Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher at BEA 2015
Rating: 5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
I’m not going to lie, when I started reading Six of Crows
I was a bit skeptical. It was a thousand times different than the Grisha Trilogy
and I wasn’t sure I was going to fall in love with it. But I shouldn’t have doubted Leigh Bardugo’s genius for a second because this book was spectacular. The first thing you should know about this book is that it’s long. Like 465 pages (in the ARC) long. But it needed to be that long because the story is so intricate. The publisher is pitching this book as Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven. I’m not too sure on the whole Game of Thrones part (shouldn’t they have said Grisha meets Ocean’s Eleven???), but the Ocean’s Eleven part is spot-on. This book is all about the heist. The biggest heist in the Grishaverse to ever happen.
There are six main characters. Sounds like a lot right? You’re thinking that’s too many? How will you ever connect to all of them? Those were my thoughts at the beginning, but Leigh Bardugo is so skilled that she made me feel something for every single one of these characters. All of them are dark. Like really dark. They’re all anti-heroes of sorts. They’ve had some really hard lives and they’ve done a lot of less than savory things. You can’t always like these characters, but I loved them all together. They are such a unique and mismatched team, but somehow it worked. We don’t know a lot about the characters at first, but Leigh Bardugo intersperses the present-day action with flashbacks so we can understand how they got to this point in their lives. I loved the flashbacks. They weren’t too long or too overwhelming and they were perfectly spaced throughout the novel.
Kaz was the leader of the group and was probably the most mysterious. It takes the entire book to reveal everything about Kaz and I’m sure there’s more to him that we still don’t know. I loved watching the way his brain worked, always scheming, plotting, planning. He was a bit of a genius. He was harsh and cold and I didn’t always like him, but I could see the boy beneath the gang leader façade he was wearing and that made me fall in love. Then we had Inej, Kaz’s Wraith. Inej is silent on her feet, can climb, leap and practically fly through the air. She’s the closest to Kaz even though he oftentimes keeps her at arm’s length. Inej is the quietest of the group, but I think that made her the most intriguing. I was desperate to learn more about this mysterious Suli girl who could often be found praying to Sankta Alina (!!!).
Nina is a Heartrender who used to be a member of the Second Army of Ravka before some stuff happened that I won’t reveal. We hear a lot of references to familiar characters from her including mention of Zoya, Genya and David. Nina was such a great character. She’s smart, brave, strong and courageous. I loved seeing her develop and I absolutely adored her relationship with Matthias, the Fjerdan in the group. There’s a history between them and they go from hate to reluctant like to like and maybe eventually to love? I love this trope and I was completely engrossed in their relationship. Matthias is that strong silent type. I loved watching his internal conflict between the hate he has for Grisha (which he’s been taught his whole life) and the reality of knowing a Grisha and realizing that they may in fact be human. This relationship was my favorite. Perfection.
And last, but not least there was Jesper and Wylan. I think these two were the least developed of the group, but I still enjoyed their characters. Jesper was that guy trying to find his place in the world, trying to figure out where he fits. He’s desperate to please and gain the approval of Kaz and he constantly worries about what his father would think of him if he knew what he was up to. I loved seeing his insecurities and watching him slowly find his place in the world. Jesper was the voice of reason in the book. He would be the one to point out flaws in the plan, even though half the time he would just be ignored. He’s smart though and I’m looking forward to learning more about his character in the next book. Wylan has had a pampered life as the son of one of the powerful merchants in Ketterdam. But he ran away from home for reasons unbeknownst to us. It was interesting to see his perspective of the group. He was kind of the outsider and I loved watching him slowly enter into a life of crime. All nerves at first, and then his delight when something would actually work the way he wanted it to.
I loved seeing a different part of the Grishaverse in this book. We aren’t in Ravka anymore, Toto. No, we’re in Kerch and then, even better, we’re in Fjerda where the heist takes place. Fjerda was the most elusive of the countries in the Grisha Trilogy so I loved learning more about this place of ice and mystery. The Fjerdans are a harsh race. They hate Grisha and think they are less than human, unnatural and they regularly capture them and put them to death. It was painful to see the prejudice in these people and I felt horrible for all the Grisha that had become a victim of the Fjerdan Druskelle (an elite group of soldiers). I loved being in Fjerda though. The descriptions of the Ice Court (this crazy fortress they have to break into) was amazing and even better, there is a map in the beginning of the book. Yay for maps! I went back to look at it after I finished and it matched the picture I had in my mind so kudos to Leigh Bardugo for describing it perfectly.
The plot doesn’t move super quickly, but I didn’t mind because I craved all these tiny details that Leigh was using to weave this magnificent story. She really takes the time to make sure her readers can see the heist going down, can see every last detail. It felt like I was experiencing everything with these characters. I was in the Ice Court with them, holding my breath, fighting for my life, praying to the Saints that we would make it out. This book was dangerous and thrilling. I was yelling and crying towards the end when things got super intense. I loved every second of it and can’t wait for the second one!
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Did you love it just as much as I did? Who was your favorite character/relationship?