Usually, sequels suck. BUT SOMETIMES, SEQUELS ARE AMAZING.
Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I greatly enjoyed Six of Crows (you can read it about it here) but I LOVED Crooked Kingdom. This review is probably going to be short because I raced through Crooked Kingdom in 3 days and I’m still trying to process how I finished this series in a week. So much happens, and it all happens so fast, which keeps the reader thoroughly invested and engaged. All of the slow parts from Six of Crows evaporate: we already know who these characters are, so we don’t need character introductions and relationship establishments. Of course, we still do get background information, especially from Wylan who we didn’t hear from in Six of Crows, and from Kaz, who is the most broken of them all, but there’s less of it, so it feels more natural and it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down the pace.
Crooked Kingdom is written in a smart manner. Whereas Six of Crows had the intensity slowly build throughout the book, leading to a long, climatic battle, Crooked Kingdom is intense all the way through. There isn’t really a “moment of peace” in the text, and the only things that bring lulls in the action are either backstory or scheming scenes. Crooked Kingdom feels urgent, and I absolutely love that.
As I mentioned in my review of Six of Crows, this series is plot driven rather than character driven. It’s great, and I love that, but the characters are still fleshed out fully, into real, broken people. Everyone has a tragic past, in some way shape or form, and they all develop into better people throughout the books, but in a very realistic way. I wouldn’t say any of them are “cured” of their ailments, or that they all come out better people. I wouldn’t even say that most of them are happy. But they are more loving, more supportive, and a bit more kind to themselves. They change and develop, but in a way that still feels realistic and true. It might just be my favourite thing about the series.
Okay, I have one thing to complain about, and just one. There are a lot of missing scenes in this series, or scenes we only hear about after the fact. I understand why: these books are about scheming and lawbreaking and intricate plots. To have all these little scenes– which mainly develop character– would ruin the plot twists and (fantastic, amazing, breathtaking) reveals. But is it really so bad that I want to see more of Wylan and Jesper? Or that I want to see exactly how it is that Kaz’s mind works? Overall, this isn’t a big deal and it does not hinder the books, but when you grow attached to characters, you wish that there was more.
Six of Crows is fantastic, but Crooked Kingdom is better. If you have the chance, pick up these books and give them a read. They might not change your life, but I guarantee that their twists and spins and lovable characters will be the escape that you need this holiday season.
4.5 crows out of 5.
So, let’s talk! Who’s your favourite character? Least favourite? Any twists you didn’t see, or any you saw coming from a mile away? Let me know your thoughts!!