Book Review – Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

That’s right, after I finished the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, I set out to read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom Duology. Because I had to meet Kaz Brekker in a literary fashion.

For those who don’t have Netflix and haven’t had the pleasure of seeing season one of Shadow and Bone, the creators of the show found a means to meld the characters from both the first series and what I will dotingly call the Kaz Brekker duology. So when I watched the show and got my first glimpse of the character Kaz Brekker, I knew I had to read his books.

Imagine my surprise when the Shadow and Bones trilogy did NOT have this rough anti-hero gracing its pages?

It’s alright, though. I forgave the author because I fell in love with Nikolai. Seemed an even trade-off at the time.

I will note that I had an inkling that my husband would enjoy this character as well, so instead of just reading the novels on my own, we opted for the audio version and listened to the first novel together while on vacation. Fun note: I was right, my husband loves Kaz as much as I do, and he may have decided Inej was his favorite female character too. Which is saying something because he doesn’t normally get in tight with the women on the page.

We both had one criticism for the novels, though. These characters felt much, much older than she was telling us they were on the page. It almost felt like the editors were forcing her to lower their ages so that she could fit the novels in the young adult market. Personally, I feel they would have been fine in the “new adult” section and letting them age up just a couple years.

That said, I loved these books. Kaz Brekker has become my favorite anti-hero. The actor who plays him in the Netflix series has nailed his personality. I give a hearty round of applause to him for that. He read these books, he understood who he was playing, and he put him to life in such a way that I, as a newfound Bardugo fan, have no complaints.

Inej is fantastic. She is able to walk the line between feminine grace, kindness, and necessary ruthlessness.

Likewise, the rest of the cast were engaging and I was cheering for them, and wincing during failures, from start to finish. The city of Ketterdam felt alive and the magic of the Grisha remains interesting to see in action. If you enjoy fantasy, these books will satisfy.

From a writer’s standpoint, I’ll note that Bardugo nails dialogue in these two books. If you’re an author, I recommend reading these two novels in particular to watch how she is able to work through heist plans via the dialogue on the page, making it all feel fresh, easy to follow, and colored with the characters who are speaking.

Five of five stars – with a note that it does feel more adult in places, with themes that parents will want to watch out for. There are brothels discussed, but no explicit scenes on the page to be worried about.

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