This is a review of the book Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
(THE DAVINCI-CHARLOTTESVILLE) - Six of Crows is the first book of a duology taking place in the Grishaverse, and took me about two weeks to read. I went into Six of Crows with no previous knowledge of the Grishaverse and am excited to read more. Be prepared for minor spoilers, unless otherwise stated. Skip to the end for a “too long; didn’t read” and an overall rating. With these formalities out of the way, onto the review.
Six of Crows was an excellent read, and throughout the whole book I was on the edge of my seat. The characters and their interactions were all amazing and the plot kept me coming back for more. The book is about a thief named Kaz Brekker and his crew, who are going to break out an important person from the most secure location in the world, the Ice Court. The story takes place in the city of Ketterdam where, in the slums, gangs are always at each other’s throats. Grisha are a magical subspecies of humans that are born with special powers, such as being able to manipulate life, elements, or materials. A new drug known as jurda parem has been discovered that enhances Grisha’s powers beyond comprehension. Kaz’s job is to recover the man behind the development of the drug so that his research cannot be released to the public.
My favorite aspects of this book are the character interactions. All six characters flow very well together. Each of the characters is great, they all fit their purpose, and all of them have a presence throughout the whole book. Often, Kaz will leave the rest of the team in the dark while planning something, which leads to some great interactions amongst the others while trying to figure out his plan. Then, after the plan has worked without a hitch, one or more of the team will berate Kaz for not telling them about it as he calmly waits to explain himself. There are many examples of structured interactions like this with different combinations of characters. These frequent interactions never get boring and often the author will vary the encounters each time so something different occurs. Bardugo is constantly making something go wrong, adding or removing a character, or adding a completely new element.
One of my only complaints about this book stems from the characters’ ages. There are 6 main characters and all of them are around 17 years old. I don’t think this is enough time for their backstories to develop. Kaz’s backstory implies that over 7 years starting at the age of 10, Kaz was able to not only become one of the most feared people in the city, but also single-handedly transform a gang into a dangerous force and pull off a bank heist at 14. If you want to get a face-to-face meeting with Kaz, he has to be kidnapped--if you can kidnap him. The characters are also ridiculously edgy with their standings in life. The characters include Kaz, one of the most feared people in the city; Inej, the best spy in the city who used to be a slave; Jesper, a gunslinging gambler with an addiction to losing money; Nina, a Grisha with the power to stop someone’s heart with the flick of her wrist; Matthias, a traitor soldier accused of being a slaver; and Wylan; a rich kid that ran away from home. A bit ridiculous of a cast, but I do like the characters: they all have redeeming qualities and are much more interesting and well written than I am giving them credit for.
From this point forward there will be major spoilers so I can express more of my feelings. This book is amazing. Every single chapter added something to either the world, the plot, or the characters. The action scenes all felt important and had consequences later in the book. I especially liked the dock fight scene where another gang attacks the crew as they are leaving for the Ice Court. This battle shows off everybody’s skills and personalities very well. Kaz’s plan with the false boat, Jesper and Wylan’s teamwork and respective ingenuity in combat, Matthias’s strength and reluctant acceptance because of the promise of a pardon, Inej’s skills as an assassin in combat and dedication to staying alive, and Nina’s powers during and after the battle.
Super quick tangent: I want to talk about the book’s romances. First, we have Kaz x Inej. I don’t like them together because Kaz does not care for Inej AT ALL. Even when Inej is captured, her rescue is of equal priority to getting back the money. Next, we have Matthias x Nina. Their relationship is better, but it still feels weird. I don’t like it because it feels like they were in the “only other person in the world” scenario to start their relationship. However, they do show true love for each other in the end. Finally, we have Wylan x Jesper. This is good, the relationship is nice and simple, has no weird start or one-sidedness, and is just love.
I discovered this book because a lot of people recommended it, and now I see why. The heist is excellently written, the character’s interactions are really fun to watch , and I am incredibly excited to read Crooked Kingdom (the sequel) as well as the rest of the Grishaverse series.
It’s good, read it. The story is excellent and exciting and the characters are great. If you have any interest in fantasy, read this book. This is the kind of stor where once you’ve read one chapter you will read ten more. I recommend Six of Crows for anyone who loves fiction.