Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo | Well, did they live up to the hype? | A Double Book Review

Hello again, dear readers. I hope that you are having a decent week so far. We have had some incredible spring weather this week, and it has been lovely and refreshing. I hadn’t realized how much I missed being able to go for longish walks and simply being outside.

Anyway, I am happy to be here and sharing some of my thoughts on the Six of Crows duology. Those of my readers who are young adult readers and even semi-involved in the online bookish community, have almost definitely heard of these books. I think that SoC is one of the most hyped-up YA fantasy books of all time (I may be wrong, but it doesn’t seem impossible), by this I mean that just about every single book blogger I follow has read them and the majority of them love the duology. I must admit to being a bit apprehensive about diving in Soc, but in the end Bardugo won me over.

And……without further rambling, let’s get to the (short) review!

Titles: Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publication Information: Henry Holt & Company, 2015 & 2016

TW/CW: (In all honesty this list could be endless, but the major ones are:) Graphic Death/Gore, Sexual Violence, Language & General Sexual Content (for a more detailed list, look here.)

Summary [Six of Crows]:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

| Goodreads |

My Thoughts

To begin, let’s talk about Ketterdam. As any reader knows, some books you wish you could visit, others you wish you could live in and still other you are simply glad that you do not live within their pages. SoC definitely falls into the final category. I will admit that Ketterdam was an interesting setting to read about, but the thought of actually having to live there….makes me decidedly grateful for all of the green space that surrounds my home. Bardugo is certainly an expert at making a setting feel incredibly real; her descriptions are wonderfully vivid (and rather graphic at times).

Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.” 

Bardugo’s writing style was straight-forward and easy to follow, without feeling simplistic. I found her writing enjoyable as well as somewhat heavy. I loved the fact that throughout the books there were plenty of moments where her words were memorable and/or moving.

If you have read any of my reviews of Ruta Sepety’s books, you might remember that one of my favorite pieces of her writing is the fact that she masterfully tells her stories from more than several POVS. Bardugo similarly writes from six POVs, and does so with incredible skill.

“He needed to tell her…what? That she was lovely and brave and better than anything he deserved. That he was twisted, crooked, wrong, but not so broken that he couldn’t pull himself together into some semblance of a man for her. That without meaning to, he’d begun to lean on her, to look for her, to need her near.

All six main characters of SoC are complex, with complicated and well-developed backstories, as well as absolutely human. It is impossible to, at the very least, not feel immense compassion for how they all ended up in Ketterdam. Each of their stories is a story of both brokenness and strength.

Honestly, it wasn’t until the end of Crooked Kingdom, that I realized how much I loved Kaz and his found family, but once I did I was quite sad that their story was over. I thought about who my favorite character is, but although I particularly enjoyed Nina and Jesper’s chapters, I don’t think I could ever choose one.

Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.” 

There are many other things I could say, but I simply don’t have time to develop them all. To bring this review to a close, I must answer the big question with….a solid yes. Six of Crows absolutely managed to live up to the hype. These books are two well-written, creative, heavy and enjoyable stories, that I would not mind adding to my personal collection.

“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.

(Before leaving, I just want to make this very clear: I absolutely would not recommend these books to tweens or even younger teens. Many horrible and real topics are touched on that I would not recommend that younger readers dwell on, including a large amount of somewhat graphic violence. So please be cautious in picking up these stories.)

Well, I did it! I reviewed SoC and realized that I fell in love with the story and characters. I would love to hear your thoughts! Have you read this duology? If so, what did you think? Do you want to read them in the future?

11 thoughts on “Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo | Well, did they live up to the hype? | A Double Book Review”

  1. Yesss I love this review Esmeralda!! I agree, I would NOT want to set foot in Ketterdam, that place is terrifying 😂 And Nina and Jesper are both amazing characters!! Every member of the crew has their own backstory and motivations and I think it’s incredible how Bardugo manages to intertwine them. And the quotes you chose are just beautiful 😍


  2. Lovely review, Esmeralda! I’m so happy you ended up loving these books as well 🥰 I also loved how fleshed out all the characters were, though my personal favorites are probably Kaz and Inej! And I would actually love to travel to Ketterdam 😂 As long as I steer clear of gangs and am not rich enough to warrant people stealing from me, I think I should be fine and would love to explore the city! Though yeah, I probably wouldn’t want to live there permanently, either 😅


  3. Once again, I haven’t read either of these books. 😂 (Seriously, though, one day I’m going to comment on one of your posts and say, “Hey I’ve actually read that book!” 😂)

    But these definitely look interesting. I doubt my parents would be up for me reading them, but they do sound good. 😉


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