Category Archives: authors
Some books have solid plots but the characters are weak, other books nail world-building but the pace is slow…
But in Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo doesn’t compromise character for plot or plot for character; the world building is detailed and rich and it doesn’t slow down the pace or bog down the story.
Crooked Kingdom is as close to a perfect fantasy novel as it gets…
Picking up shortly after Six of Crows ended, the story finds all the characters from Six Of Crows, led by Kaz (who strangely gets the least POV chapters here) who is hell bent on getting revenge on Pekka Rollins as well as halting the plans of Jan Van Eck. But this is only a single plot thread in the half a dozen (and more) that pull Crooked Kingdom together. Each character has their own agenda, their own story and history. Somehow, Bardugo manages to make Crooked Kingdom both plot and character driven. At times the back stories can slow the pace when they crop up in the middle of an action sequence, but that can be forgiven because the characters benefit from it.
For a book that is over 500 pages long…
Crooked Kingdom never stalls or lingers too long in one place. The characters and plot are constantly moving forward. Tensions are constantly high, all the way to the stirring climax. Along the way there are twists and sucker-punches (the biggest sucker punch of all coming in the final few chapters) and Bardugo doesn’t hold back on action and high-stakes set pieces.
Bardugo’s writing is as compelling as in Six of Crows and the original Grisha trilogy, drawing out the places of this world in rich, believable detail.
You can smell the smoke and food, feel the wind and grit. It’s easy to be there with the characters, stalking the streets, climbing the rooftops…
Crooked Kingdom pulls you in from the first chapter, holds you for the next 500 pages and doesn’t let you go even when the cliffhanger (sort of) ending arrives. There is resolution here. All the characters arcs come mostly full circle, but Bardugo leaves plenty of threads dangling for a possible return…
Count me in.
Highly, highly recommended. But read Six of Crows first.
Have you finished reading Crooked Kingdom yet? What did you think? Did it live up to Six of Crows or miss the mark?
Unpredictable books are the best kind of books. Being able to see where the plot is going, what’s going to happen, when its going to happen, takes a lot of enjoyment out of reading.
I’ve always liked movies with twists, and books are no different. Some authors can turn everything you thought and expected on its head. It’s a skill I’ve always wanted and try to work into my own writing.
Below are a few books with some awesome twists that I (mostly) didn’t see coming.
Warning SPOILERS follow. If you haven’t read some of these books, skip or look away… And apologies in advance if I ruin anything for anyone.
The Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter is a Horcrux.
After six books, the reason why Harry and Voldemort are enemies is revealed. Rowling pulls of some of the best foreshadowing and intricate plotting I’ve come across, planting clues right from the start in Philosopher’s Stone.
Amy’s diaries are a lie.
The biggest twist in Gone Girl is how twisted the characters is, and how twisted Gillian Flynn’s imagination is. But the reveal that Amy diaries are a lie is a punch in the gut.
Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
Mara and Samantha are the same character.
Michael Grant’s plots are always unpredictable, but Messenger of Fear is a lean, gripping read with an awesome final twist. If you haven’t read this one yet, check it out.
We Were Liars
The main character’s friends are dead.
Ever since the Sixth Sense, this twist hasn’t been original, but it works well in this book. I’m not a big fan of this book, but it was well-written and plotted.
Before I Go to Sleep
The main character’s husband isn’t her husband.
I guessed this one less than halfway through, but the novel itself is still a twisted, unpredictable read. Using a main character who can’t make new memories is an awesome idea.
It wasn’t a game.
I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve seen the movie, and I didn’t see the ending coming. I may check out this series soon.
The main character is not a cop, but an inmate from the asylum.
Maybe a lot of people saw this ending coming, maybe I should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t.
There are a lot more books with awesome twists, and this post could go on for a long time. But a few other authors who always deliver unpredictable plots include Harlan Coben (Tell No One, Six Years, The Stranger), Linwood Barclay (Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on The Window) and Gregg Hurwitz (The Crime Writer–check this out if you’re a writer, Trust No One, You’re Next).
Does anyone else like plot twists? Which is your favourite? Can you recommend any books with plot twists?
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
1 – Lee Child (Jack Reacher books) –
There are twenty Jack Reacher books so far, the twentieth (Make Me) due out this September. I’ve read all of them but Make Me, and I hope this series continues for a long time. Action-packed and additive, each book is gripping from the start and Reacher is a great main character.
2 – Stephen King –
Stephen King stands alongside Lee Child as my favourite writer. His characters feel real, despite the crazy plots they’re part of. His writing is unique: you know you’re reading a King book. Under the Dome and 11/22/63 are my favorites of the nine books of his I’ve read so far.
3 – Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant) –
The Skulduggery Pleasant books (most of them) are fast, funny and addictive. I’ve read eight so far, with the ninth and final book to read. His new series Demon Road comes out soon, and sounds like another quality read.
4 – Michael Crichton –
Author of one of my favourite books (based on my favourite movie of all time) Jurassic Park, Crichton is a master at blending science and fiction. There are only a couple of his books I haven’t read, and nearly all of them are awesome.
5 – Rick Riordan –
I grew up with the Percy Jackson books, have read them multiple times. The Kane Chronicles is another solid series, and the first couple of books I’ve read of the Heroes of Olympus are pretty good too. His plots are a little too similar for all of his books, but they make up for it in action and great characters. His new series based on Norse mythology is out this year.
6 – Joseph Delaney (Spook’s Apprentice) –
Joseph Delaney is author of the Wardstone Chronicles (Last Apprentice in the US), another series i grew up reading. It’s darker than Potter, scarier and as addictive. There are thirteen books in the main series, a couple of them spin-offs with ties to the main storyline. A great series if you’re looking for something to replace Potter.
7 – Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (The Edge Chronicles) –
The Edge Chronicles is an eleven book series (with a new spin-off already out), high-fantasy with some unique world-building. Stewart writes the books and Riddell illustrates the. One of the best YA/MG fantasy series around. Check it out.
8 – Jonathan Stroud –
Author of the Bartimeaus trilogy, and more recently the Lockwood and Co. series. Stroud blends great writing, humour and gripping plot lines.
9 – John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice) –
I’ve read 8 of the books from the Ranger’s Apprentice series. For the most part, they are action-packed, with some solid characters and plot lines. The earlier ones can be read as stand-alone. The later ones start to blend together more.
10 – J. K. Rowling –
There are only seven books in the Potter series, but I’ve read them a dozen times each, grew up with them and the movies. I didn’t enjoy her crime book, but will read the second in the series at some point. Hopefully she’ll go back to writing fantasy one day.
Harlan Coben, Dan Brown and James Patterson are three more authors I’ve read plenty of books from.