Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.
Oh, that’s such a good book.
It takes the world of Shadow and Bone and completely ignores the at times overly YA political and religions machinations of that particular trilogy in favor of a somewhat darker and grittier heist novel.
For the most part, you really don’t need to have read Shadow and Bone first. There are a few references to the ‘Ravkan Civil War’ and even to Sankta Alina, but other than that, it’s a new world. There are still Grisha, but they’re far less ‘miliary’, instead using (and hiding) their powers in all manner of interesting ways.
And while the heist elements were strong (an impossible job, planning going absolutely sideways, and double triple crossing left and right) we also get all sorts of interesting backstory. Each of the main characters has chapters in their voice, but in the action going now, and explaining how they got into this mess in the first place. It’s a lot, but in a good way!
One gotcha is that, while the main heist plot is more than adequately contained in the book, it very much is the first half of a duology. It managed to just make me want to read the second… but don’t go into this looking for a stand alone novel.
But what really shines are the characters.
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.
Oh, it’s so delightful. Kaz. The brains behind the operation, criminal with… well not exactly a heart of gold, but if your on his team he is there for you. And ooooh what the backstory.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
Inej. The Wraith. The sneaky one.
Besides, she was the Wraith – the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.
Quite the backstory for her too…
Jesper, the shooty gambling one.
“Wylan,” Jesper said, giving him a little shake. “Maybe your tutors didn’t cover this lesson, but you do not argue with a man covered in blood and a knife up his sleeve.”
He’s delightful and has secrets with all sorts of room for the second book.
Wylan, the new one. A solid secret I did not see coming and a solid friend.
Nina. Heartrender. One of the strongest connections to Shadow and Bone and the Grisha of that book, but she’s gone through some stuff since then.
And… Matthias. Fjerdan. Hunter of Grisha. Stuck with all these miscontents.
“And if she was, then Grisha weren’t inherently evil. They were like anyone else—full of the potential to do great good, and also great harm. To ignore that would make Matthias the monster.”
Oh, I love it.
There’s a reason they’re the best part of the TV show. I really have to see what more they pulled of Six of Crows into Season 2 now!
Overall well worth the read, even more than Shadow and Bone. Where can Crooked Kingdom possibly go from here?