Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

I don’t know how I went so long without reading this book (I really liked the Grisha series but for whatever reason it took me ages to get around to book #3 of that, too), but I am glad that the second one is out because this book ends on a ridiculous cliff hanger. Not ridiculous in a bad way, just ridiculous in a ‘I’m-glad-I-can-read-book-2-whenever-Iwant-because-otherwise-damn’ way. I love heist stories, and Six of Crows is a great one. It has all the elements—a ragtag crew of outcasts with a tangled history, a seemingly impossible goal and a life-changing reward. Add all this to a completely new part of the world of the Grisha novels and you have yourself Six of Crows.


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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.

Inej was my favourite part of this book. Kaz was a close second, but Inej’s utter refusal to compromise her values or deny her worth warmed my little feminist heart. Inej and Kaz have both been shaped by their experiences, and the ways they learn and grow throughout the book is truly satisfying. Inej (of course) ends up delivering one of my favourite lines from the book, found below.

““Nina is everything you say. It’s too much.”
“Mmm,” Inej murmured, taking a sip from her mug. “Maybe you’re just not enough.””

Nina and Matthias are a great contrast to each other, and their relationship dynamic is one you don’t read often. Finding out their antagonistic history over the course of the book was great, as both they and the reader slowly realised that despite their immediately obvious differences, they’re actually quite similar.

Wylan and Jesper are the last of the six characters to get developed, but they’re worth the wait. Somehow Leigh Bardugo has managed over the course of a single book to sketch out multiple countries’ distinct customs and ways of life, and throw six larger-than-life characters right in the middle of the culture clash that results.

There are a lot of twists in this book, but so much expertly done foreshadowing that they never seem arbitrary. Every betrayal, plot, and sudden change of plans is grounded in solid in-world logic, making the utter unexpectedness of the twists a delight to read.

There were a few mentions of the Grisha trilogy, but Six of Crows stands just fine on its own. Seeing Nina redeem the talents of tailors by being a badass adventurer will be extra satisfying though to anyone who wanted better for Genya, and there are a few mentions to Sankta Alina and Zoya that carry more resonance when you’ve spent a few books with said characters.

As I mentioned before, the cliff this book ends on is steep. If you’re an impatient reader, buy or borrow the duology together or you’ll end up frustrated. More than one character’s ultimate fate hangs in the balance at the end of the book, and there’s more than a few tantalising threads that aren’t tied up at the end of the book, despite the satisfying ending.

Anyone who enjoyed the Grisha trilogy will love the chance to explore a different area of the world, but Six of Crows would also be a great read for anyone who enjoyed The Queen’s Thief series by Meghan Whalen Turner, Jimmy the Hand by Raymond E Feist, The Lies of Loch Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Black Ship by Diana Pharaoh Francis LINK or the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks or the Curse Worker’s Trilogy by Holly Black.

 

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