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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo {4 Stars}

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo {4 Stars}

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #2)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on Sept. 27th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 536 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Kaz Brekker and his crew 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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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 magic in the Grisha world.

4 Stars

All right, so I have a problem. During November of last year I took a break from blogging to win NanoWrimo. But of course I was still reading! I’ve been debating what to do with the notes that I took after finishing each book. I had a plan to write out a full review of them based on the notes, but three months later and I have to admit that that is just not likely to happen. I still want to talk about the books with you though! So here is a barebones, just-my-notes chat about Crooked Kingdom!

Strengths:
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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ARC {4.5 Stars}

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is the first in her new series set in the same world as her Grisha trilogy. There has been a lot of anticipation and hype for Six of Crows and I can happily say that it lives up to expectations and more. I can really see how Bardugo has developed as a writer and absolutely love how she is building her world and giving us a whole lot more characters to fall deeply in love with.

Note: I borrowed an advanced copy of Six of Crows. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ARC {4.5 Stars}

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (The Dregs #1)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on Sept. 29th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo {5 Stars}

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo is the thrilling conclusion to the Grisha trilogy and wow does it pack a punch. Ruin and Rising combined everything I’ve loved about this trilogy so far and added a whole lot of feels to the mix. If you haven’t started The Grisha trilogy yet and enjoy fantasy, you really just have to get on that ;-). There will be major spoilers below if you haven’t read Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm! I also have to warn you that this is going to be one of those reviews where I struggle to contain my enthusiasm a bit, haha.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo {5 Stars}

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #3)
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on June 17th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

5 Stars

Strengths:
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4 Stars: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This is a repost of my guest review over at Bibliotropic, thanks for having me Ria! And be sure to check out my review of Siege and Storm on Monday!

I’ve always been on the lookout for unique fantasy. Fantasy that takes me to truly new worlds, with new creatures and powers. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo met that wish wonderfully! Between the Russian-inspired setting, the terrifying nature of The Shadow Fold and the intriguing power Alina suddenly manifests, I was hooked from the first page. It didn’t hurt that I had seen so many of my friends raving about Shadow and Bone. If you haven’t read it yet (and like fresh fantasy), then stop denying yourself this awesome experience!
Note: I borrowed Shadow and Bone from my local library. All opinions are my own.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Length: 356 pages
Genre-ish: Fantasy YA
Rating★★★ amazing new setting, awesome characters

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.– Goodreads

Strengths:

  •  Did I mention that the setting is inspired by Russian culture?? Don’t get me wrong, I love the good ol’ medieval England as much as the next fantasy nerd, but there are so many other interesting places in the world to base fantasy settings on! Shadow and Bone did this wonderfully by also not including too many new words to overwhelm a reader not familiar with the culture.
  • I love a book that has a list of all the magic-user categories in the front. My copy of Shadow and Bone had a nice list of all three main categories and what each of the sub-specialities were. This was so much fun to get a sneak peak at the magic system right away and then to be able to refer back to as I was reading. On top of that, Shadow and Bone has some pretty nifty magic types, like people who can manipulate certain materials to make otherwise impossible items.
  • While the description makes it sound like there might be a love triangle, and I was nervous for a couple of pages, there isn’t the full angst and flip-flopping too typical of this genre.
  • Not only did I like Alina from the beginning, I liked who she developed into and as found out so much more about herself and her power. She makes some bad decisions (a protagonist that isn’t perfect :D) and then tries to fix them as soon as she can. What an excellent role model ;-).
  • The writing was fluid and compelling. I was always excited to find another hour to read (and even brought Shadow and Bone in the car just in case) and was able to read through it very quickly.

Weaknesses:

  •  Unfortunately, the plot twists were fairly predictable. There are fairly typical love is stronger than violence themes, which is nice, but again predictable.
  • There are these special objects called amplifiers that, well, amplify power. However, they apparently don’t work exactly how everyone uses them for, and this was used to the villains advantage at one point, etc etc. I never was super clear on what the rules were for them, which I found disappointing. I like twists like this to make complete sense in retrospect, but I’m still confused. Anyone care to help me out?
  • I was left with some questions about the basic workings of the magic system. For example the way the plot goes, it sounds like Grisha (the magic users) can pass on their power to their children, ie it’s genetic. However, Grisha are born to ungifted parents most of the time it seems. Do Grisha have children ever? If not, why not? I need genetic explanations, haha.

Summary:

Shadow and Bone was such a fun fantasy story. I thought the Russian-inspired setting was done very well (though someone more versed on Russian culture may have a different opinion, who knows, haha). The characters were multi-dimensional and believable. I ended up quite liking how the romance played out, and I’m very excited to read the sequel and see that develop further! I hope that a couple of my questions get sorted out in the sequel, but that might not happen, haha.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo