Summer is great for reading books for pleasure, particularly when your doctor tells you to spend a part of the day in bed and so: no remorse!
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Find it on: LibraryThing
What it is:
A sequel to Six of Crows, a YA (but not infantile) adventure fantasy about a group of teenage criminals who take on the system, conning merchants, armies and politicians with nothing but a handful of talents and the power of friendship.
How I found it:
I read the first volume – maybe last year? I quite enjoyed it but forgot the story so completely that before reading Crooked Kingdom I needed to read an online summary.
Pure entertainment, but of a very competent and enjoyable kind.
Best things about it:
Bardugo builds an interesting world based loosely on historical places (the Netherlands, a sort of idealized Russian empire, only with magical mutants, Scandinavia) and the entirety of this volume takes place in Ketterdam, the capital of the Dutch-like Kerch, where profit is god (literally), which allows her to focus on the city and make it more than just a location. The specificity of the place differs the story from most adventure fantasies with their stock locations.
Worst things about it:
I guess the fact that I forgot the first volume proves that this is a fairly forgettable experience. Still, it’s better than pretty much any adventure movie you could watch instead
✤ The book never bores you, always swift with the action and properly entertaining. Some of the twists manage to be surprising.
✤ The completionist in me really enjoys the fact that it’s just the duology. I’m always a little daunted by those multiple-volume fantasies.
✤ I liked some of the characters, particularly Nina.
✤ I’m not a fan of the typical adventure story structure where each chapter ends on a cliffhanger but at least in Kingdom‘s case I could hope that each new chapter will soon grab my attention, too.
✤ I feel the characters could use a bit more development. We don’t learn much about them beyond what was already revealed in the previous part.
How it enriched my life:
I simply enjoyed reading it, without necessarily changing my outlook or learning anything in particular.
The crow-city combo was done better on the first volume’s cover. Here, while the crow is expressive, the buildings become a little naive. I have minor complaints against the typography (even though the fancy title typeface works inside of the book) but despite my whining it’s still levels above your average YA cover.
Bardugo wrote more books about her Grisha mutants and I’m not opposed to reading one of those some other lazy summer (or, you know, winter).
Fans of good YA adventure with careful world building.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Next time: Cloak & Dagger