I can honestly say that before Six of Crows was released, I had never heard of Leigh Bardugo. I had never been introduced to the Grisha world and had never read the Grisha Trilogy before. Ultimately, I’m not sure that I would’ve enjoyed it as much if I had. I think that the beauty of this novel is that it touches on the Grisha world and Grisha powers, which Bardugo fully develops in her previous novels (Shadow and Bone, Seige and Storm, & Ruin and Rising)… BUT she doesn’t overwhelm the reader in this novel if they have no previous understanding.
Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: September 29th 2015
Page Count: Hardcover, 465 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
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Six of Crows was my warm welcome back into the young adult genre. Of course, I have visited the genre before and selected novels according to front cover images or descriptions, but I have never intentionally picked up a book based on other reader’s recommendations. I think until #bookstagram and the book community, which I now consider a wonderful group of friends, I felt very alone in my reading selections.
However, after this novel, I will never again doubt the power of a book recommendation from my favorite reading community.
The very first chapter might be my only bit of criticism because we are thrown into the world so suddenly that it felt abrupt at moments. We are introduced to Joost who walks us through the city of Ketterdam as a guard on patrol. Almost immediately, I got the sense of an early 1900s London in the grimy areas where gangs took up residence. Joost being a member of the guard establishes the idea that there is something to guard against, and so begins the illusion that there are some residents within Ketterdam to fear.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to our rag-tag bunch of criminals…. each of whom I love and adore. Getting to know each of these characters – Kaz, Nina, Inej, Wyland, Jesper, and Matthias – felt like getting to know friends. Each one brought such diversity and so many secrets. There were many moments in which I caught myself dredding the end of the book because I didn’t want to have to say goodbye to these little criminals.
One of the best writing tactics that Bardugo used throughout the story was rotating chapters according to each character’s perspective. I found myself loving the change of pace according to the individual’s thought process. Inej is the spy who is able to creep without making a sound, and she is one of the best, so her chapters were able to provide insight into things that none of the other characters could. Once in Kaz’s chapters, we begin to understand that the mastermind has such a dark past that it haunts him into this self-proclaimed monster. Nina, Wyland, Jesper, and Matthias each provide their own elements of surprise because the allure to these characters is that everyone is running from something or someone. Everyone has something at stake and carries their own baggage as a result. It makes them entirely loveable and relatable.
Rotating through each criminal kept the intensity within the story AND allowed for Bardugo to keep little secrets and twists and turns for the last moment. There were many elements of surprise that had me thinking back to when she laid the ground work for such story lines and was in awe. As a result, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in stories about heists, adventures, magic, or just needing a moment out of their own world. It’s sophisticated enough for pretty much any reader, as long as you have an open mind to fantasy.
I realized that I have a new favorite series. The moment that the second book was announced, I knew that I would need to have it on my pre-order list so that I could start it ASAP! This adventure is brilliant and I cannot wait to return to these criminals and their adventures.
For those of you who are interested in pre-ordering just click on the book cover to find out where it will be available. Remember: The release time is announced for September 2016!
If anyone is interested in a re-read group for Six of Crows before the launch of the sequel, please comment below! I would love to get a discussion going.