Thursday, 29 June 2017

Bookish Perfection (Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo)

'"Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too"' - Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom, page 528

Bookish perfection has been reached. I repeat, bookish perfection has been reached. Everyone else can pack up and go home, guys. I can die happy. 

Seriously, this book has no flaws. No flaws at all. The characters? Perfect. Fictionally speaking, that is. Let's not all go out and try to emulate Kaz Brekker. That could feasibly bring about the end of the world. The plot? Perfect. It. Kept. Twisting. The romance? Perfect. And I rarely think that about romance plotlines. If I pick up a book, I want violent action scenes, characters descending into the depths of despair, and death. So much death. I don't want them snogging for three pages straight. 

Six of Crows was no slouch in the character development department, but it's Crooked Kingdom where they really get their chances to shine. This is the book that deals with Jesper's gambling problems and his powers. This is the book that digs deep into the broken relationship between Wylan and his father. This is the book where Inej finally goes toe to toe with someone who can match her. This is the book where Nina overcomes parem, Matthias battles with his beliefs, and Kaz struggles with his PTSD.

Plot-wise, this is a story of revenge. We've all seen revenge plots a million times in books and TV shows, and they always go the same way. The hero wants revenge, but later comes to the realisation that no, his dead mother/brother/friend would not want him to do this. Revenge would make him just as bad as the villain. He must overcome the resentment in his own heart.

This is not that story.

This is a real revenge story. One that doesn't shy away from being as spiteful and petty as possible. As Kaz says himself, "I wasn't made to be a hero." It took me until most of the way through the book to realise that Kaz isn't dangerous because he doesn't care about most people. He's dangerous because he loves the people he's close to so fiercely that he would call down a plague upon the world for them. And I like that. Love being used as a motive for bad rather than good. We don't see that often enough in fiction.

The only problem with this book is that it's over.

Should I read the Grisha trilogy?