Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
# of Pages: 462
Synopsis: 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 are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
I finally got around to reading this one, guys! This book is officially my first read of 2017 and I think I managed to devour it over the course of three days. The good news is that I quickly settled back into my old habits, reading whenever I could and shirking my responsibilities at work (so kidding about the last part. Work is why it took me three days to finish the book). I heard of this book thanks to BookTube, but had put off reading it because I wanted to read the Grisha Trilogy first. I read Smoke & Bone last year, so I allowed myself to attempt to dive into Six of Crows. It took me forever to get my hands on this book. Thanks to the wonderful giveaway Lauren hosted, I was finally able to read it without a time constraint. Let me tell you, I am so glad that I finally did. This book most certainly lived up to the hype (even if most of it has died down) and I’ve found that I really enjoy Leigh Bardugo’s writing style.
First and foremost, even though just about everyone says you don’t need to read the Grisha Trilogy before this one, I would highly recommend it; you have an immediate understanding of how the Grisha universe works.
That’s just my humble opinion though. Let’s get to the review.
The Thief, the Spy, and the Sharpshooter
First, I think we shall talk about the characters because I loved every. single. one. In this book, there are six main characters: Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan. I thought Leigh did an excellent job seamlessly intertwining the past with the present via flashbacks to give us a nice backstory for each character. While this book is a ton of fun, it has a surprising amount of dark moments that reminds us of the struggles that these characters have endured as well as the fact that these characters are just kids. Ok, well technically teenagers and Matthias is eighteen, but still. I sure as heck wasn’t doing what they’re doing at that age.
The Thief with a Gift
First up, we have Kaz Brekker, the leader of the Dregs and mastermind behind the heist. I love him because of how cunning and loyal he is to the people he holds closest to him (aka his friends aka the five other people he brought with him on this heist). He deals in the exchange of information that he uses to bend people to his will and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (hence his nickname). I found myself figuratively looking for him whenever the other characters were in trouble because I knew that he’d find some way to get them out of it. He’s Kaz Brekker, he’s always got another trick up his sleeve. It’s amazing how quickly he comes up with ideas and plans that always manage to keep him one step ahead of everyone else. Not to mention that if he has a score to settle with you, you best believe that he won’t sleep until it’s done.
The Band of Misfits
Next to him (or climbing somewhere that puts her in a better position than you) is Inej Ghafa, or better known as the Wraith (anyone else just think of ACOMAF?). She’s the epitome of small but mighty, Kaz’s eyes and ears around Ketterdam, and knows everything about everyone. I got some serious Celaena Sardothien vibes from her, right down to her longing for freedom and dreaming of faraway places. The other lady in the group is Nina Zenik. On the surface, she may seem like just another pretty face, but Nina proves herself to be so much more than that; she’s brave, she’s kind, and she’s clever. Sneaking glances at her from across the room is dear old Matthias Helvar. Matthias is an ameliorated Grisha hunter that begrudgingly joined the heist in exchange for his freedom. However, he finds himself putting the past in the past and actually maybe becoming part of the group a little. After him we have Mister Jesper Fahey, the sharpshooter and gambling addict. I’ve found that he’s the comic relief and has a bit of a twitchy finger when it comes to his guns. Last but certainly not least is Wylan. I honestly had no idea what to expect when it came to him, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well-rounded his character was and the hidden skills he has. His banter with Jesper was one of the greatest things ever.
Multiple POVs and Nonstop Action
Now, as for everything else, I loved most of it. The pacing was a bit slow to start, which drove me kind of insane. I just wanted to get into the action, and once I did, I couldn’t put the book down. I love, love, love heist books or anything where a huge plan needs to be executed. I think I get just as much satisfaction out of seeing everything work out as the characters in the book.
I really enjoyed how much world building and cultural diversity we saw in this book. Having only read Shadow & Bone, I can’t speak for the entire series, but we only see and learn about the Ravkan culture. In Six of Crows, we learn a little bit about Suli through Inej, and a ton about the Fjerdan culture and their beliefs about the Grisha (through both Matthias and actually going there).
Surprisingly, despite the fact that both Jesper and Nina hail from Ravka, we don’t get as much background information for it as we do the other countries. Again, if you’re not going to recommend reading the other series first, a little more information (particularly about Grisha) would be helpful.
I do have to applaud Leigh for successfully telling the story between five POVs (Wylan didn’t get one for some reason) without slowing the pacing down or losing any of the story. We saw everything happen simultaneously without it being overwhelming thanks to the short length of the chapters. Each POV highlighted the characters’ talents which allowed us to get to know them better and fall in love with them a little more.
This book is a lot of fun with a great group of characters that Leigh has given amazing backstory and depth through flashbacks and multiple POVs. She keeps the action moving once we get into the Ice Court and you really find yourself cheering for these kids to succeed.
Overall I would highly recommend this book. It has laughs, gasps, twists, turns, and a whole cast of characters that you really start to like. Plus an ending that makes you want to pick up the second book ASAP (which thankfully, now you can). If you’re not careful, any one of these characters, if not all of them, might steal your heart. 😉
Have you guys read this book? Let me know if I missed anything or what your thoughts are!