Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: FAQ

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Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows duology by bestselling author Leigh Bardugo. This novel was first published in 2016. Crooked Kingdom is a YA fantasy novel.

In this article, you will find some frequently asked questions about this book. I have tried to answer them as best and honestly as possible.

I hope you enjoy reading these, and I hope this post answers some of the questions you may have about this book!

Since I will be answering questions about the book and its story, this article will contain spoilers.

What’s Crooked Kingdom about?

Below is the official summary from the book:

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts 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 to 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.

When and where does Crooked Kingdom take place?

The story continues where Six of Crows left of. It takes place in the Grishaverse world but not with the same characters as in the Shadow and Bone books.

Chapter 1

In chapter 1 we meet Retvenko again. This chapter is from his point of view.

It shows him in a bar in Ketterdam. When a fight breaks out, he finds himself in the middle of it. Retvenko thinks he can beat them all. But then he is grabbed by a beast like man. The chapters ends with him screaming…

Chapter 40

This chapter is very short and is from Matthias point of view. It is his experience of knowing he is dying and that he is at peace with it.

How many chapters are there in Crooked Kingdom?

In total there are 45 chapters. All chapters are from the point of view of one of the crows except for the first and last chapter. The first is written from Retvenko’s view and the last chapter is written from Pekka’s point of view.

Is Crooked Kingdom part of a series?

Crooked Kingdom is the second book in this duology. The first book is Six of Crows.

Even though it is a duology, the books are part of a larger series. Before this duology there is the Shadow and Bone trilogy. And after this duology there is the King of scars duology.

All these books take place in the same world and have overlapping characters.

Is Crooked Kingdom part of the Grishaverse?

Yes it is. Even though it doesn’t take place at the exact same time or with the same characters. However, it still takes place in the same world as the Grishaverse. Just in another country.

Map of Ketterdam

Crooked Kingdom Map

At the start of the book we find a map of Ketterdam.

Here it shows all the different districts in this large city. It also shows the harbor and The Barrel.

Does this book LGBTQ content?

Like in Six of Crows, this book has a few LGBTQ characters.

Is Nikolai in Crooked Kingdom?

While Nikolai plays a part in Crooked Kingdom, it is only a small part.

Nikolai shows up at the auction for Kuwei. He is disguised as Sturmhund so he isn’t recognized. And he then pretends to be part of a delegation from Ravka sent there by the king to negotiate on his country’s behalf.

This is a plan he and Kaz have come up with to make sure Kuwei is safe. But Nikolai cannot come as himself.

Themes in Crooked Kingdom

The main themes in this book are family, betrayal, and revenge.

These themes come back in the story in different ways. It’s about the family you want to protect. But also how betrayal from someone you see as family can hurt the most.

Equally important is the theme of revenge. It is about taking revenge for the loss of someone or something. But also wanting revenge to settle a betrayal.


Crooked kingdom continues where Six of crows ended. It is a year or so after the battles in Ruin and Rising.

While it seams like the events take place over a long period of time, it actually takes place in the timespan of a few weeks.

Crooked kingdom Trigger Warnings

Below you will find a list of some of the content trigger warnings in this book. This is to make you aware of what you can expect when reading this novel. With this in mind, please take note of the next warnings:

  • Abuse
  • Attempted murder 
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Death threats
  • Drugs
  • Gore
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Murder
  • Prosecution
  • PTSD
  • Torture
  • Trauma
  • Violence

Is Crooked kingdom sad?

There are a few things that take place which are very sad. First, we get to know more about Jesper’s background. And we also learn more about Wylan’s mother. Each of these storylines has sad elements.

But the most heartbreaking event is the death of Matthias.

Who is Retvenko in Crooked Kingdom?

Retvenko makes an appearance in chapter 1. But other than chapter 1, we don’t see anything about Retvenko in Crooked kingdom.

It appears that he met his end after this chapter.

Is Crooked kingdom the last book?

In this duology, Crooked kingdom is the second and last book.

However, in the Grishaverse books, there are more to follow. After Crooked Kingdom, you can continue reading about this world in King of Scars.

Is this book worth reading?

If you enjoyed Six of Crows, then Crooked Kingdom is absolutely worth reading. Because the story is far from over at the ending of Six of Crows, you need this book to get closure.

Also, the author writes about these characters in a very clever way such that you just want to know what else happens to them and what else happens in the Grishaverse world.

Does Matthias die?

Yes, Matthias dies. As said before, his last chapter is chapter 40 when he actually takes his last breath.

Who killed Matthias Helvar?

After the auction, Matthias and Nina take a boat through the canals. They have to swap Kuwai with a real dead body all to make his death look more real. Matthias then drops off the corpse at the Ghezendaal hospital.

On his way back to the boat, Matthias encounters a young drüskelle. He recognizes Matthias and sees him as a threat. Matthias tries to reason with him and see things the way Matthias learned from Nina, but to no avail.

The young drüskelle shoots Matthias in the stomach.

Crooked Kingdom quotes

Leigh Bardugo wrote some beautiful lines in this book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Crooked Kingdom:

  • “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.”
  • “I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way.”
  • “You don’t look like a monster.”
    “I’ll tell you a secret, Hanna. The really bad monsters never look like monsters.”
  • “Everything is a negotiation with you, Brekker. You probably bartered your way out of the womb.”

Ending Explained

Pekka tried to take Kaz down and almost succeeded. But Kaz got back at Pekka in his own game. That said, to do so, he had to threaten Pekka’s young son.

Now Pekka doesn’t know who he can trust anymore and has retreated into his townhouse. But Inej finds him there. She makes sure he is scared and makes him promise never to return to Ketterdam.

Inej does all of this because she finally found out who Pekka is and what he is to Kaz. She has taken revenge for Kaz but also protected Kaz from taking revenge himself and doing something he might never get over.


As said, Crooked Kingdom is the second book in a duology. This book also takes place in the Grishaverse universe and can be read as part of a larger series. Leigh Bardugo manages to write about teenagers without making it feel like they are teenagers. Also, the worldbuilding in the entire series is amazing.

I hope I have answered some of the questions you may have had about this book!

And if you have more questions that I didn’t answer, feel free to let me know in the comments below!

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