Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page count: 462 pages
Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
This book was such an amazing read. One of the best books I’ve ever read. Ever (and my friend was just telling me “you always say that!” well, I do a lot of research on Goodreads before I actually pick up a book so as to ensure it will be a good read, but I have had my bad books too).
It’s just… such a clever book. I never failed to marvel at all of the tricks that took place. It never failed to stump me. This has still left me with some unanswered questions, >spoiler: like why Kaz fainted on the prison cart< and I cannot wait to read the second book, Crooked Kingdom.
~ characters ~
Can we talk about the characters? Cos I freaking love the characters! They’re just… so precious (I have a feeling I’ve said that before.. but trust me on this one!). Is it a surprise my favourite is Inej? She’s just… AMAZING, I love her!
“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”
I love the representation of kick-ass female characters in this book – Inej and Nina. It’s just nice to see it in books, as a teenage girl myself. I feel like there is still that stereotype of how females are somehow inferior to males… and it’s just 🙄
“Why don’t Fjerdans let girls fight?”
“They don’t want to fight.”
“How do you know? Have you ever asked one?”
“Fjerdan women are to be venerated, protected.”
“That’s probably a wise policy.”
“Think how embarrassing it would be for you when you got trounced by a Fjerdan girl.”
Kaz is definitely a very cool character but, do I like him? Not too much. I mean, he’s very smart, a very interesting character to read about, but personally a lot of the time I wanted to slap him in the face. Sorry.
“But effective. Being angry at Kaz for being ruthless is like being angry at a stove for being hot.”
Who knows, maybe I might come to like him more by the end of Crooked Kingdom.
Or maybe I’m just being harsh. I mean, >spoiler: he definitely has been through a lot, what with the traumatising experience of seeing his dead brother and such, it can only be expected that that would have a negative toll on any person<
I quite liked Jesper. I was kind of disappointed at, >spoiler: when he turned out to be the one that betrayed them<. But I guess I probably should have seen it coming since, >spoiler: he was in debt a lot and stuff, and I mean, people get tempted<. He’s so funny.
“Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”
Mathias is, in my opinion, a somewhat complicated character. To be completely fair, you can’t exactly blame him, spoiler> what with Nina “betraying” him and all. In fact the entire relationship between Nina and Mathias is so complicated< I’d advise you to keep an eye on him throughout the book.
Wylan is a very likeable character. Spoiler> I think because he wasn’t so experienced with being a criminal really made him likeable. He seemed to act as the conscience for the whole group<
~ plot ~
The plot was just… amazing. It’s just so good.
“Six people, but a thousand ways this insane plan could go wrong.”
It’s quite complicated. If this is the sort of book you’re looking forward to reading when you’re tired and just want to enjoy a light and cheerful read while putting your feet up after a long day…
Stop right there.
Trust me, I tried, and a couple of paragraphs later I was completely confused and had to read back. And then I felt my mind slipping again, and was again at a loss of what was going on.
Your brain has to be turned on for this book. And it’s more fun that way, because then you can make all these wild guesses and theories about what happens next and still be totally wrong.
~ the writing ~
“She tilted her head back, breathing deeply. It was a stone gray day, the sea a bleak slate broken up by whitecaps, the sky pleated with thick ripples of cloud. A hard wind filled the sails, carrying the little boat over the waves.
‘It feels good to be this kind of cold,’ she murmured.
‘Wind in your hair, sea spray on your skin. The cold of the living.”
Yeah, about the writing… IT’S REALLY, REALLY GOOD?!!
There were moments where I was reading it and I was just wondering, how long did it take Leigh Bardugo to write this book? Every word is polished to perfection.
This book was crafted and carved to its finest. Sadly, I used a library book, but as soon as I can afford it, I will buy my own copy of this because the cover is so, so beautiful and I totally look forward to reading this again.
“The heat of the incinerator wrapped around Inej like a living thing, a desert dragon in his den, hiding from the ice, waiting for her. She knew her body’s limits, and she knew she had no more to give. She’d made a bad wager. It was as simple as that. The autumn leaf might cling to its branch, but it was already dead. The only question was when it would fall.”
There were some points where I read a word, phrase or sentence, and maybe because I’m a writer I pay more attention to things like this, but I read it over and over again because I was just so wowed by it.
I’m really glad I’ve read this now, and not when it came out, a year ago, because I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I can now. I recommend considering that before you start reading it 🙂
~ and if I haven’t yet convinced you to read this… ~
This book is such a beautiful masterpiece, and if it’s not clear already, I love it.
So, have I managed to convince you to read this book if you haven’t yet? If you have read it, what do you think about it? Do you agree/disagree with anything I said?