Thursday, July 28, 2016
Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, Book One
Publication Date: 29 September 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia
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. (summary from Goodreads)
Six of Crows is exactly what I wanted from the Grisha verse - strong characters, heart-racing adventure and awesome magic.
So I'll admit upfront that my interest to read Six of Crows was really, really, really low. I disliked Shadow and Bone enough that I never intend to complete that series, so a spin off series ultimately didn't appeal to me. However book club gave me no choice - and I'm grateful, because surprisingly, I loved Six of Crows. This is what I'd hoped Shadow and Bone would be. There's no denying Bardugo has created a magical, fierce, wildly imaginative world and I'd always wanted more of that. I love the idea of the Grisha, their different powers, and combined with the 20s style gangster element, Bardugo has created a winner that is at once dark and intense, and fun and spunky. It's part heist, part comedy and part fantasy that had me wholly immersed so that I never wanted to put Six of Crows down. Which was in my favour, thankfully, as I'd left Six of Crows until the day before our book club meet to read! As I hadn't completed Bardugo's first Grisha verse series, I wondered if Six of Crows would stand alone and I'm happy to say it does. I think it's one that can still be read and enjoyed without the background of the previous series. The Grisha and their abilities are still outlined early on, and apart from brief references to the war and Saint Alina (yeah, I checked out the wiki to see what was up with that!), Six of Crows really does stand as its own story. Those details really aren't overly pertinent to following along here.
What truly hooked me throughout Six of Crows was its characters. I was invested in their stories in a way I never was with Alina and co. in the first series. Here we have six main characters, plus a handful of villains, and each were interesting, remarkable and necessary to the story. Kaz is mysterious and vicious, determined to never be vulnerable; Inej is strong and independent, ready to lead her own path; Jesper is a flirty sharpshooter and gambler, quick to get into trouble; Wylan is trying to find his own place in the world (and handle Jesper's flirting!); Nina is a Grisha in a new world, trying to make up for past choices; and Matthias is a Fjerdan, a Grisha hunter, betrayed and angry, unsure what to believe. Together these six make a ragtag and volatile group. Six of Crows is narrated through multiple point of views and I enjoyed that as it allowed us to really get to know characters, especially as Bardugo shares flashbacks and stories of their varied histories. I adored each of our main characters. They each have their own strengths and vulnerabilities, individually, but are also defined by their relationships with each other. Between just the six of them there's friendships, rivalries and romances that are wonderful and calamitous in turn. I can't wait to read Crooked Kingdom (yay, duology!) so that I can appreciate more of this world and its adventures, as well as find out how things work out for this gang of misfits - especially after a shocking cliffhanger!
Whether you're a fan of the original Grisha verse novels or not, Six of Crows is sure to appeal. With action, shenanigans and characters that entertain, Six of Crows is engaging from start to finish.