Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 29, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 465 pages
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.
It’s been a really long time since I last gave a book a 5 star rating, but Six of Crows completely deserves it. I went into this book not knowing anything about it, and ended up falling completely in love with everything – with the world, the characters, the magic; all of it.
The packaging of Six of Crows is absolutely stunning – it’s not the cover art that I’m in love with, though (although it’s definitely gorgeous).
It’s the fact that the outline of the book’s pages are painted black. I’m so in love with the way that it looks.
Leigh Bardugo’s writing is absolutely magical and masterful – there’s no other way for me to describe it. Her world-building was phenomenal, and the language she used to describe her characters and the world she created was so amazing to be able to read. She did a great job of showing rather than telling – she revealed the character and personalities of each of her characters by showing me through their actions, and by showing me through their behaviors and their thoughts rather than simply telling me.
Leigh Bardugo also had a way of dragging out suspense, but never did so in a way that was frustrating or repetitive. She was also particularly skilled at withholding information about situations and characters from the reader, and would slowly reveal information to us as the book went on (usually in the form of flashbacks). This was just done so well, and usually left me on the edge of my seat in suspense.
It’s the characters that really make the book. They’re all completely brilliant, three-dimensional and so well developed – I loved being able to read about each of the characters. Leigh Bardugo also took such time to write such complex background stories and histories for each of the characters, and would slowly reveal to us detils about each character’s past. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan – or a criminal prodigy, a wraith, a stubborn grisha, a gambler with a heart of gold, an escaped convict and a ‘bomb-enthusiast’ – are all seared into my memory.
*Minor spoilers ahead*
It’s not only the characters that I fell in love with, though – it was the relationships that they had with each other. From the clear sisterhood between Nina and Inej to the flirtation between Jesper and Wylan to the something more between Kaz and Inej to the history and electricity between Matthias and Nina, the relationships were so well developed and so full of emotion. Even though romance was most definitely not a focal point of this book whatsoever, when it was incorporated it was done so well.
The plot of Six of Crows left me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I found the world building to be brilliant, and loved being able to read about Ketterdam and Ravka and Fjerda. Once again, Leigh Bardugo never told me exactly what the characteristics of these regions were, or what the people that belonged in each of these lands were like – she revealed this to me through the thoughts and memories of other characters, or through the people we meet throughout the book. I learned more about Ravka from Nina and Inej than from the author ever telling me directly.
Along with this, I loved being able to read about the magic system and about Grisha. As someone who has never read the Grisha Trilogy and instead jumped straight into Six of Crows, I was a bit worried that I would end up getting lost. Fortunately, that didn’t happen at all – just like with the rest of the world building, Bardugo was masterful in making sure that I understood the magic system and the world without throwing information dumps at me.
The direct plot itself was so, so interesting for me to read about. I won’t say too much, but I loved being able to read about 6 criminals (each with a different role and a different story) setting out on an impossible heist – and I can honestly say that I really didn’t expect the way things ended up going.
Overall, Six of Crows was so much more than I expected it to be. It was funny, heartwrenching, suspenseful, meaningful, unexpected, and overall one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time. I’m counting down the days until its sequel, Crooked Kingdom, comes out – it’s now my most anticipated read for the second half of 2016, along with Empire of Storms and Blood for Blood.