Back to the Grishaverse | Reviews: Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars

Posted March 11, 2019 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Well folks, this has been a whirlwind. I was thinking, about a week before KING OF SCARS was released, about how excited I was to read Nikolai’s story. I suddenly panicked – were SIX OF CROWS/CROOKED KINGDOM characters going to end up in his book? What is the timeline in the Grishaverse for these stories? The fact that I kept putting off CK for various reasons, which I’ll get into later, crept into my mind. Did I finally need to read it first? The answer was, semi-unfortunately, yes. I needed to read it. One of the KoS points of view is from a SoC/CK character and the events take place after. Whoops. So now I wouldn’t be able to read one of my most anticipated reads ON release day like I planned, but I would somehow have to squeeze in a book from a different series first… one that I didn’t want to read.

I enjoyed SIX OF CROWS but not nearly as much as everyone else. I met Leigh Bardugo as my first author I met in real life, got a signed ARC of the book at BEA, and was basically on cloud nine. It took me FOREVER to get into the story once I started reading though. I switched to the audiobook and liked it just fine. Everyone mentioned how CROOKED KINGDOM kinda destroyed them and I was (a) nervous about being the black sheep and (b) not looking forward to being destroyed, potentially. However, sometimes you have to be willing to do things like this for people you love… mostly, for Nikolai. So off I went – to finish the previous Grisha book before moving on to the most anticipated one.

Back to the Grishaverse | Reviews: Crooked Kingdom and King of ScarsCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Macmillan on September 20, 2016
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows, Summer Days & Summer Nights, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Ninth House
Format: Audio/Physical (560 pages) • Source: Audible, Owned
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Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

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.

I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book, for real. I knew I would probably end up loving it (despite mixed thoughts/feelings outlined earlier) and of course, it killed me.

There were so many PURE ASS MOMENTS of friendship and camaraderie and I just smiled like an ass so often. Nina and Inej in particular were wonderful, but I loved seeing this group of misfits band together and get to know each other so closely. Loyal and funny and adorable in a fucked up way. Would die for any of them.

In terms of actual storytelling, plotting, and character development, this book is perfect. We got glimpses into each of their pasts and more information about how they came to work with/for Kaz in this group, which was so interesting. We saw the relationships and trust develop between everyone as they seamlessly worked as a unit. Just when you expected something to be going wrong, it was all a part of the plan.

One “issue” I had was really my own fault, but nonetheless. I’ll keep it vague first: I saw SOMETHING online that made me think that SOMETHING happened in this book relating to one of the main characters. I assumed I knew what happened and then eventually had it confirmed via accidentally seeing part of a KING OF SCARS review. Because I was fully prepared for the moment, it definitely didn’t hit me as hard as I expected. I braced myself, expected the worst, and it unfortunately happened. Actual spoilers: View Spoiler » It kind of sucks that the emotional impact wasn’t AS strong but to be honest that’s completely my fault.

Overall, I can’t complain about anything. Everything about how this book was crafted was perfection. My problems with it (above) are only my fault so I really can’t reduce my rating to anything other than perfection. I cannot wait to see my babies again (hopefully more than one of them but I do know one IS a POV).

Back to the Grishaverse | Reviews: Crooked Kingdom and King of ScarsKing of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Nikolai Duology #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published by Macmillan on January 29, 2019
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows, Summer Days & Summer Nights, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Ninth House
Format: Hardcover (528 pages) • Source: Purchased
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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

KING OF SCARS went similarly to other books set in the Grishaverse… and like other fantasy books I read. I have a weird, bad attention span when it comes to fantasy and world-building. It took me basically ALL of February to read this book; I spent 2.5 weeks only 10 chapters in. When an excellent friend shared the audibook with me toward the end of the month, I knew I’d be able to plug away and finally finish this one off. (Sound similar to the SIX OF CROWS situation before?)

So yeah this took me basically all of February but it was worth it. It honestly felt like the kind of book that deserved and needed the time to read. I have loved Nikolai for so many years that it felt pretty good to relish in his existence for a while. I also have to say that I was initially not SUPER excited about the alternating multiple POV chapters (even though I did like this in SoC… I think I was mostly like JUST GIVE NIKOLAI ONLY at first)… but I was very happy with them as time went on. Zoya, Nikolai, Nina, Isaak… everyone was the best. I wanted to squeeze Isaak all the time and ZOYA IS A BADASS ALWAYS and Nina is Nina aka perfection, obviously. I don’t even need to talk about Nikolai because come on.

I liked that the characters had somewhat connected storylines but some were on their own adventures. I don’t think I can talk about anything without getting into the spoiler zone so I think I’ll just stop there. The rest of this review is about the ending…

!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE DID THAT. Holy shit. I did not see that coming lol. I cried driving to work, which is rude. It’s all rude. Leigh Bardugo is R U D E. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

4 responses to “Back to the Grishaverse | Reviews: Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars

  1. I just read Crooked Kingdom for the first time and honestly I wasn’t that destroyed?? I heard the same sorts of things: that the book was absolutely devastating, that the ending would leave me in tears. Except… it didn’t. I was said and all about that big *event* but I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t as attached to them as the rest of the gang. Sad, but I wasn’t ‘absolutely destroyed’. Still, I 100% agree the flow of the book and the character banter within it is just so lovely and it’s definitely going to be a series that I’ll be rereading! I’m excited to read the rest of the Grishaverse (as I still haven’t read KoS, or the Shadow and Bone series).

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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