Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. ★★★★
There are two things I really love: fantasy settings and heist stories. So when it comes to fantasy heist stories, I’m obviously primed to enjoy them. And wow, has this series been great.
Crooked Kingdom is the sequel to Six of Crows, which you absolutely must read first. There’s really no way for me to avoid spoilers for the first book if I’m going to talk about the plot of this one, so be forewarned. If you aren’t familiar with the series, but a YA fantasy heist story sounds like it’d be your thing, go read Six of Crows.
After being double-crossed by their sponsor, Kaz Brekker’s crew is out to get what’s owed to them and to rescue a kidnapped crew member. They are outmanned and outgunned and there’s dangerous new enemy roaming the city, hunting grisha. It will take all of their daring and skills to come out on top.
Crooked Kingdom took me forever to read. I’ve been having some anxiety issues, which did not do well with such a twisty, high stakes plot. While I really loved the book, I had to keep putting it down and waiting until I felt calmer to come back to it because I was getting so stressed out! I think it’s a testament to how deeply I was invested in the characters.
Crooked Kingdom has such a strong cast of characters. I really loved each of the six members of the core team, and I never once got them confused or forgot who they were. They’re all distinct individuals who have such great chemistry together. It even managed to get me to care about the romantic relationships, which is not usually something that interests me much.
I didn’t realize until after I finished Crooked Kingdom that this was the last book in the series and that there wouldn’t be a third. While it does wrap everything up, I love this world and these characters enough that I really hope Leigh Bardugo decides to come back to them someday. I feel like there are plenty of strands that could be picked up for future books. In sum, this book and this series have just been so much fun. It’s the kind of book I’d like to read more of.