SPOILER Mashup Review:
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo
SIX OF CROWS
SO…DO I RECOMMEND THESE BOOKS?
One hundred percent. While I wouldn’t say I was absolutely obsessed with them like others, there’s no question these are stellar fantasy books. The characters are complex, the story is intricate, and the world is very fleshed out. I enjoyed my time reading both books a lot.
SECTION 1-OVERALL THOUGHTS:
SIX OF CROWS
“I FINALLY read Six of Crows!
To no surprise, I ended up really liking this book. It’s such a popular YA novel, and after reading, I definitely can join in with the hype.
The majority of the book was actually much slower than I expected. The first three quarters of it, I felt not much happened. Frequent flashbacks slowed the story down a bit for me too. I still enjoyed my time reading it, but I definitely wasn’t obsessed with the beginning like I expected to be.
However, by the end, I was fully into the story. I ended up really liking the characters and their dynamic. The suspense and intrigue of the last 100ish pages was super intense and made me very excited for book two. I’m hoping to love Crooked Kingdom even more than book one!”
“It took me YEARS to pick this duology up, and I started and finished it in a week!
Overall, this was a really great conclusion to a fantasy series I really enjoyed. I found this book very easy to get into, and I was invested pretty much the entire time. I once again found the story to be much slower paced than I’d expected heading into the series, but I was much more attached to the characters and world in this installment. I thought the last action sequence to be a little anticlimactic, but the ending was pretty satisfying.
While both books got a 5 stars, I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with this series like many others are and like I was expecting to. That said, this is the second Leigh Bardugo series I’ve enjoyed, and I fully plan on reading the Nikolai duology ASAP. I have very high hopes for that one.
Side note-CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NETFLIX SHOW AHHHH”
SECTION 2-MAIN CHARACTERS/NARRATORS
SIX OF CROWS
Kaz: For a character I’d heard so much about, I did expect more. I honestly felt I needed to read more from Kaz to truly connect with him, because I never had any strong attachment to his character. He’s certainly an interesting one, but I thought there would be more to him considering all the hype around him.
Inej: I didn’t have any strong opinions on Inej. Similar to Kaz, she’s another character that I felt was fine, but didn’t have any strong attachment to.
Nina: Nina was the most interesting character in the bunch in my opinion. I felt like I understood her a little more than Kaz and Inej, who I went in expecting to be the main characters but were not developed anymore than Nina in my opinion. She’s got an edge to her, and the ending scene of the book gave her a big moment that was exciting.
Matthias: While I also feel that the many perspectives detracted from getting to know a lot about Matthias, I found this to be a positive for him. He was a mysterious character in a very captivating way, and I was much more invested in his and Nina’s relationship/background than Kaz and Inej’s.
Jesper: Jesper was pretty likable, but if Kaz and Inej were underdeveloped, than Jesper certainly was. While he provided comic relief, I don’t feel that his character was all that integral to the story. It’s almost like Leigh Bardugo tried to make him a main character, but he really should’ve been a side character with no POV if anything, like Wylan.
*Even though some of these characters fell flat to me, I found the overall relationship dynamic and camaraderie among the characters as a whole to be really fun.
Kaz-I thought this book did shed more light on Kaz as a character, and I really grew to understand him more. I still wouldn’t say he is an all-time favorite character of mine like he is for others, but I did find him much more interesting in this novel. I’m a little surprised there wasn’t more of him in this novel though; I think he had fewer POV chapters than in book one.
Inej-Inej might’ve got the most POV chapters in this book. She was fine for me; she’s clearly a good friend and good person. However, I still never connected to her as much as the other characters. I also found her storyline with Dunyasha to be random and was started too close to the end for me to really feel the tension there.
Nina-Nina did not have as big a role as in the first book, but she was still complicated and interesting. I am really excited to see her in King of Scars, as her character arc was left more open-ended, and I really think there is huge potential with her.
Matthias-I really liked Matthias in this installment. He was a really interesting character who had been disillusioned by his people, but we finally saw him break through in this book. It was pretty jarring and heartbreaking to see his past come to haunt him, and I was very sad about his death. However, the whole series, I figured that if any of the six were to die, it would be him. His sad storyline had it written all over him.
Jesper-Jesper’s sarcastic comments were extremely frequent in the novel, and I think he was key to some really nice dialogue moments between the crew. Jesper was someone I felt was pretty 1-dimensional in the first book (I questioned the reason for his perspective), but in this book, his background was revealed in a really nice way.
Wylan-I really liked Wylan. In the first book, it was pretty impossible to form a real opinion on him as we really didn’t know much. However, we got a lot of content (including POV chapters) from him in this book, and we learned some really heartbreaking truths about his background. Ultimately, Wylan was a sweet, quiet teenager with a devastating childhood, so he was very easy to root for.
SIX OF CROWS: I honestly don’t have too much to say about the writing style per se. The most distinct aspects were definitely the use of multiple POVs and the frequent presence of flashbacks. Sometimes multiple perspectives keeps a story moving fast, but I did find the multiple POVs slowed the story down, as it took a while to get to know the characters. The flashbacks also slowed the story down, as it took us out of the action for a moment, and also seemed to stall the actual heist. I think that kept me from being obsessed with the book, because although I enjoyed the beginning of the book, I wasn’t riveted. By the end though, the heist was well-written and I was very invested; it just took some time to get there.
CROOKED KINGDOM: There still isn’t much I have to say about the writing. I struggled in this book, and in book one, with the somewhat unnecessary name dropping of people and locations, which left me confused in some instances. However, Leigh Bardugo was able to keep me really interested even in scenes that weren’t the most action-packed. There were a few section of dialogue and banter among the main characters that I absolutely loved. I also noticed that the chapters were longer in this novel, but they actually went by really fast for me, which is big credit to Bardugo’s writing.
SIX OF CROWS: I found the slow-burn romances to be pretty interesting. There were three romances, and I was honestly least interested in the headliner romance between Kaz and Inej, two characters who I liked, but thought I’d be way more interested in. I thought Nina and Matthias were much more fascinating characters, and so I really liked the tension between the two of them. Lastly, I found the casual flirting between Jesper and Wylan to be a really nice contrast to the two other romances which are very intense.
CROOKED KINGDOM: Not too much changed with my thoughts on the romances. Nina and Matthias were probably my two favorite characters in the series, and I really liked them together. The flirting from Nina contrasted with the “holiness” of Matthias was really fun to read, and I was really sad that they were the couple left devastated by death in the end. Jesper and Wylan were still a couple that was very easy to root for, and I think they really contrasted each other well again. I was definitely more interested in the Kaz and Inej relationship in this book, mainly in the way the relationship tested Kaz and gave him significant character growth. Overall, the romances in this novel were really well done; to craft three solid, slow-burning relationships is impressive.
SECTION 5-FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE:
FAVORITE: CROOKED KINGDOM
LEAST FAVORITE: SIX OF CROWS
Reasoning: I liked these two books virtually the same. Both had moments I found the pace lagged, but I still enjoyed both all the way through. I would say SIX OF CROWS had a more impressive ending action-sequence, whereas CROOKED KINGDOM was easier to get into and be invested in from earlier on. I think by CROOKED KINGDOM, I was more invested in the characters from the beginning, so the slower moments were much more enjoyable, even if I found the climax to be slightly anticlimactic.
I hope you enjoyed this review, and let me know if you agree with my thoughts 🙂