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Book Review: ‘Crooked Kingdom’ by Leigh Bardugo

**This review may contain spoilers**


    So, my article from about a week ago (x) was about Leigh Bardugo’s first book in a duology, Six of Crows. If you haven’t read that review yet, I highly recommend reading that first to get at least a slight understanding of the characters and gist of what Crooked Kingdom is like. To start off, I’d like to throw out that I absolutely LOVED this duology. It took me a little over a month to finish both, and I can say with 100% certainty that I would do it again. Both books are written beautifully and have compelling plot points, while leaving the reader unsure of what will happen next.

    As for Crooked Kingdom, I’ll admit that I enjoyed it more than Six of Crows. While I do love both significantly, the pacing and general story of Crooked Kingdom was more enjoyable to me. It took me a shorter amount of time to read, taking about 12 days to read (SoC took 21). I felt that it was easier to get into since I already knew the characters, and the overall objectives of the book were more engaging. 

    Something specific that I want to touch on is the development of Kaz and Inej’s relationship. I loved it with all of my heart- these two characters have experienced substantial trauma both on their own and together, and they grow so much throughout Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. (Spoilers ahead- skip to the next paragraph if you’d like to avoid it!!) Kaz is heavily adverse to skin-to-skin contact, while Inej only lets those closest to her touch her. Towards the end of Crooked Kingdom, Kaz takes off his infamous gloves and gently holds Inej’s hand, and despite his fear, allows himself this experience for a girl he has loved through both books. The small show of affection after everything the two characters have experienced together is something I didn’t expect, and got me close to crying due to just how vulnerable the scene felt.

    Minor spoilers aside, I feel just a little sad there isn’t more content with all the characters involved in this series. Although Nina is a primary character in King of Scars, there isn’t a ton of extra content with Kaz, Inej, Jesper or Wylan. I can only hope that Leigh Bardugo will decide to revisit these characters, even if it’s a spinoff or mini-series that revisits the past for any one of these characters.  

    Overall, despite the post-reading-sadness, I absolutely adored Crooked Kingdom. I didn’t touch on much of the plot itself as it would spoil the end of Six of Crows, and I really want others to be able to enjoy the book in its entirety. The characters are morally gray (understandably so, in the context of the books) but lovable, the plot is simple but fun to follow, and the overall reading experience is super enjoyable. I totally understand the hype surrounding both of these books, and highly recommend this duology to anyone wanting a new fantasy read.

Tessa is a sophomore journalism and theater double major at SUNY Oswego. They love reading, hanging out with friends, and crocheting when not doing homework. They also adore theatre, and are hoping to get more engaged with the art as they go through college.
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