Six of Crows (Six of Crows #01) by Leigh Bardugo Review

Six-of-CrowsKetterdam: 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. (via Goodreads)

 

So, I made a few mistakes where this book is concerned. I started reading it while working on a project and the climax was clashing with the shoot dates of the project I was working on (I work as an assistant director in ad films) and I didn’t want to finish the book when work was so hectic so I set it aside for about 3 days and usually that is a horrible idea because it always breaks the flow of the story and I find it impossible to get back into it. (and that was a very long sentence)

Thankfully, that did not happen here. I fell back into this chaotic world without a hiccup. I fell in love with this book and its ragtag group of characters. I enjoyed the Grisha trilogy but I felt that series lacked something because while it had amazing secondary characters (Zoya, Genya and how could I possibly forget the Darkling) we never got to explore those characters (with the exception of the Darkling, I still wish he had lived!!) we never got to read their points of view. This was one the best things about Six of Crows, the multiple POVs.

Six of Crows is set in the same world as the Grisha, but with completely different characters. Some characters from the series are mentioned here but that’s about it. This story is about completely different characters.

Six of Crows is essentially a heist book. I’ve seen a number of films on the subject but haven’t read any books but nonetheless, I found this very thrilling. What also added to it was the group of characters. There was such diversity here and it made for a very exciting read.

One thing that struck me about this book was just how bloody and graphic it was. But I felt that it was in keeping with the characters where they came from. They were orphans from the rough neighbourhood with no one to watch out for them. They had to be hard as nails to survive, there was no place for kindness here. So in that sense, the violence made sense, and yet it was never overpowering and it was never gratuitous.

Six of Crows was excellent both in terms of world-building/setting and character development. Bardugo’s writing transported the reader inside the ruthless world of the Barrel. While reading, you can’t help but inhabit this world with all its ugliness. The pace is fast and as the stakes get higher, the tone of the narrative shifts to reflect that.

Where the characters are concerned, Bardugo really outdid herself here. It is easy to get invested with this group because for all their faults (and there are many) ultimately they are all on a journey, one that can change their lives. There are some who are out for revenge, others who want to atone for their own wrongdoing and yet others who just want another shot at life, a fresh start. Something most of us can identify with. And Bardugo never whitewashes the characters or their actions.

Kaz Brekker, easily the most ruthless of the group and the most unpredictable. He’s the one who always has his eyes on the prize and lets nothing and no one get in his way. He knows what he wants and how to get it. And at first, it is easy to see him only as dangerous, cold and unfeeling but as you get to know him better, that impression is far from the truth. He is anything but cold, but in order to survive and succeed, that is a facade that he’s created. He is calculating and is always two steps ahead of his adversaries. I liked his drive and his commitment and I loved that Bardugo didn’t make him softer to make him more appealing. He is his own prison and his need for vengeance is so great that it is impossible for him to see anything else.

I loved Inej, she was easily my favourite character (with Nina coming in as a close second) If Kaz was the brains of the operation, then Inej Ghafa was the heart. She kept everything and everyone together. And she was as deadly as the rest of them. She was the Wraith and you never saw her coming if she didn’t want you to. She was formidable but with her knives, she was unbeatable. I loved that she was far from a damsel in distress and there were times when she was instrumental to the group’s survival. I also loved that while she did care for Kaz, she never settled for less, she wanted Kaz to give her all of himself and not the scraps, he was comfortable doling out.

Then there’s Nina Zenik. She was the heartrender and only Grisha of the group. She is also the only one who has any connection to the characters from the other series. Now, can I just say how refreshing and heartening it was to have Nina not be thin, Bardugo states this explicitly. She’s not a particularly powerful Grisha, but that’s also because she didn’t complete her training, but that didn’t make her any less dangerous. She was selfless and willing to take risks to ensure the survival of those she cared about. In short, I loved Nina.

Another thing I loved in Six of Crows, was the friendship between Inej and Nina. They were so supportive of and looked out for each other. They were probably the only ones in the group who were truly honest with each other. Their friendship was one of the best parts of the book. Can’t wait for the havoc these two will wreak in the next instalment.

It took me some time to take to Matthias, mostly because he was so hell-bent on killing Nina. It was obvious that they had a bond, it was just not clear if they were going to survive long enough to find out more about it. He was not very trustworthy and he was so prejudiced that there were times when I wanted to hit him on the head. He was so blinded by his prejudice that he never stopped to question if what he was doing was right or not, he never bothered to think about his actions. But thankfully, he grows beyond his hatred starts thinking for himself.

Jesper Fahey and Wylan Van Eck seemed to blend in with the background, especially Wylan. There were enough hints that Jesper might be gay and that Wylan might reciprocate his feelings but that’s not something that was explored here. I suspect that we’ll see more of it in Crooked Kingdom. As characters they felt a little lacklustre and that was amplified when you put them next to Kaz or Inej. That’s not to say that they weren’t important, they were, its just that as characters, they fell a little short in comparison to the others.

Six of Crows was a amazing read and one that I wish I had read at a better time. It was fast-paced with plenty of action. Its characters are beautifully layered and flawed and yet for all their flaws, you can’t help but root for them. I loved every aspect of this book and I have a feeling I will definitely be rereading this in the not-so-distant future. It is thrilling, engrossing and with leave you hankering for more.

I mentioned at the beginning of the post, that I made some mistakes while reading the book, the worse of them is that I read it now when the release of Crooked Kingdom is so far away! I’ll have to wait till September to read it and right now, it feels so long! Six of Crows doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, but it does leave the reader hanging and that’s the worse feeling ever, especially when you realise that you could have avoided that feeling by just waiting a little longer. *long suffering sigh*

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