Monday, 17 October 2016

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Published September 2015 by Indigo Books
Source: Hachette AU
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:Break into the notorious Ice Court(a military stronghold that has never been breached)Retrieve a hostage(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)Survive long enough to collect his reward(and spend it)Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done - and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first. 

Black crow, black crow, tell me what you really know
Will we flourish in this hurricane, or will we fall and die?
Black Crow - Jamiroquai

*Scheming reviewing face*

I remember hearing about Six of Crows when it was released late last year, but I let my ambivalence towards the Grisha Trilogy get in the way and didn't bother to read it. Now I am so glad I waited because I was able to read Six of Crows and follow it immediately with Crooked Kingdom. I did wonder if I should finish the Grisha Trilogy (I've read Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm but have never read Ruin and Rising) but you don't have to have read that series to read this duology. Though, I do think there are some spoilers for the trilogy in this duology, mostly in book two.

Six of Crows is set in the same world as the Grisha Trilogy, with this story beginning in Ketterdam. Kaz Brekker is a seventeen year old resident of the Barrel, the bad part of town. He runs a gang, the Dregs, and enjoys his reputation as Dirtyhands because people keep their distance from him. He replies on Inej, a Suli acrobat, and Jesper, a sharpshooter from Zemeni. Along the way they recruit Nina, a Grisha, Wylan, a boy good at chemistry and blowing things up, and Matthias, a Fjerden soldier.

Bardugo has done such an excellent job juggling six main characters. Each of them have detailed backstories and different motivations, and none of them were forgettable. I will say I felt more for Kaz and Inej which is understandable since their perspectives are given more time, and for most of the book I lacked a connection with Jesper, but eventually I got to know him better.
Also in regards to the characters, they are so wonderfully diverse in multiple ways: race, religion, and sexuality.

On top of the characters there's a complicated plot involving plans upon plans, tricks upon tricks. The heist idea is handled in such a clever and fun way, and it was suspenseful. More than once I got goosebumps or gasped while reading, it felt as if I was right there with them and I didn't want anything to happen to this unique cast of characters.

The ending wraps up the major plot perfectly, while leaving some mystery for the next and final book. Waiting to read this book ended up being an excellent decision because the wait for book two would have been unbearable.

Six of Crows is an excellent addition to the Grishaverse, and I enjoyed it so much more than the Grisha Trilogy (a series I would like to reread and finish). It's clever, thrilling, and full of heart. You'll fall in love with Kaz and his crew, I guarantee it.

Ableist language: dumb, crazy, lame, demented

Thank you to Hachette for my review copy.

Cover design: Rich Deas

Leigh's books always have stunning covers and Six of Crows is no exception.

I started with a base of Nubar Rockin' the Garden, and then sponged on China Glaze Sea Spray and Barry M White. I used acrylic paint for the crow and wing and the same polish for the buildings.


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