ago and didn't remember all the little details. You get the general gist from this book though I think part of my lack of enthusiasm and the reason it is only getting 4 stars is that I lost the connection I had in book one. I was trying hard to remember things and I think that took away some of my enjoyment, at least at the beginning.

One thing that I have loved about all of Bardugo's books is her ability to keep you on the edge of your seat at all times. You get comfortable, bad things happen. You relax for a minute and someone is dead. That reflects what I would imagine the characters in the book feel as well, and it makes you feel bested. Kaz prides himself in always being one step ahead of his enemy, and you really have to start thinking like him to understand what the story is telling you. Bardugo will give you a little bit of information, you will make assumptions about that info and boom, things go in a completely different way from what you were thinking. You become the person Kaz is besting. And I loved that aspect.

Even though this is a fantasy book, it deals with a lot of issues that are real in today's modern society. Human trafficking, corrupt leaders, racial tensions, religious tensions, poverty. These are all things that come up within the book as problems, and these are all things that are issues in real life. A character was sold into what was essentially a brothel at the age of 14, some of the characters are from one country, some are from another. There is a religious divide between the majority and minority group. While they aren't the same countries or religions we see today, the problems faced in the novel are easy enough to transfer over.

I think compared to the first book, this one wasn't as good. I can't quite put my finger on what was lacking, but there was something, off. I think there were some inter-character relations that could have been explored a bit more, a little more explanation for the newer characters (specifically the mercenary sent after Inej, she was a smaller character but I felt like her reasonings were lacking). Just a few little things that could have been better.

I did really love the allusions to Shadow and Bone and it's characters. We see a bit of Stormhund, Zoya and Genya and hear talk of Alina, and I really loved that. I guess this would be the part where it's better to read the Grisha trilogy first, in order to not be spoiled with what happens to these characters.

The ending, I think, was great. I know a lot of people are upset this was only a duology, but I think the way Bardugo ends the story, it fits as two books. There is no cliffhanger ending, and while I was emotionally drained, I was okay with this battle being over for the characters.

Overall, while not my favourite of the two books, this duology is definitely worth the read, especially after the Grisha trilogy.