Book Review: Leigh Bardugo – Six Of Crows (Six Of Crows #1)

One extraordinary heist, six crooked criminals. Six of Crows will leave you cringed and breathless while still crying and rooting for the characters.

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Title: Six Of Crows (Six Of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publish Date: Sept 29, 2015

Goodreads: 4.4/5
Barnes and Noble: 4.6/5

SYNOPSIS:

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.

 

REVIEW:

Characters:

The best thing about this book is the characters.

Bardugo gives us a genuinely diverse team of thieves and anti-heroes, each one you could not possibly hate.

Kaz leaned back. “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.

Kaz Brekker (real last name not revealed) is the leader of the Dregs, a gang of criminal under Par Haskell. At a young age, he is left orphaned with his brother who eventually dies. Kaz masters the doings in the Barrel and makes a name for himself as “Dirtyhands”. If you loved Nikolai in the Grisha Trilogy, then you will definitely love Kaz even more.

Inej Ghafa is also known as the Wraith, derived from her ability to easily scale walls and go abound undetected. She becomes Kaz’s personal spy and intelligence source for everything and everyone in Ketterdam. She is also skilled in close-combat battles, by which she carries two knives as her weapon.

Jesper Fahey is a farm boy from Noyvi Zem but his thirst for adventure leads him to the Dregs. He is hyperactive and cannot stand silence which is observed on their boat ride to Fjerda during the start of their mission. Jesper hides his abilities as a Fabrikator, a Grisha that can manipulate objects and chemicals, to avoid being enslaved in Ketterdam. He is also a skilled sharpshooter and likes being the safety of long-range attacks.

Nina Zenick is a Heartrender from Ravka. On a mission as part of the Second Army, she is captured by the Druskelles, an elite team of Grisha hunters which Matthias is a member of. They encounter a storm in their journey back to Fjerda and are able to escape together with Matthias. After betraying Matthias, her guilt drove her to stay in Kerch and joins the Dregs while pleading for Matthias’ release.

Matthias Helvar is a druskelle, Fjerdan witch hunters. He is saved by Nina from the storm and together finds their way as allies in Kerch. Nina betrays Matthias by exposing him as a slaver and is sent to Hellgate. Kaz and the gang broke him out of prison for their mission to the Ice Court for his knowledge of Fjerda.

Wylan Van Eck, son of Jan Van Eck, a wealthy merchant in Ketterdan. After being verbally abused and shamed by his father for his inability to read, he runs away and joins the Dregs. He is a privileged child with very little exposure to the violence in the Barrel. Kaz uses him for his knowledge of the Ice Court and talent in explosives and also uses him as leverage to Jan Van Eck in case the latter crosses him in their deal.

With very different backgrounds and unique personalities, Bardugo is able to weave an unexpected team of people, each waiting for a chance to kill the other.

Style and Pacing:

In this book, we discover a whole new and mature Leigh Bardugo.

With so much detail to violence and immorality in this book, it can even be categorized as Adult Fantasy already, just peaking at the edge of YA Fantasy.

You can sense the improvement in her prose as compared to her first series, the Grisha Trilogy. Before, there are times that her writing starts to sound whiny and annoyingly hopeless romantic. Her characters start to self-pity too much and their thoughts became needlessly repetitive. But here, she drowns us with action and suspense through very creative narratives and witty dialogues.

The book is wonderfully paced.

A strong start, a bit mellow in the middle and a BANG! towards the end.

It was amazing how she put each event into place.

At first, I thought that having six characters and giving them each a POV in the book would be overwhelming. But since Bardugo efficiently established her characters from the beginning of the book, I never felt lost as to who was saying which and who was doing what. It was rather entertaining to see into the minds of each of them, especially when they got to the Ice Court where their real mission began.

It is just incredible how she juggled so many POVs!

With multiple POVs, sometimes it gets complicated keeping track of timelines and locations. However, Bardugo is able to combine multiple POVs effectively, each POV leading to the next, like a conversation where the next person continues where the last one left off. That way, readers do not have to worry about complex timelines.

Another way Bardugo saves herself from the complexities of multiple POVs, is by establishing really good characters, each with a unique and distinct voice. Readers will not get confused who said what and who did which.

Originality:

Bardugo brings us back to the Grishaverse she has perfectly set in her debut series, Shadow and Bone. However, instead of setting it in Ravka, we explore the lands of Kerch and Fjerda.

It’s just spectacular how Bardugo was able to create such a world with so much variety in culture in every country, city and village.

Ravka is ruled by Monarchy and Kerch is ruled by a Council of Merchants. It was not clearly stated as to what kind of government the Fjerdans follow but it is clear that Fjerda has druskelles as some sort of military force and that it is a nation of fanatics that believe in one god, Djel.

Personal Rating:

I cried four times reading Six of Crows. It was just…. It was… WAAAAAH! I CAAANT! SUPER FEELS! BOOM!

Bardugo just knows how to get her readers attached to her characters. One book in the series and there’s so much character development already. From the start of the book, she gives us this incredible cast – strong, witty, fast and skillful yet human enough to still have weaknesses.

I can’t hate anyone of them. In the beginning, I thought I’d hate Wylan for his naivety but he eventually comes forward with his own set of skills and courage, especially when they came to face his father at the trade off.

Kaz, Inej and Matthias, are awesome as I’d expected.

Matthias is funny! It’s always funny when a big hulking handsome guy turns out to be gentle and loving in nature, despite his bitter start in the book where he was in jail and angry for revenge. Bardugo has built up Matthias’ anger for Nina. I can feel his great internal battle either to hate or love Nina, that for a moment when Nina was captured, I can’t tell whether he was going to betray her or not. My heart literally pounded in that scene!

Jesper… Oh Jesper! I did NOT see that coming! The moment it was revealed that he was a Fabrikator, damn! Shit just got real and this energetic cheering squad in my heart just made cartwheels all around. But wait, there’s more. He is bisexual! He starts off bullying Wylan and I personally found it funny, especially when the latter started bickering back at him. However, it turns into a budding romance minus the flowery cheesy lines.

And so Bardugo rides the LGBT bandwagon in YA literature. Not really an issue. But it really made me feel happy and in love. I totally ship Jeslan or Wyper. LOL. Whatever.

But the character I completely fell in love with is Nina. Aside from having a simple but loveable name, she is a conniving slut with a heart. LOL. Kidding. But she knows she is beautiful and uses this to her advantage as observed in their escape from the Ice Court. Plus she knows a lot of languages which comes in handy for any cross country missions.

Nina is also a Heartrender, a completely unexplored type of Grisha from the first series. I didn’t expect the complexities of Corporalniks, much more the difference in skills needed in healing in contrast to killing. Her betrayal to Matthias literally broke my heart, but in a way I completely understood. She was still Grisha and he was a druskelle, not that she intended to put Matthias in Hellgate but just to escape and return to Ravka.

I totally ship Nina and Matthias. The tall handsome brute and the foxy Corporalnik. What a pairing! I can see it ‘till the end of the series (I hope). But her incredible sacrifice in their escape from Fjerda just left me to tears. (Curse you Nina!)

Anyway, I look forward to seeing more of these people. And of course, more of Leigh Bardugo’s work.

 

OVERALL: 5/5

Stars 5.0

Saints! Highly recommended. Love it. Hands down. Must read. I said it all above. So much love and feels for the book, its characters and the author.

If you love anti-heroes and got disappointed from the Suicide Squad movie, this will save you from that black hole of disappointment.

 

BONUS QUOTES:

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”

“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”

“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”

“We are all someone’s monster.”

—————————————–

Hope you guys found my review entertaining and informative.

If you have any books or movies you’d like me to review, or any topic suggestions, let me know through HERE.

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