Discussion Post – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“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.”

-Kaz Brekker, Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

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Synopsis

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. – Goodreads Synopsis


Reviews

Eden: Leigh Bardugo did it again. Crooked Kingdom is absolutely fantastic. The characters, which I fell in love with in Six of Crows, were even better in Crooked Kingdom. We got more on their backstories and why they are who they are while also watching their lives in the present unravel. Bardugo is a phenomenal writer and it shows in the duology. 5/5 stars. Hell, 10/5 stars.

Caitlynn: Everything about this book was great. It wrapped everything up in the perfect duology way that Bardugo wrote beautifully. I couldn’t ask for anything more even if I could think of something to add to it. I highly, highly recommend this book to any one! 5+/5 stars!

Jenn:  I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this book. Six of Crows, the first book in this duology, was one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Now, Crooked Kingdom is definitely my favorite book of 2016. This book had everything I love in a book. There was a wide range of character development, deep though your relationships, and a massive and engrossing world. I’m obsessed with the geisha world. The characters in this book were all unique and compelling. I loved every second of this book. 5/5 stars only because I can’t give it any more than that.


Discussion

Lots and lots of spoilers ahead, please do not continue if you haven’t read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom!

E: Well, I didn’t DNF this book.

E: I would give this 5 stars.

J: 5 out of 5!

C: 5 out of 5!

J: 6 out of 5!

E: It was really good, I really like the first book, but this one was so much better! The first book, there were parts were I was just bored, in this book I was so excited to read everyone’s parts.

J: Well, I hated Nina in the first book…

E: That’s true.

J: This book, she was there and I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either and I didn’t hate Matthius until the end…

E: Yeah, his death speech was too much for me… This is a terrible speech before you die!

C: I just didn’t care about Matthius at all through this whole book.

E: Me neither, I wasn’t upset that he died, I was upset of Nina.

C: I wanted a death where I was going to cry…

E: I thought Inej was going to die.

C: I figured it was going to be Jesper.

J: I was thinking Kaz was going to die.

C: It’s a duology, she could have done it!

E: So we all thought different people were going to die!

E: Kuwei was such a shit-head.

C: I felt like he was such a little shit because he totally knew what was going on the whole time.

J: He did! He just pretended like he didn’t speak Kerch the whole time!

E: I liked Nina a lot more in this one. There’s a part where she had me laughing pretty hard.

J: She had some great lines. She wasn’t just this girl who is all about her looks, there was so much more to her this time.

E: She was like a crackhead at the beginning of the book, fiending for another hit.

C: So what was everyone’s favorite parts…

J: The part I wanted to talk to you guys about before we finished was the part where Kaz was bandaging Inej. I thought that part was so good because there was so much tension and so much in their relationship but they weren’t having sex and I wish more authors could get that. You know that they are into each other and they want to but you don’t have to talk about them going at it on the beach.

C: You sound a little salty about that Jenn…

E: I wonder where that came from! I agree though, based off of who they were, I don’t want them to have some moment where they are making out on the harbor. Even in the end, when he is standing with Inej on the dock, I thought they would kiss and when they didn’t this is great! He is still freaking out about touching her, it wasn’t an instant resolution for him.

J: Bardugo didn’t go there with anyone in this series, none of the relationships took it that far. I liked that, we see the emotional side of the relationship instead of the physical.

E: She could have easily fallen into that with Nina and Matthius.

J: Or Jesper and Wylan!

E: I laughed when Jesper kissed Kuwei instead of Wylan, at first I was like wait, you don’t feel anything?! And then it was Kuwei and I was like of course, the typical twin conundrum.

C: How convenient….

E: Nina as a pregnant woman was so simple, yet so hilarious.

C: I loved that Matthius’ thought that in that moment Kaz could be capable of doing anything and if were up to him, she could really be birthing a child right now…

E: Caitlynn, you asked what our favorite parts were and my favorite was when Inej beat the shit out of Dunyasha because she did it in such a spectacular fashion after her first time where she is literally standing on a wire having throwing stars lodged into different areas of her body.

C: That was great, I think Bardugo did such a good job showing just how badly Inej was outmatched the first round.

E: And I loved how crazy Dunyasha was, she was a crazy bitch! We only saw her twice in this book, Bardugo was able to create such a crazy, impactful character in only two scenes in this book.

J: The part where Wylan and Kaz are talking about running an empire and Wylan is like how can I run an empire? I can’t read, I wouldn’t be able to do what I need to and Kaz tells him to just pay someone to did it for you. Kaz says, “When people see a cripple walking down the street, leaning on his can what do they feel? They feel pity. Now, what do they think when they see me coming?” and Wylan says, “They think they’d better cross the street.” Kaz tells Wylan, “You’re not weak because you can’t read. You’re weak because you’re afraid of people seeing your weakness. You’re letting shame decide who you are.”

J: You never really get to see Kaz interact with Wylan and I felt like it was the moment where Kaz took Wylan under his wing and it was really adorable.

E: Exactly, and the reader’s thought process with their relationship is that Wylan is just really good leverage for Kaz because of his father.

J: And Kaz even sees himself that way. He says he is just doing this for the pay out, but you know that’s not the only reason.

E: I really liked that moment too, he is telling Wylan that he basically needs to just be shameless. I think that moment really changed Wylan as a character and you see that when he pulls that out at the end to use against his father.

J: The entire group is so accepting and doesn’t expect things from each other that they know they can’t do.

E: Each of the characters have their own downfalls and they all make fun of each other, but at the end they are all family.

J: I just loved Wylan’s parts… that part where he is saying all of the groups misgivings, but that if he wasn’t thrust into their group from the get-go, he would have chosen them all the same all over again.

E: I kind of wanted Van Eck to be killed or tortured…

J: I think it was supposed to be implied.

E: I felt like his punishment wasn’t enough.

J: But then again, what other punishment would be good for him, he lost his reputation, he lost everything.

E: I really felt that Van Eck really shouldn’t be surprised by what Kaz pulls out anymore…

C: Yeah, he really should just have shut up… he was just looking awfully crazy.

J: I thought they were going to send him to the insane asylum… I thought that would have been great.

C: A good twist of fate for what he did to Wylan’s mother…

E: I loved Peeka Rollins having to get down on his hands and knees and beg Kaz and Kaz turning around and saying that he didn’t bury the kid, he hadn’t ever even seen the child.

E: I loved that he was the perfect revenge character for Kaz… While I wanted Van Eck to suffer more I can’t deny that I didn’t love that it happened to Rollins instead.

J: That’s what I like about Kaz, you never know if he is going to take it that far or where his limits lie.

E: My thought was that he actually did bury that kid alive because remember in Six of Crows when he did the same thing with him saying he was burning down the house with the girlfriend or mistress in it and Kaz was making it all up. I figured there would be no way that he would do that twice… But, he did it twice…

C: I feel like I’m glad it’s a duology because now I really feel like Kaz isn’t able to take it that far…

E: I don’t know…

J: He would have to at this point to prove it. I liked that I couldn’t figure out where his moral compass lies.

E: I liked that I couldn’t tell what Kaz would do next, he continued to surprise me.

J: Bardugo does a great job in writing the anti-hero.

E: I would like for Bardugo to do a backstory on Nina and Ravka.

J: I like that it’s done.

E: I want to know more about Nina now, I felt that Nina’s backstory was the one that I got the least out of.

C: I think Nina’s backstory was really well done, but I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more about it.

E: I loved Jesper and Wylan’s relationship. I was waiting the whole book for them to talk and not to just make innuendo’s at each other.

C: I was so glad that Jesper stayer with Wylan too, I didn’t want him to go back to the farm with his father, no matter how much I loved his dad.

E: I didn’t think he could go back to the farm with his father… His father saw he couldn’t go back.

J: I really liked that Bardugo let the action control the book rather than the romance and she allowed the friendship to be the center. It was truly an ensemble read and not just different perspectives where you were rushing through to get to a character that you wanted to read more.

E: Except Matthius… I didn’t like reading through his point of view.

J: I did, but mainly because he was always with other characters and I really enjoyed how he interpreted other characters.

E: I got so bored with his battles with druskelle thoughts and changing… I thought he was so boring until people starting to mess around with him. Like the part with the Princess and the Barbarian… that had me laughing so hard!

E: So they become comrades and go off and fight battles and Nina is like not quite…

J: I liked Matthius and Jesper on the island towards the end of the book, their interactions were great.

E: I liked Matthius’ observations of the characters. At one point he says something about Jesper being terrified and dangerous and that was 100% Jesper.

J: I loved the part where they were talking about Jesper’s mom teaching him to sharpshoot, like duh, it’s because they are Grisha!

E: I liked this one better than the first one, which I wasn’t expecting.

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3 thoughts on “Discussion Post – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Crooked Kingdom was DEFINITELY one of my favourite books for 2016 — probably even my absolute favourite of 2016! I simply love the way that Leigh Bardugo wrote these characters, especially (like you guys said) when it came to more romantic relationships and she showcased the emotional sides rather than the physical. They felt like real people to me, that I grew to care about and wanted them to have happy endings… you know, until Bardugo ripped out my heart and broke it 😦
    And I have to agree with Jenn too. I LOVED the scene when Kaz was bandaging Inej. That scene held so much emotion and tension between the two characters, and more authors should definitely write scenes like that one. It definitely shows that it is possible to write two characters that care so deeply for each other not have to be making out every second. I need another book about these two characters!
    Great discussion post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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