Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Synopsis

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

 

My Review

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.” 

Those of you who have read my review of ‘Six of Crows’ already know what I thought about the first part of this duology. But for those of you who haven’t read it, I’m just gonna quickly summarize my thoughts on it in a single sentence: I absolutely adored SOC and it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year so far.

(Unfortunately) that made me have really high expectations for ‘Crooked Kingdom’, especially because I’ve also seen so many people online state that they liked it even better than the first book. I’m guessing that might’ve been the reason why I was struggling with the book a little when I started reading it, though I might’ve also just not been in the mood for another fantasy novel. But no matter what the actual reason for my struggles was, I just had a hard time getting into this book. I basically had to force myself through the first 100 or 150 pages of it. Not even because it was badly written or absolutely boring, but because I just couldn’t sit down and properly concentrate on reading for a longer period of time. It really frustrated me but since I had been so excited for CK, I knew that I wouldn’t ever give up on it and pulled through which was totally worth it. At some point, something clicked. I had finally gotten into the book and the rest of it was just perfect.

The plot of CK was absolutely flawless and perfectly built on the plot of SOC. I’m still so impressed by the story Leigh Bardugo has created. How she thought of the entire plan that was necessary, so that they could successfully break into the ice court in the first book. But also by all the different things that went down in Ketterdam in this book. While reading both books I have so often been at points at which I was like: Damn, Kaz Brekker is such a genius. And seconds later I remembered that Leigh Bardugo wrote this book and didn’t only think of one plan for everything they did in this book, but instead she also had to think of second and third plans whenever things went wrong. All her ideas just went so well together and all the plot twists you can find in this book are just so well done. I was once again absolutely surprised by everything that happened and didn’t predict anything at all.

I’m also still completely in love with Leigh Bardugo’s writing style and I’m so glad I preordered Wonder Woman: Warbringer a couple of months ago before I’d ever even read on of her books because I can’t wait to read more stuff she’s written.

CK also made me feel even more connected to the characters and I love each and every one of them so dearly that some scenes of this book literally broke my heart. Nina is also still my favorite character and I’m so glad I finally found a character that I share a name with that isn’t absolutely boring or a complete brat.

All in all, CK is a great sequel to SOC and an amazing conclusion to this duology. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars because I just had a hard time getting into it which is why I simply can’t rate it the same as I rated SOC.

(Also, I really wish there were more books about these awesome characters and if Leigh Bardugo ever decides to write something more about them, make sure you tell me about it in case I miss it!)

Have you already read ‘Crooked Kingdom’ and did you like it? 🙂

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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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.

 

My Review

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.” 

If I had to describe ‘Six of Crows’ in a single word, I would have to use ‘AMAZING’. I literally can’t believe I managed to ignore the hype for so long because this is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year so far.

For quite some time now, everyone on Goodreads, Bookstagram and BookTube has been obsessed with the SOC duology and even though I bought both books when ‘Crooked Kingdom’ was published, I just kept myself from starting this series because I was so scared I wouldn’t like it as much as almost everybody else. I’ve had incredibly high expectations for SOC and, even though I’m often disappointed when I expect a lot from a book, Leigh Bardugo managed to even exceed my expectations with this YA Fantasy masterpiece.

SOC is a very gripping read. It’s been long since I’ve read a book that didn’t include a single scene that I thought was boring but SOC was one of those books. I kept reading and reading it and for once there weren’t any points at which I stopped and thought that a scene is redundant or could’ve been written in a different, more interesting way. That was of course mainly the case because the plot of this book was so amazing, but also because SOC is just extremely well written. Leigh Bardugo’s writing style is great and I immediately fell in love with it.

The book is written in third person POV but every chapter is kind of written from a different character’s point of view. I’m not exactly sure which kind of third person POV one would say this is written in, but I’d say it’s written in third person limited POV which allows us readers to gain insight into a different person’s head and life in each chapter. I usually don’t like switching POVs but in SOC it is very well done and I loved how the different POVs were kind of connected to each other. For example, in one chapter you read a scene in which a character does something the current character doesn’t understand and in the next chapter you then learn more about that character’s back story and understand why they’ve acted a certain way.

The characters were also all really well developed and I loved all of them (them = the six main characters). They had amazing back stories and even towards the end you still get to learn new things about some of them that will take you completely by surprise. This was also the first book I’ve ever read that included a character called Nina as one of the main characters which just made this book so much more enjoyable for me. She quickly became my favorite character, not just because we share a name, but because she’s just such an amazing and well-developed character that you probably cannot not like.

Like I’ve said before, SOC was a gripping read and that was mainly due to all the great plot twists in it. I literally didn’t expect any of them to happen and this book wasn’t predictable at all. Leigh Bardugo sent me, and probably most of the people that have already read this book, on an emotional rollercoaster. It was able to make me go from being amazed, to being shocked, to feeling betrayed and to wanting to bawl my eyes out within 10 pages. And as if that wasn’t already enough emotional drama, I’ve been told that ‘Crooked Kingdom’ is even worse in that department, so this duology is most probably going to be the end of me.

Still, I can’t wait to read CK even if it might destroy me. SOC is an amazing book and if you’re like me, and have been avoiding the hype for a very long time now, you should definitely grab this book right now and start reading it. 5 out of 5 stars for SOC!

Have you read Six of Crows and did you like it? 🙂

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Synopsis

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

My Review

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.” 

When I first heard about “The Night Circus” I had to immediately think of the “Cirque du Freak” series by Darren Shan because the German version of the books is called “The Midnight Circus”. I absolutely loved that series as a child, so I was completely down for this book. Also, literally everybody on BookTube, Bookstagram and Goodreads was going on about how amazing “The Night Circus” is and I just couldn’t ignore the hype any longer.

Due to all of this, I had very high expectations for the book and was scared that I would be disappointed. But don’t worry, before I even tell you about my thoughts on TNC, I can already tell you that my expectations were exceeded and I absolutely loved this book! It’s definitely become one of my all-time favorites and I’m so, so glad I finally decided to read it. So, thanks to everyone who recommended it to me!

The Night Circus tells the story of the “Cirque des Rêves”, the “Circus of Dreams”, and takes you into its magical world. Contrary to what I thought, this book doesn’t include vampires, werewolves or other fantasy characters but it’s solely about magic, illusions and also a little about psychics. The circus has an illusionist, a fortune-teller, a contortionist, someone who can see the future in the stars, someone who can see your past just by looking at you and much more. It’s a world you can immediately get lost in and which allows you to forget about your everyday life for a bit. This is also due to the fact that Erin Morgenstern’s writing is flawless. I immediately fell in love with her writing style and the way she managed to describe this world so perfectly, you feel like you’re not only reading the book, but you’re actually a part of it. It’s amazing.

Unlike a lot of other books, TNC covers a large period of time (round about 30 years) and it often jumps to the year 1902 in-between chapters. That might be a little confusing at first but 1902 is a year that is very important to the book and everything will soon make sense and won’t confuse you at all. Instead it’s fun to see how, if you pay attention to details, you can find some things that hint at ‘past events’ that happened during the time you’re actually reading about at that moment which is a lot of fun. Another thing that confused me at the beginning of the book was that there were some snippets written in second POV. Actually, I hate that POV and it’s a reason for me to immediately put a book down and stop reading it. But in this book, it puts you in the position of someone who visits the circus and since those snippets are short and there are only about 10 of those scenes in the book, it isn’t too much and instead makes you feel even closer to the circus. Also, at the end of your visit you find out about things that’ll interest you after having read the entire book which just made TNC even more awesome. I just love how Erin Morgenstern managed to connect the normal story line, the time jumps and the little snippets about the reader’s visit in a way, that makes this entire book so perfect.

The Night Circus is also a very quick read because, like I’ve said before, this book just immediately allows you to get lost in a world that you won’t want to leave again any time soon. You can easily read the book in less than a day or maybe even in one sitting. It’s also a very gripping read and not predictable at all. Until the very end, I didn’t really know how this story would end. There were always new surprises waiting for me. You will also quickly fall in love with the characters. Erin Morgenstern doesn’t immediately reveal everything you need to know about them, instead you slowly learn more and more about them and you can never be certain if the character you absolutely love might be a character you’ll hate in the next minute. Of course, TNC also includes a beautiful love story that’ll make you smile and maybe even cry.

All in all, The Night Circus is an amazing book and it has officially become one of my all-time favorites. I only finished reading it a couple of hours ago but I already want to reread it. Erin Morgenstern has created a masterpiece that everyone should read at least once in their life; I’m definitely going to force my friends and family to get themselves a copy of TNC. It’s a book that will make you wish for magic and the “Cirque des Rêves” to exist so that you can get lost in its tents for a couple of hours.

5 out of 5 stars for The Night Circus and if anyone asks me for my all-time favorite book now, I might finally have a proper answer for them.

Have you already read “The Night Circus” and did you like it? 🙂

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22328546Book: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 1

Published by: Harper Teen (Harper Collins)

Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

 

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

 

My review:

 

„Anyone can betray anyone.”

Red Queen is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time and I was really excited to finally start reading it. I had heard lots of great things about the book and I was really hoping I’d love it as much as everyone else and was almost scared that I would hate it.

One of the reviews I read before starting Red Queen was saying that it is a little like a mixture of The Hunger Games, The Selection and Divergent. I personally loved The Hunger Games and The Selection and also really liked Divergent which made me be even more excited for this book.

Now that I finished devouring Red Queen (yes I’m saying devouring because you cannot say that I simply read it), I have to say that I agree with the review and I loved how there were some things in the book that were similar to these other stories. But even though there were similarities, Red Queen was still something new and completely different and I absolutely loved it.

It took me about fifty pages to really get into this book. Those first pages weren’t boring and I was really interested in learning about this new world that Victoria Aveyard has created. But at around the fiftieth or sixtieth page the story began to pick up and from one page to the other I was glued to this book. I just always wanted to know what would happen next and on every page you learned new things about this world or something unexpected happened, Red Queen just wasn’t boring at any part of it.

Mare (the female protagonist) is a character I really liked and since the story is a first-person narrative written from her point of view, I quickly felt as if I were inside of the book and lived her life. I already feel very attached to her.

I also liked some of the other characters but what I liked the most about the characters from this book is how you could never know what kind of a person they really are.

It wasn’t only because all of the silvers have their special powers and my first impression of them usually completely changed as soon as their powers (and their real characters) were revealed. It was also because of the ending of this book and all the plot twists I never would have expected. Suddenly characters I actually liked became characters I deeply despise and characters I hated became characters I feel sorry for.

The end was definitely the most interesting and the best part of this book. The last fifty pages were extremely gripping and almost made me snap at some people because they wanted to talk to me instead of letting me finish this book and find out if everything would be fine in the end.

I always thought Cassandra Clare is the queen of plot twists and cliff hangers but after having read Red Queen I have to say that she now has to share her throne with Victoria Aveyard. Not only were there like a hundred plot twists in this book but it also ended with a freaking cliff hanger and I just can’t wait to read Glass Sword.

I’m so glad someone told me to get the second book of the series before starting to read Red Queen because if I didn’t own it, I’d probably go crazy right now!

 

Anyways, I’m off reading Glass Sword now and if you love Fantasy and Young Adult novels and enjoyed The Hunger Games, The Selection or Divergent, you should definitely read Red Queen.

Definitely five out of five stars for this book!

 

Have you read Red Queen? And if you have, did you like it?