Ok so I meant to post this about a month ago but apparently my computer didn’t save what I had written (which is so sad because I had basically written another novel about how much I love this novel). But that might be a good thing because now I’ll only take maybe 1000000 words? (I kid).
But seriously, I’m not sure if I have ever been as impressed by a duology as I was by Crooked Kingdom and Six of Crows. I was thinking about it and the amount of representation in it is incredible. The queers are OUT and ABOUT in this book and as someone who really loves and appreciated that representation I was so thankful. And it’s not even like it’s just one queer character – there’s multiple and they don’t all die (GASP). With one character it’s never explicitly stated what their orientation is – there is some indication that they might be bisexual, but it’s never fully explored, and I think that that was a cool idea. For them, they had bigger issues that what their sexuality was and I think that that’s a subtle way of saying “its not our business” (of course, I loved them even more for the hints, but I loved them without them being specifically bi too).
And then there the representation of people of different races. Inej and Jesper – my loves. I really really loved that there was also a distinction between them too – even though they were both POC they had had extremely different experiences and it just goes to show that not one POC experiences racism or discrimination in a similar way, or has a single narrative. The way ableism was discussed also gave me a lot of joy, because it was treated so tactfully and respectfully. Wylan literally couldn’t read, but no one made fun of him, no one mistreated him or looked down on him – they respected that that was just one aspect of him, and that it didn’t change the fact that he’s a literal genius. Also to focus on the aspect family was so heartwarming!
Something that I find is a very touchy subject in novels is the topic of romance. I HATE when romance is the main focus of the plot, and I find that a lot of books can sometimes do that. But this book, while romance was definitely present, it was always kind of on the back burner. The romances also pushed the characters to be better – to be more trusting and have faith, to deal with personal issues that they had been avoiding, to be more honest and truthful (and at times, to be more ruthless 😉 ). All of the romances in this book were so perfect that I squealed at every interaction between the characters. I just couldn’t help it haha.
Sometimes I think about just how much thought had to go into these books. Because it’s easy for us to say ‘oh wow Kaz is so smart’ but Leigh Bardugo – my hat goes off to you. It could not have been easy to think up all those incredible scenarios (I have enough trouble making up my mind about what to read next) and somehow you managed to pull the wool completely over everyone’s eyes multiple times, and to throw us for a loop more than once. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next, I’m sure it will be spectacular.
I think that I’ve covered everything that I wanted to say, but I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Lets just say that Crooked Kingdom is all I ever could’ve asked of a sequel, the SoC duology is nearly perfect, and I am a Bardugo fan through and through. When I finally get my roommate to read this I’ll live blog her reactions haha.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom in the comments!