Crooked Kingdom – Six of Crows #2 – Leigh Bardugo

This book was packed full of action just like the first book but this book let us get to know the characters a little better. It tells how each of Kaz’s crew members ended up joining his gang which I’m not really going to get into here.

Hopefully, no one will try to read the second book without reading the first book because the following will spoil the ending of the first book.

At the end of the last book, Kaz and crew had just pulled off the impossible job but were double-crossed by Jan Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council who run Ketterdam. He had promised them thirty million kruge (dollars) if they handed over the scientist who was responsible for inventing jurda parem, a drug that gives a certain race of people, Grisha, who wield magic super powers but has devastating side effects for the Grisha who ingest it. One dose will addict the Grisha and it is almost impossible to kick the habit. Two doses and the Grisha will never beat the addiction and they’ll do anything to get another dose so their masters can ask them to do anything and they will do it. So far, jurda parem is not something that is widely known and there is only a small amount available since the scientist has kept his formula a secret.

Luckily, Kaz had the foresight to know that Van Eck might try to betray the deal so he hid the real scientist when he met him to get the money. Van Eck kidnapped one of Kaz’s crew members, one that Kaz has a soft spot for, and told Kaz that he had a week to hand over the scientist or he would start torturing Inej.

Van Eck is rich and powerful. He had originally told them that the entire Merchant Council wanted the scientist to keep him safe and out of the hands of anyone with nefarious inclinations but he lied. The Merchant Council had no idea about jurda parem or the deal he made with Kaz…and Jan Van Eck was just the kind of evil person who should never have the formula for jurda parem. Kaz can’t go to the Merchant Council without proof or without Van Eck killing Inej.

I love how Kaz schemes and how he does things that seem unimportant at the time but then we find out later that is was something ingenious. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked way against him this time so I was not sure if things would end up good or bad.

I think this was the conclusion to the story. The author has written a trilogy called The Grisha Trilogy that sounds interesting. I might have to read it.

Blood and Black Suits – Briar’s Daughter #1 – D. M. Nash

Before I begin the actual review, I have to point out how similar the book cover design of this book is to the series that I just finished reading A Shade of Vampire.

The author asked me if I would read his/her book and review it so I did.

I have to admit that I enjoyed it. I used to steer away from the YA paranormal romance genre because I didn’t think I could relate to teenagers or take any teenage relationship seriously but I have started to read more and more of them if the teenage characters are exceptionally mature and I don’t have to put up with high school drama. I can usually tell pretty early on in the book if it is too young for my tastes or not.

This book was about a sixteen-year old girl named Catherine whose father is a hunter of supernatural creatures so her life is a bit different than other teenager’s lives. She has to, of course, keep her dad’s job secret from people and her family has moved around a lot. Her mother died when she was fairly young and her older sister is away at college so now it is just her and her dad.

When her dad tells her that he thinks it is time they move again, she isn’t on board with it. She really likes this town and has established relationships with people with whom she doesn’t want to leave like her best friend Becca but also because she has met a vampire named Richard who she has developed feelings for. Unfortunately, she isn’t real sure if Richard returns those feelings for her.

Her father tells her that there is a huge threat to the entire town by something known as Black Suits. They look like human men wearing black suits and sunglasses who go around knocking on doors and questioning people to death. He has never actually encountered these creatures before now and even the agency he works for isn’t even sure they exist but two other hunters have told him about them and he heard that these Black Suits once wiped out an entire town in Texas so he is pretty nervous about this new threat. He lets her decide if they should stay and fight them or leave.

I think the storyline was original and the main character, Catherine, was mature enough that I was able to relate to her without thinking I had a huge generation gap. The only thing I think the book lacked was humor. I only remember kind of laughing in one spot. Other than that, the book was really enjoyable. I liked it enough that I bought the second book in the series.

I have to add one little thing that is driving me nuts. It has nothing to do with the actual book or I guess it does a little. The book was written in the first-person POV with Catherine telling the story but I kept thinking that Catherine sometimes thinks more like a guy than a girl so I decided to look up the author to see what gender he/she was. But even after looking at the Facebook page and a few other sites like Amazon and Goodreads, I could not figure it out. I can only assume this author does not want anyone to know who he/she really is. It’s a mystery!