Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Info: June 2016 by Orion Children’s Books (first published 2015)
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
When I started reading this book, I wasn’t into it at all. It took me quite a few chapters to start enjoying it. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood at the start, and perhaps I had ridiculously high expectations because of the insane amount of hype around Six of Crows. Also I loved Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone from the first chapter, which kind of added to the pressure on this book to be brilliant. Despite my reservations at the start, it is a brilliant book.
Each of the central characters are well developed with back stories that are slowly revealed over the course of the book. I got more into it as I gained more understanding of each character’s backgrounds and motivations. The characters are also neither ‘good’ nor ‘evil’ and I liked that they have different views on the world (for example attitudes towards the Grisha) depending on their backgrounds. The interactions and relationships between the characters is one of the strongest parts of the book. They drive the narrative and make it the great book it is.
The novel is told in third person with each chapter being told from the perspective of a different character (there are headings for each chapter so you know whose head you’re in!). Each character’s voice and thoughts was distinctive, and I never felt confused as to whose POV I was reading.
Although a little slow to start, it’s generally well paced, with build up to, and then execution of, the big heist. I haven’t read many heist stories so haven’t got much to compare to, but I thought it was well planned out and executed, with great tension and suspense. There are twists and turns, things go wrong and the characters have to get themselves out of tricky situations. The twists could have come across as being plucked from nothing, but as Kaz is set up as this mysterious, cunning character from the start, it doesn’t come across that way at all, but rather comes across as quite ingenious.
It was great to see different parts of this world as the Shadow and Bone trilogy focuses mostly on Ravka and the civil war there. There were a couple of references to that trilogy but you don’t need to have read the other books to enjoy this one. Although there is a lot more explanation of the Grisha’s power in Shadow and Bone.
All the elements of a great story just come together in this book. I’m finding hard to find things to say because it’s just so good. Six of Crows is dark but also at times humorous and I totally fell in love with it. If you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it, but try not to be overwhelmed by all the hype.
While the main heist plotline is completed by the end of Six of Crows, the ending steers the characters towards a new plotline ready for the sequel, Crooked Kingdom. Now that I am invested in them, I’m excited to see what adventures they get up to in the next book. Also, Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse is being adapted by Netflix and I am so excited for these books to be brought to life in a TV show!