Bingo square: This is the End. Also I hit half a cannonball, yay! That was my goal so everything from here on in is extra. There will be some spoilers for the first book in here.
Picking up where Six of Crows left off, Crooked Kingdom follows Kaz Brekker and his gang of ne’er-do-wells as they deal with the betrayal and fallout from their heist. Inej has been taken hostage and they don’t have the money promised them. They’re all a bit battered and exhausted but don’t have any downtime to recover before Kaz has them back plotting. For revenge and for their money and for the return of Inej (whom Kaz might just like a little bit, much to his own dismay).
And then there’s the jurda parem, the drug which can make the magical Grisha even more powerful and which, in the wrong hands, could lead to war and destruction. Kaz still has the boy who can make it, and everybody wants a piece of him.
There’s more insane Kaz plotting, more double crosses and intense action/fight scenes where it seems like all is lost and then it isn’t. Basically if you enjoyed the first one you’re going to like this. I had the same issues with Kingdom as I did with Crows. I think the writing is wonderful and world building is still excellent and I heartily enjoy the group of characters Bardugo has created. I just couldn’t really care less about the stakes. I found the main scheme of this one pretty convoluted and a bit dull. It dragged in places and I found myself skipping. There’s a ploy to get Van Eck which involves something about a consortium and funds and…I just didn’t care. Then there’s an auction involving all the countries because they want the parem but at no point did I feel on edge about any of it. The characters are in dire circumstances, fighting for their lives, but I never doubted they’d come out of it, either because they have insane skills (Kaz) or because you know it’s all part of the plan (I won’t say but it happens a couple of times). Kaz is never bested. He’s wrong footed a few times but he’s never brought low, not really. He’s supposed to be 17 but he comes across as at least middle aged. I have to suspend disbelief immensely. That would be fine if I was more caught up in the world, but it just didn’t grab me that way. I liked how it concluded though and there are some very lovely moments between the characters.
I’m glad it ended at two and I don’t think I’ll be seeking out any more of the Grishaverse.
The header quote has been making me think about the current state of the world though, oh yes.