Review—Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I loved Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and I was excited to finally read Six of Crows, which takes place in the same “universe” and makes scattered references to the Grisha from that series. My excitement may have been accentuated by the hype surrounding the book, and I am here to say the hype was well-deserved, and I was not disappointed at all.

In Six of Crows, young criminal mastermind Kaz Brekker—known as “Dirtyhands” because he will accept any job—is offered an inordinate amount of money to rescue the maker of jurda parem, a new drug lethal to Grisha, that could mean the end of Grisha as the Grishaverse knows them. He accepts, but knows he’ll need a highly-skilled crew to break into the impenetrable Ice Court (maybe not ironically the home of Grisha hunters known as drüskelle) in Fjerda. So he assembles a team of people, as described below by the book jacket copy:

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.

Six of Crows

Six of Crows

One thing I was a bit worried about as I first looked at the book was its length. I wondered how Bardugo could retain reader interest in all of the nearly 500 pages, and I thought for a moment that it might have been too ambitious an effort. However, Bardugo’s world building and layered character development quickly proved my initial assessment wrong. Every description, page, and chapter were absolutely necessary, as the stories of the characters—both present and past—weave together. I quickly found myself invested in the fate of every one of the titular Six of Crows. There was intense character focus and development of individuals, yet a significant sense of character interdependence. I was unable to root for one of them without rooting for all of them as I followed the story that many have called a “YA Ocean’s 11.”

That reference is not inaccurate; the stories of each character connect in some way, and Bardugo includes and excludes enough detail from each perspective to keep the reader hooked, but also to keep the reader guessing, just as one would do for the Oceans movies (which I love). As I read the story—told from the varied perspectives of Inej, Kaz, Nina, Matthias, and Jesper—I continuously compared the story to the Oceans capers, and I also kept thinking of the characters as adults rather than the teenagers and young adults they are. They certainly have more strength and depth of character than many some adults I know. Nina and Matthias’ story in particular is so intertwined in history and mutual distaste yet interdependence, I was eager to see their story line resolved. I also wished to see the dance between Inej and Kaz come to a satisfying conclusion. I loved the strong female characters of Nina and Inej—YA readers need more strong female characters like them to follow.

The closer I got to the last page, the more I yearned for a “happy ending” sort of resolution for all characters, but of course Six of Crows is the first in a series (I’ll admit I didn’t know that at first, and did not expect it to be such based on its length). Now, though, I can’t wait for book two (and thanks to Twitter, I know it has a title already—see below!).

I recommend this story for anyone interested in YA fantasy, mystery, or “heist” stories—or really anyone who needs a good read. This is not to mention that the finished copy of the book is absolutely GORGEOUS. Speaking of gorgeous, everyone should also check out Bardugo’s Pinterest page for the book so you can see her inspiration for characters and costumes. I loved taking a peek while waiting to read the book!

There is more to the story, though, and Bardugo and Fierce Reads just announced the name of the sequel last week. Check out the video below for the announcement!

1 thought on “Review—Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Pingback: My Year in Books—The Measure of 2015 | Wandering Bark Books

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