Kaz knew, of course.
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Series: Six of Crows #2
Goodreads: Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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 badly weakened, 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 the Grisha world.
In the final instalment of the popular duology, the famous six are back both fighting for their lives and the lives they had planned with the money they should have won for the heist in the first book. The first half acts as a second book in a trilogy and I considered DNF’ing because it was a whole mess. Later, I understood that it acted as a set-up for the action-packed and exhilarating finale that is the auction. On a more personal note, I don’t want to discourage authors from writing duologies because I would prefer to read a duology over a trilogy.
*** SPOILERS BELOW ***
Matthias and Nina Are the Jon Snow and Ygritte of YA Fantasy
- Like Jon Snow, Matthias is from the North, and they both had/have a wolf that is unlike other wolves. Similarly, Jon and Matthias are both very grumpy, serious and honourable.
- Nina, like Ygritte, is a sensual and bold redhead.
- Like Ygritte with Jon beyond the wall, Nina very literally cosies up with Matthias in their initial meetings.
- Like the wildlings and the Northerners + the Night’s Watch, the Fjerdans and the Grisha share a history of animosity, and like Jon, Matthias learns that the other side is not as villainous and dangerous as the stories have made them out to be.
- Nina talks about the infamous story/myth about a Fjerdan and a Grisha getting to, erm, know each other very well in a cave very similar to how Jon and Ygritte get to know each other very well in a cave.
- Similar to Jon, Matthias is killed by a young boy who believes Matthias to be a traitor.
We Are Finally Given Chapters from Wylan’s POV
And we get a backstory in the first half of the book. All other five characters received a fleshed-out backstory in Six of Crows, and it was disappointing that Wylan wasn’t given more page space as his backstory is heart-breaking, but as a lot of action takes place in the first half, it would have been difficult to fit more in. Wylan is the more relatable of the six and preciously endearing. I don’t know much about dyslexia, so I can’t say whether the representation was done well, but I can say with certainty that I felt Wylan’s pain. Wylan’s father mocks his difference, but what is different about Wylan is celebrated and respected by the Crows.
The Magic System
Grishaverse, when we separate the characters from the magic system, isn’t particularly interesting. I didn’t understand it nor could I bring myself to care. Personally, I would have appreciated some info dumping. The magic is in the characters, but, sadly, not in the actual magic itself.
Everyone has a role to play. I found Kaz and Inej’s chapters to be the most fascinating. I think in large part, for the former, this was because Kaz is the mastermind of the auction therefore we look to him as the highest source for information. Inej’s chapters, on the other hand, left me breathless. I would have thought I wouldn’t care much about combat, but Bardugo possesses a clear talent in depicting fighting scenes when it comes to Inej. Jesper’s chapter, sadly, was frustratingly drab as I expected so much more excitement. Fortunately, his earlier chapters with his father – who everyone will fall in love with – will touch your heart. In the midst of all this darkness, Colm Fahey is the only light that doesn’t dim. He’s sharply contrasted with Jan Van Eck, the Tywin Lannister of YA Fantasy fathers. To put it simply, it was very much Ned Stark vs Tywin Lannister.
Each character gets their happy ending (and fairly realistically), except Matthias and Nina. His death is sudden and not as hard-hitting as I wanted it to be. Matthias pleads mercy for the young Fjerdan who killed him because he has been taught nothing but hatred towards Grisha. This was especially interesting as I started to compare the differences between Matthias and Jon. Similar to Olly, Matthias lost his family at the hands of the enemy – the Grisha, but he eventually learns to understand that this is the way of war. Jon was ineffective in bridging the misunderstandings between the wildlings and the Night’s Watch. Matthias encourages Nina to help them understand, to teach them, and, in that way, as much as I love Jon Snow, he has greater practical sense.
Kaz and Inej
Their ending was the crowning glory of the series. I had fully expected, going in, that Inej would get her ship and leave. But, not quite. She gets her ship, but she is not leaving Kaz. She is not changing him either… because that’s not love. Love accepts. And love drove her towards putting an end to Pekka Rollins because she understood that, otherwise, the remainder of Kaz’s life would centre around Rollins. By doing so, she focuses on using Kaz’s strengths for the greater good. Together, they are an unstoppable force. A South Asian queen – don’t tell me otherwise, Inej is South Asian, for sure – and a Sherlock Holmes + non-villainous Littlefinger combination? Love it.
My Rating: Four stars
What are your thoughts on Crooked Kingdom? Do you see the Game of Thrones parallel? Who is your favourite character and ship? Let me know in the comments!
By Sophia Ismaa
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