Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Date published: September 29th 2015
Page Count: 462
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
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
WHERE HAS SHE BEEN ALL MY LIFE. WHY DID I NOT PICK UP ONE OF HER BOOKS BEFORE?
I haven’t been upfront about it, but it’s been a while since I really read fantasy. Maybe it was the commitment to a world, or me wanting to read more contemporary, but I kept putting fantasy books on my TBR and, well, not reading them. BUT I think Six of Crows has brought me completely back in the mood and reminded me why I enjoyed reading fantasy in the first place.
Thank you to Christina who lended me her copy of the duology so I would have no excuse. Can’t thank you enough 🙂
Complicated, just the way I like them 😉 The crew is a group of anti-heros, with Kaz Brekker, also known as “Dirtyhands”, the notorious leader of the gang, Dregs. He is offered a mission to take on, an impossible heist. Joining him are Inej Ghafa, Kaz’s silent ‘Wraith’; Jesper Fahey, a gambling gun-slinger; Nina Zenik, a Grisha Heartrender with a love of food; Matthais Helver, an unrelenting Fjerdan soldier; and Wylan Van Eck, a Kerch merchant’s son who ran away from home.
All the characters fit a trope, but Bardugo develops them even more. The best part about it was the diversity of the crew. There are POC and LGBTQ+ representation, which fit perfectly with the characters they describe. Not only that, Bardugo includes characters with disabilities. The inclusivity of the book is just impressive.
Some of the characters I immediately fell in love with and others definitely had to grow on me as the story progressed. It’s hard not to be enraptured by Jesper and Nina’s easy-going attitude and witty remarks. And Wylan’s just too innocent and pure for everything that Kaz is putting him through. Inej was definitely a quiet character to begin with, but her heroic and selfless actions made her an admirable character as the story progressed. Matthias took some time to like since he came off as a bit of a killjoy and stubborn, but once you realize his unwavering faith and loyalty to Fjerda, you learn to sympathize with him a bit more. The only character I had a problem liking was Kaz. Every time I got close to liking him, or suspecting that he had a heart, he would say something cold and heartless. I eventually got tired of trying to reason. But I think that’s essentially what Leigh Bardugo was trying to achieve.
It’s pretty impressive how she’s able to successfully maintain such an antihero like Kaz throughout the first book. Most authors would give a little and allow enough character development to transform the coldest of hearts to a sympathetic being. Bardugo refused to budge; I think it made Kaz Brekker all the more realistic as a leader.
Also as much as this unlikely crew seem to have their own agendas and concerns, Leigh treats her readers with moments of ingenius and moments when the crew just cooperates flawlessly. The chemistry between the crew is pretty amazing, and I absolutely love the dynamic love-hate relationships going on.
THE WORLD BUILDING
It was honestly just amazing. Everything is so intricate but not in a confusing way, and you felt like you had a whole sense of the world. Maybe it was because Leigh already had it all set in her first Grisha series, but the world was just so complete. Heading into the novel, I felt like the world seemed so set to stone and developed. The novel takes place in a fantasy world which is made up of multiple countries: Ravka, Kerch, Fjerda, Shu Han, the Wandering Isle, and Novyi Zem. I loved learning about the different cultures and ethnicity set in the world and how they all collide in the merchant town of Ketterdam. The culturual references and countries got me curious enough, I’ve never referred to a book map this many times in my reading career. Bardugo got me fully immersed in her world.
I don’t know whether I should be applauding Kaz for his cunningness or Leigh for creating a character that cunning. I’ve read plot twists and heists before, but I’ve never met any strategist like Kaz. He’s literally two steps ahead of the game. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Ok, almost every single time.
There will be other people trying to outsmart him, and then he just effortlessly thwarts their attempts with his own. I’d sit there, reading a chapter, and my jaw would just drop. Like HOW does one think of such plans? I was constantly amazed by the scheming that went on in the book.
Also, while the main plot-line was the heist, I loved the individual subplots that went on, especially in terms of character development or revealment. I also loved how Bardugo used plot devices to advance the relationship between the characters. Oh, did I forget to mention the ships? Couldn’t have chosen better pairs. Sparks aren’t flying off the pages yet, but I know they will. Soon. I can feel it 😉
My favourite part about the book was the dialogue. Their conversations feel authentic and flow so well. Also, how the hell does Leigh come up with unique pick-up lines and witty retorts? I don’t know how many times I’ve smiled helplessly because of how well the dialogue between the crew flowed out. I lived for their conversations.
- “Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
- Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.
Sorry, I just had to flex this. You know that moment when you predict something in the book, and it HAPPENS? I never felt so accomplished.
This book. Oh my lord. Where has it been when I was in a reading slump? Six of Crows was an amazing read and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads this year so far. I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom and try more of Leigh Bardugo. 🙂
Lol, I also went browsing the web for SoC merch. Call me obsessed, but the bookmarks and tote bags are to die for. What kinds of bookish merch do you like to buy?