Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

*This review does contain spoilers because I have to discuss all the things and the feels and the WOW.*

“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.

crows

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.

Feelings: I’ve seen this book advertised as “Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones” and thought…what the…how the…how? IT SO IS, YOU GUYS. The way they got their crew together was SO Danny Ocean style. The way the reader thought they knew how the plan would go, but the characters had other plans and surprises up their sneaky sleeves reminded me so much of the movie. I love a good heist story and I adore fantasy…so this was the perfect book for me.

Pacing? Amazing. Characterization? On point. Witty dialogue? In abundance. Heart strings? Pulled on. Romance? Juuust enough.

I really enjoyed the Grisha trilogy that Leigh Bardugo wrote. I thought her writing was fantastic and her world building game was top notch. I could see her writing style getting better and better as the books were released (bc I’m an English teacher and those are the things I notice) but this book takes it to a whole ‘nother level. The writing force is strong in this one.

Issues: I don’t exactly have “issues”, but I do have questions. My number one question is why didn’t Wylan have a POV chapter? Is it because he can’t read or write? Would that affect his ability to narrate a POV chapter? Maybe he’s just supposed to be the one, surprisingly mysterious character all throughout the story…except it wasn’t until the end that I realized what a wild card he was. Well played, Bardugo. Well played. Another question I had was when Kaz says that Pekka Rollins killed his brother, Jordie. But, Jordie died from a disease…I suppose he’s just saying the way they got swindled by Rollins ultimately caused Jordie’s demise.

Characters: While all the action and the heist-ing was really entertaining and interesting, this book’s crowning glory was character development. Oh sweet Jesus, the character development. Let’s discuss, shall we? We shall. I’ve grouped them together just for space’s sake.

Kaz & Inej – Inej is the fiercest and strongest of all the fierce and strong. When she was inching up the incinerator shaft she had a huge, figurative (and literal) break out moment. She is faced with either letting go and giving in OR pushing through and rising above. She decides life and hope and possibility…LIKE A BOSS. I can’t wait to see what happens with her in the next book. Kaz is a very different kind of hero. The poor fella has been through a lot in his life, but he probably wouldn’t stand for being called “poor fella.” When his brother died, my heart broke. THEN he had to hold on to his brother’s swollen body and kick himself back to shore and I died a little. That really explained why he didn’t like touching people and how it made him sick. Ya boy is a MASTERMIND. He’s so tricksy and unpredictable. I loved that we were on this heart journey with him as he figured out his feelings toward Inej. I’m curious about that development in the sequel.

Jesper & Wylan-What is happening here? They’ve got some serious chemistry. I thought their whole dynamic was really fresh and written well. Jesper is a FABRIKATOR and I nearly lost my dang mind when that was revealed. He’s got a major identity struggle and so does Wylan, especially after he conned his own father like a straight up gangster.

Nina & Matthias – Talk about tension…these two have some serious history. I loved the way that Bardugo taught us about these two characters. We got bits of information at a time, all throughout the book and the info that we got made sense. I knew these characters so well that when she taught me something new about them, it fit right into the people I’d crafted in my head. It all made sense that they would act the way that they did. When I thought Matthias was going to betray Nina…I literally yelled, “WHAT?” But he didn’t play games with my heart and all was right with the Grishaverse again. Nina’s character had a lot of depth, which I thought was really interesting. (Well, all of the characters had depth.) Nina was surprising. She wasn’t who I thought she would be when I first started the book.

Comparisons: While this book is part of the Grisha world established in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, they’re more like companion novels. You don’t have to have read Bardugo’s earlier works to understand Six of Crows. There were only a few references to characters and events in the other books, but they were minor and didn’t change anything in the plot. They were more like “Easter eggs” in Pixar movies.

Final thoughts: I thought this book was fantastic. It has it all: action, adventure, tom foolery, sarcasm, a mastermind, secret love, forbidden love, suppressed love, all the loves. If you aren’t sure about the fantasy genre because you think the magical elements might be confusing, then dive into this book. The Grisha magic/abilities, or “small science”, is really fascinating and it all just makes sense.

Pick this up if you liked:

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (see my review here)

Goodreads rating: 4.45/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.8/5

My rating: 5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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4 thoughts on “Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. GREAT review. I didn’t even notice that Wylan didn’t get his own POV chapter-good catch. And, yep, Inez might just be one of my all-time favorite characters: a badass assassin whose also the moral center of the group. Now THAT is some great characterization right there.

    Like

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