Book Review: CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Yes - book 2 of Sif of Crows, book 5 of GrishaVerse


crooked kingdom.jpg

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find on Amazon UK, the Book Depository, and UK (affiliate links.)


This is another stunning book from Leigh Bardugo. I think I love this more than the first, because there are so many cons running at once, so many different schemes twisting through the story, rather than one overarching heist. Every action has multiple repercussions, not all that you’ll be aware of until much later.

CROOKED KINGDOM delves even deeper into character’s backstories, particularly those given less attention last time – Jesper and Wylan. Wylan gets his own POV(!) and we see him struggling with his morals and upbringing. As the others (apart from Matthias) have few qualms, it was a nice to see someone struggling with a different perspective to our broody warrior-friend.

Inej and Kaz take over from Nina and Matthias as the characters with the most tension. Unlike Nina/Matthias, there’s so much Kaz and Inej don’t say. There’s no screaming/directness that characterised Nina and Matthias’ relationship, which would be wrong for people mired in secrecy and double-meaning. Not to mention they both have their own struggles with people. The bathroom scene is brilliant as their fears bubble up as Kaz tries to change Inej’s bandages.

The characters, particularly Nina, push back against Kaz more, asserting their own desires. It gave them more agency in the scheme, rather than playing their part. CROOKED KINGDOM also didn’t ignore Nina’s sacrifice at the end of SIX OF CROWS, and the direction her magic – and thus the magic system as a whole – is really interesting, if a little gross.

I loved the Nikolai cameo, and it’s made me even more excited for KING OF SCARS. Now I’ve completed the GrishVerse re-read, it’s time for that massive, shiny book!

The ending is a little heartbreaking. It’s utterly the right choice for the series, and stakes, but… It’s sad. I really hope there is a third book because I’d love more heists and time with these characters.

Read my reviews of other books my Leigh Bardugo

For Young Adult:

The GrishaVerse:

DC Icons:

For Adult:

Alex Stern:

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