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Review: Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

 

LEIGH BARDUGO IS A RELENTLESS DEMJIN!!!

This was my first thought when I finished to read “Crooked Kingdom” and after thinking about it, I decided to leave it at that! It’s true! This amazing woman gave me all the feels and played me like a fiddle! There were so many twists and turns that my head actually started to spin and whenever I thought something would be alright, everything, literally everything changed once again!

How did you do this Leigh?
How can you be such a talented manipulator?
And why? Please tell me WHY!!??, did you have to rip my heart out?!

I’m shattered and broken, I can’t stop to think about your book! And I can’t stop to cry whenever I think about it!!! You destroyed me!!!!
And the worst part is that I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I loved to read your book!!! I loved Kaz’s scheming face, Inej’s silent justice, Jesper’s epiphany, Nina’s strength, Matthias’ transformation and Wylan’s sassy demeanor!!!

ARGH!!!
I hate love you Leigh Bardugo!!!!

Jeez, this book gave me such a hangover, but I’m still trying to write this review! I need to get those emotions off my chest and once I did, I might continue to cry an ocean or I might be able to move on. Either way I need to write this down now and I hope you’ll keep me company and stay with me throughout this, no doubt, very long review! *lol*

”Brick by brick.“

The plot:

”That’s the problem with Ketterdam, Jesper thought as they stumbled uncertainly through the dark. Trusting the wrong person can get you killed.”

After pulling the most remarkable heist of mankind’s history, the crew of Kaz Brekker should be swimming in kruge and coins, yet everything it gained them is an empty pocket and an abducted member of their crew. Of course Kaz can’t accept the fact that Van Eck has not only betrayed them but also has taken Inej as a hostage and since we all know “Dirtyhands” we can already guess where this is heading. The bastard of the barrel is determined to get his money and even more importantly to get his Wraith! Kaz won’t rest until he finally got what he wants and Pekka Rollins as well as Jan Van Eck will have to pay with the only currency the Barrel knows… their blood! 😉

”Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

The characters:

” She thought of Jesper toying with his guns, Nina squeezing the life from a man with the flick of a wrist, Kaz picking a lock in his black gloves. Thugs. Thieves. Murderers. And all worth more than a thousand Jan Van Ecks.”

Warning: The characters section as well as the rest of the review is going to contain A LOT of spoilers! If you don’t want to read them you might stop now!

Kaz:

”She realised he’d stopped to change his coat and it clung to him in perfectly tailored lines. He stood leaning on his cane, hair neatly pushed back from his pale brow, a black glass boy of deadly edges.”

I love Kaz Brekker! This man is so awesome, I almost have no words! He always tries to show himself as a monster but deep down within him he’s probably the kindest and most honourable man anyone can wish for! I admired his pickpocket skills, his determination to get everything right, his strength and his wish to change the circumstances in which they live. He has such a sharp mind and his plans are so cunning, I can’t help but have to adore him for it! *lol* His background story still breaks my heart and I hated to see how much it shaped him, how hard it made it to love his crew. And yes, he loves every single one of them, not just Inej. The things he did for them! His little gestures that turned out to be a tornado in the aftermath, gosh once the dust settled it was so obvious that he truly cares! And that moment when he went to the Dregs?! OH GOD!! It killed me!!! He sacrificed himself in order to save the others and I almost died when I read this chapter!!! I think I have no more words, just deep love and endless affection that fill my heart whenever I think about this kind boy who was forced to live in a cruel world!!! <333

”He wasn’t Dirtyhands or Kaz Brekker or even the toughest lieutenant in the Dregs. He was just a boy fuelled by a white flame of rage, one that threatened to burn the pretense of the hard-won civility he maintained to ash.”

”That’s where you’re wrong,” said Kaz. “I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.”

”I’ve taken knives, bullets, and too many punches to count, all for a little piece of this town,” said Kaz. “This is the city I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that you can always bleed a little more.”

Inej:

”Inej made a silent promise. Even if her plan failed, even if he smashed her legs to pulp, even if she never walked again, she’d find a way to pay him back in kind. She didn’t know how, but she’d manage it. She’d survived too much to let Jan Van Eck destroy her.

My brave, small and deadly girl! Oh, how much I suffered with her when she was in the captivity of Jan Van Eck!!! I swear when he threatened to break her legs my heart skipped a beat and I almost couldn’t bear to read her thoughts about Kaz! I wanted to tell her that he loves her, I wanted to scream it in her face!!! It was maddening! Still, I loved how strong Inej became, how she decided that she’d lead another life and would dedicate it to hunt the slave traders that took her away from her family! I think by killing Dunyasha she finally freed herself and was able to accept the person she has become and in some strange way I was even really proud of her! XD

”Inej was whole, unharmed. She bore no scars or trauma from her ordeal on Eil Komedie that food and sleep would not ease. But Van Eck had taken something from her nonetheless. I’ll be no use to him anymore. Words torn from some hidden place inside her, a truth she could not unknow. She should be glad of it. Better terrible truths than kind lies.“

Matthias:

”Big, blond, and blind,” Jesper said. “The Fjerdan way.”

Oh god, Matthias! I can’t even write his name without forcing myself to hold back my tears! Such a waste. Such a terrible, terrible waste of a man that could have become someone great! I loved his character development in this book! I loved the way he adored Nina, how he treated her, took care of her, how he decided to ignore everything he was taught because he finally realised that it was all a lie! He tried to overcome his prejudices and he worked so hard to become a better man! Why, Leigh?! Why did you have to kill this wonderful man?!!! He died because he tried to help a young boy and his death was so useless and unnecessary! But then again, death always is. It makes no difference between young and old, kind or cruel, it’s just death and he always gets what he wants. =((
I’m mourning for the man Matthias could have become, for the wasted potential and for the boy that never got a chance to truly love! RIP Matthias Helvar! You’ve been better than waffles, it’s true!

“Meeting you was a disaster.”
She raised a brow. “Thank you.”
Djel, he was terrible at this. He stumbled on, trying to make her understand. “But I am grateful for that disaster. I needed a catastrophe to shake me from the life I knew. You were an earthquake, a landslide.”

”Do not be afraid. Fear is how they control you.” We’ll find a way to change their minds. The boy had only been with the order for six months. He could be reached. “There’s so much in the world you don’t have to be afraid of, if you would only open your eyes.”

Nina:

”She was dressed in a sheer lavender gown rigged with some kind of corset that pushed her cleavage to alarming heights, and though she’d lost weight since her battle with parem, there was still plenty of her for Smeet to grab onto.“

My beautiful and fierce Grisha!!! My heart aches so much for her! Gosh! She was so brave and strong when she fought her addiction for jurda parem! I can’t even say how much I love this woman!! Life wasn’t kind to her but she still managed to joke, she still tried to deal with the cards destiny had dealt her and she always believed in Matthias! XD I wish I could hug her, cradle her, that I could tell her that everything is going to be alright, that she’ll overcome the loss of Matthias, that it will hurt and rip her heart out, but also that it will become better with time. She was SO. DAMN. STRONG. when she let him go and gosh I can’t even… I feel so sorry for her… because I know how it feels, because Leigh Bardugo managed to hit a nerve… Leigh, I think I’ll never forgive you for hurting Nina so much! T_T

”You have your own problems right now, Zenik, said a voice in her head. Stop worrying about saving the world and save your own ass. Sometimes her inner voice could be very wise.”

”Nina had grieved for her loss of power, for the connection she’d felt to the living world. She’d resented this shadow gift. I thad seemed like a sham, a punishment. But just as surely as life connected everything, so did death. It was that endless, fast-running river. She’d dipped her finger into its current, held the eddy of its power in her hand. She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.“

Jesper:

”Jesper focused on the bullet, sensed the smallest parts of it. Maybe he was the same. A bullet in a chamber, spending his whole life waiting for the moment when he would have direction.”

Oh boy did he struggle in this book! My poor sharpshooter had to deal with so many different things and even though his own life was a more than just complicated mess, he still tried everything possible to help Wylan and the others as best as he could! His relationship with his father was pretty rocky and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. His inner fight resonated so much with me and I could understand why he’s so restless and reckless all of the time! Jesper was forced to suppress an essential part of him, a part that would have needed an outlet and caused him to end up searching the thrill. It made me sad that his father saw his gift as a curse and tried to squash it, but it also made me proud that Jes finally decided to stand up for himself! XD In the end he took responsibility for his actions and he tried to change his life! And when it comes down to it, this actually means everything!!! =)

”There’s a wound in you, and the tables, the dice, the cards – they feel like medicine. They soothe you, put you right for a time. But they’re poison, Jesper. Every time you play, you take another sip. You have to find some other way to heal that part of yourself.”

”I didn’t raise you to be a gambler, Jesper. I certainly didn’t raise you to be a criminal.”
Jesper released a bitter huff of laughter. “I love you, Da. I love you with all my lying, thieving, worthless heart, but yes, you did.”

Wylan:

”Always hit where the mark isn’t looking,” Wylan had murmured.
“Sweet Ghezen,” said Jesper. “You’ve been thoroughly corrupted.”

Awww Wylan, my precious cinnamon roll!!! GOSH! How much I adored him in this book!!! *lol* He became so strong and independent and it was a pleasure to see him evolve!!! His background story broke my heart and I swear when he found out that his mother was still alive I was devastated!!! How could his father do this to him? To his own child?!! I don’t get it!!! Still, I loved how strong Wylan became, how he sharpened his mind and learned to take Kaz’s advice! And god, when they started to beat him I wanted to jump into the book and save my little boy!!!! I can’t believe he let them break his ribs just to make it convincing and oh my god that moment when he turned on his father at the auction!! It was priceless!!! XD I love, love, love the new sassy and reckless Wylan!!!! And I want more!!! Leigh do you hear me?! I WANT MORE!!!

”Wylan Van Eck, you lied to Kaz Brekker.” Jesper clutched a hand to his chest. “And you got away with it! Do you give lessons?”
Wylan felt ridiculously pleased – until he thought about Kaz finding out. Then he felt a little like the first time he’d tried brandy and ended up spewing his dinner all over his own shoes.

”Wylan wanted to scream. The closet was crammed with paintings – landscapes, different views of the hospital grounds, a lake in sun and shadow, and there, repeated again and again, was the face of a little boy with ruddy curls and bright blue eyes.”

Jesper leaned in and said, quietly enough that no one else could hear, “I can read to him.”
“He has a very soothing baritone,” added Wylan, and then the guards were hauling his father down the aisle.

The ships:

”We meet fear, he’d said. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear arrives, something is about to happen.“

Inej & Kaz:

”I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “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.”

Those two killed me once again!!! Their chemistry, the promise of their love!!! OH. MY. GOD!!! I loved how fierce and passionate Kaz became whenever he thought of Inej! He never said anything but damn, his thoughts!!! His thoughts!!! They were full of Inej!!! Full of his love for her!!! I died about a thousand deaths when they were in the bathroom together!!! He tried to overcome his phobia and his fears because he loved her so much and finally, FINALLY Inej realised how much it truly cost him to be so close to her!!! ARGH!! I’m still not over the bathroom scene or the fact that he actually paid her indenture!!! He even bought her a ship for Christ’s Sake!!! I just love those two and I really hope they’ll manage to be together!! The anticipation of what they could become, of what they could be together!!! I’m already fainting by just thinking about it!!! XD

”The silence between them was dark water. He could not cross it. He couldn’t walk the line between the decency she deserved and the violence this path demanded. If he tried, it might get them both killed. He could only be who he truly was – a boy who had no comfort to offer.“

”Before he even knew what he intended, he lowered his head. She drew in a sharp breath. His lips hovered just above the warm juncture between her shoulder and the column of her neck. He waited. Tell me to stop. Push me away.
She exhaled. “Go on,” she repeated. Finish the story.
The barest movement and his lips brushed her skin – warm, smooth, beaded with moisture. Desire coursed through him, a thousand images he’d hoarded, barely let himself imagine – the fall of her dark hair freed from its braid, his hand fitted to the lithe curve of her waist, her lips parted, whispering his name.”

”She felt his knuckles slide against hers. Then his hand was in her hand, his palm was pressed against her own. A tremor moved through him. Slowly he let their fingers entwine.”

Nina & Matthias:

”At one point he bathes her.”
Matthias’ steps faltered. “Why would he –“
“She’s tied up, so he has to.”
“Be silent.”
“Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.”
“How about I bite your lip?”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.”

The ship has sunk! T_T WHY!? They were so cute together, they should have been happy and they should have gotten a chance to make things right!!! They only kissed!!! They never got an opportunity to date properly; they never even did more than kiss!!!! WHY, LEIGH!? WHY??!!! You destroyed me! You deprived me of all the happiness they could have had!! They deserved so much better than to be parted by death!!! After everything they’ve been through they should have had a happy ever after!!! I’ll never be over Matthias death! Never! Their love was a delicate flower that never even got a chance to bloom! =( *sobs uncontrollably*

”You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

”How many rules have you broken since you met me? How many laws? They won’t be the last. Nothing about us will ever be proper,” she said. She tilted her face up to his. So close now it was as if they were already touching. “Not the way we met. Not the life we lead. And not the way we kiss.”

Wylan & Jesper:

”Yes, this is what I want,” said Jesper. Wylan looped his satchel over his shoulder, and without thinking, Jesper reached out and untwisted the strap. He didn’t let go. “But it’s not all that I want.”

I’ll never forget the moment Jesper called Wylan, Wy! They were so sweet to each other, their gentle gestures, their little sexual innuendos! Oh god how hard I shipped them! I wanted them to kiss and they never did!! *lol* And then the thing with Kuwei happened and I was like: NUUUUUU!!!! WHY??!!! I already saw the shipwreck but then they managed to get their act together!! They were adorable!!! The way Jesper took care of Wylan after he found out about his mom!! It was amazing!! It was cute, it meant everything to me!!! And their first kiss!!?? OH GOD!!! It was sooo perfect!!! It was worth the painful wait and I’m so damn happy they are finally together!!! <333 Jesper and Wylan forever!!! I’ll ship them until I die!!!! XD

”Wy, listen to me. You have to pull yourself together. Can you do this? We can leave. I can tell her you’re not up to it, or I can just go in myself. We can try to come back some – “

”There was only the reality of Wylan’s mouth, the press of his lips, then the fine bones of his neck, the silky feel of his curls as Jesper cupped his nape and drew him nearer. This was the kiss he’d been waiting for. It was a gunshot. It was prairie fire. It was the spin of Makker’s Wheel. Jesper felt the pounding of his heart – or was it Wylan’s? – like a stampede in his chest, and the only thought in his head was a happy, startled, Oh.“

Jesper’s eyes travelled from the top of Wylan’s red-gold curls to the tips of his toes and back again. “But I do charge a pretty steep fee.”
Wylan flushed a magnificent shade of pink. “Well, hopefully the medic will be here to fix my ribs soon,” he said as he headed back into the parlor.
“Yeah?”
“Yes,” said Wylan, glancing briefly over his shoulder, his cheeks now red as cherries. “I’d like to make a down payment.”

My conclusion:

Leigh Bardugo’s “Crooked Kingdom” is a masterpiece of high emotions! It will destroy you and rip your heart out, but what’s even worse is that it’s like jurda parem. Once you read it, it will leave you gasping and craving for more! 😉

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