Rating: 4 Bookworms
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.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Goodness! This had been sitting on my shelf for wayyy too long! However with the recent release of Crooked Kingdom (which I immediately bought upon its release) I knew that it was past time to sit down and read this beaut and I’m happy I did! One thing that I didn’t know going into it is that this is kind of a spinoff of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series but what is great is that this can be read as a standalone which is how I read it. I totally didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not having read the other series.
While there are many influential characters in this book today I’m going to focus on my favorite two, Kaz and Inej.
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews you would know that there’s nothing I love more un the world than a powerful heroine and with Inej you get that in spades. Her nickname in the Dregs is freaking the wraith, can’t get much more badass than that. She gained that nickname because she’s so silent that no one ever sees her coming or going. But life hasn’t always been easy for Inej, or any of the characters really. She grew up with an idyllic home life following in the family business of acrobatics until she was taken and eventually sold to a brothel. Whilst there she caught the attention of Kaz, resident bad boy and all around scary dude. Unbeknownst to her he convinces his “boss” of sorts to buy her from the brothel and offer her a chance to pay off her tenure by working for him. And just like that Kaz has given her a place to call her own and what grows to become a sort of dysfunctional family she thought she would never have again.
Although Inej presents herself as a badass that is not to be messed with she is still traumatized by the time she was taken from her family and forced to work at the brothel, a place she thought she would never escape. She uses excessive force when fighting so that people will think twice about messing with her. As aloof as she pretends to be she has a soft spot for Kaz and their merry band of bandits, although she would never admit that out loud; Inej might be one of my all time favorite characters for this very reason. I love that she’s tough on the outside yet soft on the inside because I feel like nowadays that’s how a lot of people feel like they need to be. Her character will resonate with a lot of people but especially woman that need to be ruthless at work yet crawls around with her kids when she’s at home.
Oh, the mysterious Kaz Brekker. No one really knows where he came from but they do know that despite the fact that he’s a cripple (he walks with a cane) no one is to ever cross him. He’s the ring leader of the eclectic band of bandits, selecting each one for a specific purpose that only he knows. The only person he has ever let see any weakness in him is Inej, although that mostly stems from the fact that he at times doesn’t seem to realize or care that she’s around–she is the wraith after all–although she would never betray his trust by revealing his secrets to others. It isn’t until later that we start to see the chinks in his armor: where he comes from and what he has been through. It’s then that we realize that Kaz Brekker is not at all who we think he is.
I love Kaz because he’s a multifaceted character; just when you think you are starting to understand him he completely changes on you. He has hidden depths that you don’t expect to see in a gangster from the Dregs. After going through so much as a child and having absolutely nothing, he has made a name for himself and is someone that should be feared and respected.
I can’t wait to get my hands on Crooked Kingdom to see where this saga goes but one thing is for sure: it’s gonna be a wild ride!
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of
Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising). She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.