Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
For Fans of: The Grisha trilogy, Ocean’s Eleven, Anti-heroes, Wonderful characters, engaging and captivating narratives, EPICNESS
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
Me right now:
It’s rare for a spin-off to be better than the original series. Usually, you find yourself missing the previous characters, and feeling like the spin-off is a fraud,or an impostor you want gone. This is not one of those times.
Six of Crows absolutely knocks the Grisha out of the park. And I liked the Grisha. Six of Crows, is well thought out; its characters are more memorable, dynamic; its storyline is meatier. I was very concerned when this book was announced. Six main characters? Six POVs? Ocean’s Eleven meets epic fantasy ??? This book had so much potential to fail.
But, of course, there was absolutely no reason to worry. Bardugo takes this crazy, complex plot, she takes this crowd of narrators, and she just makes it all work. This book was fantastic. It was epic. It had me staying up till two in the morning unable to put it down.
Remind me to never doubt Leigh Bardugo again.
Six of Crows is set in the same universe as The Grisha (obviously), this time in the fictional country of
Amster Ketterdam. Our heroes (more on them later) are a rag-tag team of thieves and mischief makers , assigned to a very dangerous, possibly-fatal mission abroad. There’s a butt-load of money involved if they manage to pull it off, and the pull of the reward, for very different reasons, is much too great for any of them to refuse despite the very real risk of death.
The group, henceforth known as The Crows, is led by Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker. Kaz is a thief with the remarkable talent for escapes. He’s ruthless, he’s smart and calculating. He’s sharp, suave, cocky and bitter, willing to do anything to get the job done. He’s an anti-hero, and I am so in love with him, it’s not even funny.
What? You know how much I love my anti-heroes.
My second favorite character is, without a doubt, Inej. She’s Kaz’s right-hand, a girl she saved from a pleasure house and basically took under his wing. Also known as The Wraith, she spends most of her time spying on people for Kaz, feeding him with people’s dirty secrets that he then uses against them. What I love about her, as well as the other female character Nina, is that they’re so true to themselves. For all her time spent among thieves, gamblers and thugs, Inej never loses sight of who she really is – of the girl she was before she was sold to a brothel. She’s loyal, strong, she’s courageous, she’s opinionated and calm, and she moves like a cat’s shadow. She’s also fierce as hell. I have such a crush.
The other characters are equally well-written. They’re all multidimensional. They change and grow through the course of the book. They have short-term and long-term wants and needs. They’re diverse – not just racially. Personality-wise, they’re all remarkably different. Bardugo absolutely nails characterization with this book.
She’s even grown in the emotion department. I didn’t think that was possible. The Grisha, as well as all the Grisha shorts, were incredibly emotional. They made you feel all the things. Somehow, with Six of Crows, she does it better. The emotions are subtler this time around, there’s no heavy, dramatic, angst that makes you clutch at your heart and go, “oh no, my poor babies”. This time, it’s subtle. She weaves strong emotions lightly, a touch here; a wayward thought; an averted gaze. And even though all she’s really doing is lightly trailing an Emotion Feather TM, you still find yourself clutching at your heart, crying for your babies.
Which is great.
There’s a healthy amount of romance in this, I’m not going to lie. The romance is tied together tightly to the plot. But fear not! It’s in small doses. Really. No sappy, annoying couples. No infuriatingly angsty lovebirds. It’s little sprinkles of romance at just the right places. The same can be said for the magic. Little sprinklings. Nothing overwhelming.
Six of Crows is everything you could hope for, and more, from a YA epic fantasy. It’s daring and large, but it honestly does not disappoint anywhere.
Also, because I feel like this needs to be said; I LIKED HOW THE GRISHA ENDED. FIGHT ME.