W A R N I N G: C O N T A I N S S P O I L E R S F R O M E X C E R P T ! ! !
September 27, 2016… The date when Crooked Kingdom is released and the brutal wait is over. Here’s what we know so far…
There Will Be No ARCs
In an act of grace, no ARCs are being provided for Crooked Kingdom. I say “grace” because I most likely wouldn’t have gotten a copy of an ARC, and that fact would have tortured me completely. Pictures of advance Crooked Kingdoms would have flooded Instagram and Twitter, (“Look what I got in the mail today, guys! Haha! Whee!”), and I would have been swept up in pathological, pointless jealousy… I would have contacted these people, these lucky recipients, probably resorting to shameful acts of begging and bribery, probably to no avail… I would have entered every giveaway, and lost every one… I would have been ruined.
…Yes. It’s best that no ARCs are being provided.
Two Chapters Are Public, 47 Pages Are Exclusive
Here’s all we’re going to get… Two chapters are released on the Grishaverse website for the poor, slavering masses. Forty-seven pages are printed in the Exclusive Sampler, released at this year’s Book Expo of America (BEA) and sent to prominent book bloggers in the mail. I’m not sure how many pages beyond the first two chapters are in the Exclusive Samplers, but I really want to find out.
UPDATE: I’ve heard a rumor that the sampler has FOUR chapters. These Exclusive Samplers are available for purchase on Ebay… for absurd amounts of money! If I were a rich girl I would buy one, but alas, I can’t justify paying more to read a few extra pages now than I would for the entire book come September.
UPDATE: A sampler went up for sale on ebay that was reasonably priced (about the cost of a Jimmy John’s sandwich with a drink and three bags of chips), and… I bought it. I know it’s very bad for people to sell and buy promotional materials, but I COULD NOT HELP MYSELF. One day, I hope to be forgiven for my sins.
Where is Inej? Is she okay? This is what reader’s (and our band of criminal misfits) are dying to know. From the first two chapters of Crooked Kingdom, we know that Kaz is desperate to find out where Van Eck has Inej imprisoned. When the book opens, Kaz is researching the private properties held by Van Eck, theorizing that Inej is being held at one of these places.
During Chapter Two, Kaz appears to find a lead regarding Inej’s location, making the deduction that the remains of Wylan’s deceased mother are being kept at the Church of Saint Hilde, where Van Eck has been making secret donations for a decade. Could Inej be locked up in the same church?
But Kaz is keeping his hunches close to the vest, it seems. He doesn’t let Wylan know what he’s suspecting after looking in Van Eck’s lawyer’s ledgers, and Wylan knows better than to ask for clarification from the teenage slumlord.
Update: HERE is a quote pulled from the book rumored to be a line from Inej! Could she be talking to Van Eck?
Kaz’s State of Mind
That Kaz, he’s a dangerous one. We already know that Kaz suffers from PTSD, but we can also start considering that Kaz has some kind of Explosive Disorder. We saw in Six of Crows how Kaz can act with extreme violence when provoked. (Remember the eye-shucking incident?) In the excerpt of Crooked Kingdom, Kaz looses his grip (figuratively and literally) on decency when he lets go of a man who he was dangling from a lighthouse.
Wylan, truamatized from the event, remembers how Kaz was interrogating the man, attempting to get information that would help Inej be discovered. Just when Kaz was about to reel the man in, the guy started to run his mouth, bargaining for his life in exchange for access to a blackmailed prostitute.
Perhaps it had nothing to do with Inej, or perhaps Kaz was reminded of Inej’s time enslaved in a Ketterdam brothel. But the man’s horrible exploitation of a sex slave inclines Kaz to end the man’s life.
It was a dark act of vigilante justice, and it solidifies Kaz even further into the role of a black hero.
Update: A little Kaz teaser was posted by Bardugo, HERE.
We’re Going To Find Out More About Wylan and Jesper
Jesper and Wylan are fan faves, despite Jesper having few POV chapters in Six of Crows, and Wylan having none! Wonderfully, Wylan gets a POV chapter as early as Chapter Two in Crooked Kingdom. Finally, he’s part of the club!
Bardugo has also promised more backstory for both characters. As for their flirtatious relationship, she posted a short snippet of Jesper, in Crooked Kingdom, making an innuendo, HERE.
UPDATE: More flirting in a brief snippet HERE.
Nina’s Health Or Lack Thereof
We see in Crooked Kingdom, Chapter Two, that Nina survived the withdrawals from the jurda parem, enough to be out and about, playing the coquette for Kaz’s schemes. However, in an interview, Bardugo promises that Nina’s grisha powers will be “changed.” We also see that Nina’s been physically affected as well, suffering from a low appetite and losing some weight. In Chapter Two of Crooked Kingdom, she blanches at the tall order to eat a DELICIOUS SEAFOOD PLATTER (including oysters and buttered prawns with champagne. YUM). This is definitely a huge change for Nina, who was formerly healthy and robust.
Nina and Matthias also appear to be an item still, continuing their bantering, teasing relationship. It does the heart good to see those kids together, the witch and the (former) witch-hunter.
The Shu Have Come Into Play
Just like in Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom opens with the horrible death of a redshirt. This time around, it’s Retvenko, the former Ravkan squaller of Councilman Hoede. Since the death of Hoede, Retvenko has been working to pay off his indenture and return to Ravka to get a pardon from King Stormhund.
Retvenko is about to board a ship for his newest job when he’s attacked by some Shu grisha, obviously under the influence of jurda parem, because their powers are jacked.
The Shu successfully murder our narrator. Bye, Retvenko. We hardly knew ye.
The presence of the Shu in Ketterdam raises some interesting questions, indeed. Firstly, we can assume that the Shu have found out that the recipe for jurda parem lies with a hostage who is currently residing in Ketterdam. Kaz happens to have that hostage in his possession. Once the Shu find out about that, Kaz is going to be dealing with a lot of mayhem. How is he going to protect himself and his crew from such an onslaught?
A Main Character Is Most Likely Going to Perish
All signs are pointing to some death and destruction, and close to home, too. I really wish all these baby criminals would make it out alive, but I know I shouldn’t expect that. Bardugo, in interviews, has explicitly warned readers that some unfortunate events are headed our way with Crooked Kingdom. She’s teased us that we should not to get too attached to the characters. TOO LATE.
Here’s my predictions of who’s going to make it out alive… or wind up deceased.
- Kaz. He’s the (anti)hero of the book and may survive on that virtue alone. I also find it unlikely that Mr. Brekker (née Rietveld) will perish, because he already experienced a “death” (and subsequent rebirth) in Six of Crows. Remember how he nearly drowned escaping from the Ice Court? He emerged from that experience baptized… more darkly determined than ever, and resolved to make himself into a better man for Inej. Something tells me that this demjin is going to make it out alive. I believe in my bones that he’ll outmaneuver Van Eck.
- Inej. Like Kaz, Inej also saw a death/rebirth in Six of Crows — during that heart-stopping ascent up a scorching chimney. Inej’s past self was burned away, and then she was baptized, too… with cleansing rain. Inej has big plans. Her heart has found direction. She intends to “crash through Ketterdam’s pleasure houses, lifting roofs and tearing doors off their hinges.” She wants to become a scourge on the sea, chasing down slavers, and breaking chains with all the ferocity of Daenerys Targaryen. I just can’t see Inej not living to see her new purpose through.
- Nina. Nina already eluded death by surviving the jurda parem. She’s already sacrificed herself for the cause. But will she want to live in her newly diminished state? I sincerely hope so. Keep fighting, Nina!
- Matthias. He’s pledged his life to Nina. If she winds up in peril, I can see Matthias risking it all to save his girl. However, Matthias is a fighter. He survived a shipwreck on icy seas, a trek across a frozen tundra, time spent in a dangerous prison, and death-matches against various pit-monsters. Kaz insists that Matthias wouldn’t last long on streets of Ketterdam alone, but with the Dregs behind him, what could possibly take Matthias out?
- Wylan. This silk-eared puppy has a new life in a new body, but as we saw from Crooked Kingdom, Chapter Two, Wylan is troubled. Kaz’s misadventures have take a toll on Wylan’s peace of mind. Will he be able to keep up with the more experienced crew? Will he find a determination to survive?
- Jesper. The Zemeni sharpshooter is my pick for Least Likely To Survive. I’m calling it here and now. I don’t think Jesper is going to make it. We see Jesper in a bad mental state all throughout Six of Crows and the sample of Crooked Kingdom. His gambling addiction is nasty and seemingly insurmountable. He wagered away the deed to the family farm and we even see him putting up his treasured, fabrikated pistols during a card game. Not to mention, Jesper is an adrenaline junkie, drawn to deadly fights and shoot-outs. He’s apt to put himself in a bad position. Jesper is a shooting star, falling out of the sky in a desperate blaze.
Don’t Bother Buying the E-Book
Henry Holt Publishing is pulling out all the stops for the physical copy. Red stained pages, everyone. That is all.
Crooked Kingdom Will Be a Long Book
On Goodreads, the official pagecount of Crooked Kingdom is LOWER than that of Six of Crows. But this looks to be false information — hallelujah!!! In an interview at BookCon, Bardugo let slip that because there was so much to wrap up, the second half of the duology was subsequently huge, definitely longer that its predecessor. Here’s hoping for 1,000 pages.
Update: Bardugo has said the book is “crazy long.” (HERE.)
UPDATE: Bardugo may have let slip something big, indeed. She was sent ice cream after finishing “160K of edits…” OOOOOOMG!!!
- There will be many antagonists in Crooked Kingdom, including “many world powers.” (Interview with Book View Now)
- Instead of a heist book, Crooked Kingdom will highlight cons. (Interview with Book View Now)
- Kaz must grapple with a “pull towards decency” due to his feelings for Inej. (Interview with Book View Now)
- Bardugo spoke with a woman who worked directly with trafficked girls and incorporated that insight into Inej’s experience in Crooked Kingdom. (Interview with Disability In Kid Lit)
- Jesper’s gambling and adrenaline addiction will be explored. (Interview with Disability in Kid Lit)
- Crooked Kingdom will be a “revenge and redemption book.” (Interview with Book View Now)
- Bardugo “wrote anger” into Crooked Kingdom, in reply to people wanting Kaz’s disability to be fixed with magic. She promises that we will fully understand why Kaz doesn’t want that to happen. (Interview with Disability In Kid Lit)
- There are “three and a half kissing scenes” in Crooked Kingdom. The people involved “may not be who [we] expect.” (Interview here.)
More Updates To Come
Everyone, this post is going to be my HQ for everything Crooked Kingdom. As I ferret out detail by excruciating detail, I’ll keep this page updated.
What about you, readers? What do you know about Crooked Kingdom? Do you have any pieces of wild speculation?