For the first time in her life, she got a job, a great job, and she was happy about it. There was only one huge drawback: there was no time to read. Only stolen moments and a few pages a day, just to keep in touch with the essence of magic only words can offer. One cloudy morning, while she was in the bus to work, reading, a scene came. You know which one. There was a gunshot. A kiss. And then silence. Deafening silence. But she couldn't cry. She couldn't scream and clutch her chest to make sure she wasn't bleeding. She was going to work. She had to plaster a fake smile on her face and pretend she was interested in stocks and investments, as if her world didn't just crumble. But her heart was crying. And when she returned home, she let the floodgates open.
That was all she could offer.
She would remember.
“She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.”
In Crooked Kingdom, Kaz is planning another stunt. Or better yet, stunts. He has to get back his “money”, destroy his enemies and take control of the Barrel. The entire Ketterdam is after him and his crew, merchants, the city guard, the rival gangs, foreign dignitaries, and everything evolves around the young scientist they rescued and the drug that can change everything for Grisha, for better or for worse. But plans can go wrong, trust can be tested, hearts can get broken, and the six thugs and thieves have not spoken the last word yet.
“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?"
"Guns?" asked Jesper.
"Ships?" queried Inej.
"Bombs?" suggested Wylan.
"Political bribes?" offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. "This is where you tell us how awful we are," she whispered.
He shrugged. "They all seem like practical choices.”
Every time I think I have witnessed the fullest extent of Leigh Bardugo's potential, I realize there is more. Her resourcefulness and ingeniousness will never cease to amaze me, she crafted plots and heists and schemes with such intricacy and presicion you couldn't help but feel deep admiration! And a little befuddlement, if we're being honest, because how could your own mind compete with hers?
“My mother is Ketterdam. She birthed me in the harbor. And my father is profit. I honor him daily.”
I loved how we spent so much time inside the heads of the main characters, but yet there were so many things we didn't fully know that managed to surprise us and resulted in muffled screams of triumph (or terror, there was enough insecurity and terror for a lifetime). And let's not forget that there were certain guest appearances that made us squeal like excited mating whales. The humor, the sarcasm, the witty banters, they were all there to release the tention, to take a break before the fallouts. These characters, they were rare. Each and every one of them, with their flaws, their greed, their monstrocity and their righteousness, their dreams and secrets, they fought for a place in a world that rejected them. Kaz was brutal, vindictive, beyond salvation. Or so he thought. He was a nightmare, I recognize that, but there was a human hidden beneath his hatred and cruelness. And Inej was his weakness.
“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.”
After all those terrible things that were done to her, she never lost her faith. She was strong, she did her best to survive and wished to change things for people like her, for the nobodies and the nothings.
“I am grateful you're alive", he said. "I am grateful that you're beside me. I am grateful that you're eating."
She rested her head on his shoulder.
"You're better that waffles, Matthias Helvar."
A small smile curled the Fjerdan's lips.
"Let's not say things we don't mean, my love.”
Matthias and Nina were my precious cinnamon rolls. They were so different, two enemies who were meant to meet and fall in love and fight side by side, to set the example of peace between two nations that were bred in hatred and fear.
And Jesper and Wylan, they taught each other that they must embrace their fears and let them be their power. To accept who they were, they boy with the gift and the boy that couldn't read but was smart beyond imagination.
“He doesn't say goodbye. He just lets go.”
Let me finish this story about a girl I know.
She wished for a happier ending. She wished for pink unicorns. But Leigh Bardugo gave her something bittersweet. A taste she will carry with her wherever she goes, no matter how many days and months and years have passed. She tucked them in her heart, and sealed it with her tears.
This way, they'll never be gone.