Crooked Kingdom: Alliterative and Enjoyable

Crooked Kingdom: Alliterative and Enjoyable

Caroline Albacete '17, Editor-in-Chief

On September 27, 2016, the sequel to Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows was released. Crooked Kingdom met the expectations of millions of fans and surpassed the high bar set by its predecessor. It follows the story of six misfits as they return from (spoilers) completing an improbable heist and are double-crossed by the merchant who hired them, leaving the characters with no money, no leverage, down one kidnapped team member, and embroiled in the middle of a political mess. Crooked Kingdom is a fast-paced, steampunk fantasy novel with amazing characters, and an incredibly well-established setting. It is definitely worth the read.

        For those who are fans of Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, Crooked Kingdom takes you outside of war-torn Ravka and into Kerch, an island off Ravka’s coast; through this new novel, Bardugo expands and builds upon her fantasy world. Her development of the world is truly incredible, and has a very interesting basis. Bardugo modeled the different countries in her world on actual countries—Ravka is Russia, Shu Han is China, Fjerda is Scandinavia, and Ketterdam is Holland. They’re not exact reflections of the countries we know (and not only because magic is very real in Bardugo’s universe), but you can easily see how the fantastical countries evolved from the ideas of their real-world counterparts. The descriptions are rich and vivid, and as Crooked Kingdom very thoroughly explores the city of Ketterdam (modeled after Amsterdam), you can almost imagine the twisting canals and brightly colored row houses. Take one wrong turn, and you might find yourself in a graveyard hiding six fugitives/main characters.

        Bardugo does a fantastic job with the diverse cast she writes, transforming six misfits into a band of dangerous, yet oddly lovable, thieves. Her dialogue is stellar, especially the banter between the six, making you laugh out loud at points but also bite your lip with nerves as you hope that this argument doesn’t lead to a breaking point. The relationships are very organic and grow from the first novel, which you see through actions more than conversation. However, miscommunication is resolved at last, which is a relief for everyone involved, particularly the characters whose relationship depends on improved communication. The characters also deal with tough personal situations, even addiction and physical handicaps, in realistic ways. Representation matters, and Bardugo brings it all to the table.

        Crooked Kingdom is a strong conclusion to the duology, an incredible addition to the Grishaverse, and generally an all-around wonderful novel. For anyone looking for something to read for fun, you can’t go wrong with this sequel.