Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Release Date: September 29, 2015; Henry Holt and Company
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Heist
Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
I have heard a lot of positive things about this book before picking it up. I was always intimidated by it – not just the size of it (I have gotten use to picking up “smaller/quick” reads in order to reach a reading goal and haven’t picked up a book over 300 in a long time), but I also feared not liking it. After hearing how much everyone adored it and had such high regards for it, it was worried about being the odd man out.
Interestingly, I continued to feel that way for a large portion of the book (a good 100 pages). Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, in fact I was loving what I was reading. The problem I was having was feeling like I had missed something. I was having the same feeling I usually have when I start watching a movie after an hour has passed; or after starting up a series in season 2. How the story started, it almost felt like I should have read the Grisha trilogy first.
For those who are like me, the Grisha trilogy is the first series set in the Grisha Verse. The Six of Crow is it’s own series; however, being in the same universe, it has some overlap. I have heard (since starting to read the Six of Crows) that some felt lost as well; however, after asking a great number of people of a bookish Facebook Group, I was told that you do not have to read the Grisha trilogy first. This put my mind at ease, and shortly after the novel started filling in some of the back story that I had felt I missed.
Going into it, I had thought/expected there to be a large magical element to this book; however, I wouldn’t describe it as that exactly. Yes there are magical/fantastical elements to this book, but I feel the main genre is a heist book. It focused around a group of six characters with the only thing they have in common (besides most being part of the same gang) is the goal of rescuing a scientist that has create a drug that enhances the powers of any Grisha that takes it. Oh yeah, and they all need money for one reason or another. The plot was interesting and had many twists and turns in it – the finally one I didn’t fully predict, however, wasn’t fully surprised by it either.
The group, however, I fell in love with. They were all intriguing and full of depth. Kaz is mysterious and stand-off-ish at first; however, once the story lets you get to know him, he’s very broken (in a lovable way). Inej is a strong, nibble girl who has a pure heart and wants to protect the one who saved her from hell. Jesper, well Jesper I never fully got a true feeling for. He felt like the lovable side-kick that never really got the focus. But he did love to pick on Wylan, who was added to the group as a rookie expansionist (along with some other added reasons revealed later). Nina is the token Grisha of the group and is, what I would classify as, the token fun, no filter, sexified (although that’s not her main focus) female character. Don’t get me wrong I love Nina and would have loved to explore more of her past, but of the group that’s her category. Matthias is the straight and narrow one. He doesn’t believe in what they are doing or in the group as a whole in the beginning, but as you fall for him and the group, he starts to open up.
You feel for the characters’ growth and the comradely. You feel their pain when things start turning upside down, or one has to face a fear. You are on a roller coaster ride right along with them.
Overall, I loved this book. Yes, at the beginning I felt left behind or in the dark, but once I got into the heart of the book I started feeling like part of it. Really, feeling lost at the beginning is really just how the rest of them felt towards each other. There were parts of each of their history that they kept at a distance, and until you find out the other characters don’t know. Once you find out the history, that’s when you start to understand why one did what they did and you can truly see the reason behind it. I believe that if we knew everything at the beginning and wasn’t “lost” then we wouldn’t grow with the characters and the story wouldn’t have been as captivating.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loved the Grisha trilogy (obviously); anyone who loves impossible heist stories; or anyone who doesn’t love fantasy, but want to start dabbling in it. As I said, it doesn’t have a large magical/fantasy element to it and would be a great introduction to the genre.
The book ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to pick up the 2nd, and final, book of the duology and then go straight into the Grisha trilogy (I’m loving the Grisha Verse)!
No mourners. No funerals.”
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
“I’m a very valuable investment.”
“Tell me he didn’t say that.”
“Of course he did. Well, not the valuable part.”
“Idiot.” “How’s Matthias?” “Also an idiot.”