As a bookstagrammer, I couldn’t have missed the hype around Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. After hearing it certainly lived up to the hype, I decided to read the duology. But I figured reading the Grisha trilogy first would provide me a useful background, and so I started with those.
Having read all five books, I feel like it’s safe to say the duology is a lot better than the trilogy. Nevertheless, it was nice to read the latter. Not only did it indeed provide more insight in the world Bardugo constructed, the series also had some fun characters, so I had a good time reading the books. However, I mostly appreciated the trilogy because it shows Bardugo’s tremendous potential and the way she developed herself as a writer. I feel like that process is visible in her books, since in the Six of Crows duology, she lived up to her potential so much more. It really makes me curious about what she’ll write next.
Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1)
I’ve read Shadow and Bone before in 2016, but the timing was off and I didn’t remember much of it, so I figured I’d read it again. I love the world building in this series, but it’s really not very original. The book follows the standard format: young girl who thinks she’s nothing special discovers she has special talents, learns to control them, and has to fight the villain. Most ya fantasy follows this format, but the really good ones have something extra to them, that this one seems to lack… Overall, it was an enjoyable read, but nothing amazing.
Siege and Storm (Grisha #2)
Luckily, these books make for a very quick read, because even though Siege and Storm was entertaining and a few great new characters were introduced (Nikolai!), nothing much else happened… It wasn’t until the last 30 pages or so that the action finally started, and then the book was over. Overall, it was a quite typical second book in a series…
Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3)
Ruin and Rising was, I think, the best book in the series. Not only was it more action-packed than the first two, but the interaction between the characters was pretty good and they all got more depth, which made the book more believable. I couldn’t it, but the Darkling really reminded me of Kylo Ren… That was unintended of course, since this trilogy is older than The Force Awakens.
Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
If this is how Leigh Bardugo improves her writing, I can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with next! Six of Crows was so much better than the Grisha trilogy that I don’t even know where to begin. The plot was a lot more interesting, the characters had more depth to them, the writing was better… It was like Ocean’s 11 set in 17th century Holland, which worked so well! Also, I really liked the plot twists, and there were quite a few of those.
My only slight criticism is that it might be a little too ‘perfect’ to have the six main characters basically form three couples at the end of the book. It would’ve been more interesting, I think, had Kaz and Inej stayed in a platonic relationship. Their feelings toward each other feel a bit forced to me, whereas I really want Jesper and Wylan to get together, and I also love Nina and Matthias. Overall, Wylan was definitely my favorite character, but they all have their appeal, and they’re really great together.
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
After reading Six of Crows, I had high expectations of Crooked Kingdom. And it met them, in the way that it gave more depth to the great characters and it had the same fun interactions (possibly even more fun!). I do have a few problems with it though. First of all, some parts definitely felt too slow, which made me feel like the book could’ve been shorter. Also, I didn’t really see the relevancy of the characters from the Grisha trilogy suddenly popping up. Furthermore, the story didn’t feel like the well thought out puzzle that is Six of Crows – it’s a lot messier and that makes it less clear. I do have to admit, the mess makes it feel more realistic (for as far as that’s possible with a book like this). All in all, it’s a highly entertaining and pretty well written book. I also really appreciate the ending: it rounds off the crucial story lines, but doesn’t go into too much detail, leaving things to the imagination – which is my favorite kind of ending. I also think all of the characters got the ending that fitted their development best.
I think it’s clear that I think the Six of Crows duology is infinitely better than the Grisha trilogy. However, I would recommend reading the trilogy first, since it offers more insight in the world Bardugo built. One of her greatest strengths as a writer is definitely her character building, and the way she lets her characters interact.