I have an intense book hangover and I’m struggling to get over it.
Let me tell you why (and this might spoil my entire review in the second sentence) but Six of Crows was wonderful, then Crooked Kingdom was next level epic.
The problem with Crooked Kingdom is that every book you pick up to read afterwards isn’t Crooked Kingdom. You can’t help it but you compare, and after that intense high, everything else seems to fall flat.
But okay. Let’s rewind to the beginning.
Is it necessary to have read the first trilogy to get into Six of Crows?
I don’t think so. If you do read the first three, you’ll have a better understanding of the magic system, and you’ll obviously understand the world a little better. It’s also cool to catch references to the characters from the first three books, but I really don’t think it would diminish your reading experience if you read Six of Crows without Shadow & Bone.
*This review is intentionally vague to avoid spoilers.*
Six Of Crows
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
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
It’s no secret that I love thieves, spies, lies, and the found family trope. This book, my friends, delivers on all of those counts so thoroughly that you finish reading and wonder what could top it.
Ketterdam is a wonderfully gritty place. The descriptions are fabulous, leaving you feeling like you’ve walked the city streets. Having been to Amsterdam, I really appreciated the similarities between there and Ketterdam.
We also get to visit Fjerda, which was loads of fun.
It’s great that this book is set in the same world as Shadow & Bone, but we get to see two different parts of it.
Also, the maps are gorgeous. I can stare at them for much longer than a person should stare at a map. The styling of these books in general is amazing.
Kaz, Inej, and the rest of the crew are all wonderfully rounded characters, flawed and gritty and broken, but somehow still getting shit done. Their stories are interesting and just a little more is revealed throughout the book, so every time you think you have them figured out, another layer is added to their stories.
The thing about Kaz is he scratched that Raymond Reddington-shaped itch I can’t get rid of. He’s not a good guy–he didn’t get to where he is by being nice. Kaz Brekker will just as easily kneecap someone with his cane as steal something from a pigeon. And that’s what I love about him.
Yes, he does have some Robin Hood qualities. He builds up his part of the city and helps the odd prostitute out of their line of work, but Kaz is calculating and everything he does is for his own gain.
His conscience lives outside of his own body, in the form of his spy and closest confidant, Inej. I adore this character. She’s poetic and always ready with a proverb to help her friends. She didn’t choose the course her life took, but somehow made the best of it.
She’s deadly, friends, and will kill if she must, but she doesn’t like it. She’s always trying to steer her companions into a more morally acceptable direction.
Nina, Jesper, Wylan, and Matthias are all pretty epic in their own right too. You don’t think you would like let alone love some of them at the start of the book, but this found family ends up quickly burrowing into your heart.
The heist is written beautifully. You know that feeling when you’re watching something like Oceans 11 and you reach that place where this theft is actually going down, and all the threads placed throughout the movie are finally tied into a neat little bow? Six of Crows gives you that feeling and then some.
This book delivers edge-of-seat action from very early on, and doesn’t let you down in the end. In fact, as I said somewhere above, you reach the end of this one thinking nothing can top it.
Then there’s the sequel.
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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 badly weakened, 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 the Grisha world.
Oh my goodness, friends. This book.
I was out of my skin when the crew met up with some of my favourites from Shadow & Bone. Seeing them all work together was almost more than my little heart could handle.
I also reckon this is a good set-up for what’s to come, and I’m really excited about that.
Basically everything that can possibly go wrong goes wrong in Crooked Kingdom. By the halfway line, the crew is surrounded and backed into a corner so thoroughly, you can’t imagine how they’d ever get out.
It’s enemies everywhere, and the stakes are almost constantly raised.
This is one of those books that had me smiling like an idiot for the entire final act of the story, because it was just that good. I also got a little misty-eyed at the end.
I don’t think I can say too much more about this, or I might give away the entire plot. I could babble about these books for days. I sincerely hope we get to read about Kaz and the Dregs again soon, or I might explode.
Drama aside, I really loved this duology that much.
If you’re into thieves, heists, magic, and intrigue, I almost guarantee you will too.