When you can’t beat the game, change the odds.
So, yesterday I finished reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and it did not disappoint. I knew that tragedy at the end was coming but I still cried.
I think a book review is long overdue seeing as how I’ve reviewed films and music here but had not yet written about my favorite pastime. So without further ado, I present to you the Six of Crows duology, without spoilers!
The Crows are my children. I haven’t read a book that I loved all the protagonists since The Raven Cycle. I feel like my description won’t do them justice even if I tried so here are some fictional Instagram feeds I made and my favorite quotes of theirs so you can judge them for yourself:
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.” 1I hate to reduce Kaz to a sappy romantic but these are the most emotional lines he’s ever said.
What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.
Maybe she should feel ashamed, maybe even frightened. But she hadn’t been made for shame.
“I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.”
“If you aren’t born with every advantage, you learn to take your chances.”
Wylan Van Eck
“Music. Numbers. Equations. They’re not like words. They…they don’t get mixed up.”
What separates this young adult fiction novel from the others is that it is set in a fantasy world and yet it represents reality so accurately. Racism, discrimination, and poverty are alive and well. The world runs on money, or at least the country of Kerch does. Fjerdans hunt down Grishas because they think having powers is unnatural. Most of the protagonists didn’t grow up with privilege and had to work for a living. People die and life moves on–no mourners, no funerals.
Both books are, of course, comprised of a heist, although the second one has many more. What I liked about these heists is that they’re not predictable. You’re rooting for them to succeed, but you don’t know how they’ll pull off infiltrating the most secure country in their world and kidnapping the most valuable person. So how did they do it? I’m not spoiling you so you’ll have to read it 2Most of it was by predicting every outcome and sheer dumb luck.
I also love how the story is told in different points of view. However, I would’ve loved it more if Kaz and Inej had longer chapters. Most of the others had up to 40 pages while Kaz and Inej had 20 at best. But I guess that was effective because I couldn’t put the book down 3So to speak, because I was reading the ebook version. and kept wanting for more and so I read into the wee hours of morning.
As for their backstories, I have a love-hate relationship with how they were told because they made the chapters so long. However, it was effective because I got to know each character more as the story progressed.
I also resented the jargons that were thrown at me at the start of Six of Crows. It assumes that I have read The Grisha Trilogy and I haven’t. I was left to fend for myself by using context clues to guess what they mean. The author should’ve at least explained in a short sentence or included a glossary.
I hated the tragedy at the end of Crooked Kingdom. Like I said, I knew it was coming but I can’t help but cry because they’ve done impossible things, there’s no way it could end bad. Wrong. However, it does make one particular character stronger and I’m sure it’s because s/he is made for greatness.
Lastly, the ending is perfect. And by that I mean I’m mad that it’s only two books but I don’t see a possible third book even though the open ending leaves room for it
I haven’t read the other books in the Grishaverse but if any of you have read them, would you recommend them to me? The Grisha Trilogy characters that had cameo in the duology are interesting enough but I like second opinions.
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Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||⇡||I hate to reduce Kaz to a sappy romantic but these are the most emotional lines he’s ever said.|
|2.||⇡||Most of it was by predicting every outcome and sheer dumb luck.|
|3.||⇡||So to speak, because I was reading the ebook version.|
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