Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (September 29, 2015)
Page Count: 480 pages
Genre: Young Adult Action, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5
* I received an advanced copy of the novel from the author with no expectation of a review. *
I’ve been rambling about my excitement for this book since… oh, I don’t know? July maybe? I literally camped out at 5am at San Diego Comic Con for my chance to get an ARC (only 15 were given out), and even got to meet Leigh herself! And after all that hype, I’m so relieved and thrilled that it completely lived up to all of my expectations.
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.
What is Six of Crows? It’s a young adult novel. It’s a fantasy. It’s action-packed, mysterious, and intricate. It’s a prime example of a heist novel, with Kaz as the genius ringleader. It’s magical and romantic and gorgeously diverse. It’s funny, sarcastic, witty, and smart.
It’s also the first in a series, and I kind of want to cry a little bit because I have to wait until Fall 2016 to get Book Two. Look, I’m addicted to Six of Crows like a Grisha is addicted to parem. It’s that good.
The best part about this novel is the characters. Leigh balances six brilliant, fully-realized young adults perfectly. Everyone has their own personality, their own quirks, their own voice. They’re all flawed, and made all the more perfect because of it.
There’s Inej, the Wraith, silent on her feet and deadly with a knife. She’s vicious, but only for a good cause, and she’s loyal to Kaz, herself, and no one else.
And Nina, a Grisha Heartrender trying to make amends for a terrible decision. She doesn’t take any crap, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make up for past wrongs. But she’s also super sassy, and I adore her!
Matthias is an escaped prisoner who wants to return to his homeland… but he wants revenge along the way. His conflicted feelings toward Kaz and his crew– especially Nina– makes him feel more realistic.
Wylan is, at first glance, the weak link in Kaz’s crew. He’s young, naive, and his background makes him stand out from the criminals that Kaz has gathered. But he quickly shows that he has a quick, brilliant mind.
Jesper is the comedic relief, but he’s also got some pretty serious problems… a gambling addiction that he can’t shake, a mounting debt, and a secret of his own. But he’s cheerful and quickly bonds with Wylan over their shared love of blowing things up.
And finally, last but most certainly not least, there’s Kaz. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with a fictional character, but Kaz is definitely my literary crush at the moment! He’s not a good person, but he’s brilliant and dangerous… and the tailored suits and cane totally don’t help!
(All quote images created by Fierce Reads and found on their twitter!)
When I met Leigh, she asked me who my favorite character was in the Grisha ‘verse. I couldn’t pick one at the time… I love them all equally! But Kaz really stands out in Six of Crows for me. Well, so does Inej. And Nina. And Jesper. And… oh, crap. Okay, never mind. I CAN’T PICK JUST ONE!
Oh, and did I mention that it’s a romance? Well, it’s not a romance like you’d think… this being the first book, things are only slowly building up for our crew of thieves to find love. But there’s a lovely thread throughout the entire novel:
The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.
I’m not going to talk too much about the plot, because no one wants a heist novel to be spoiled. The suspense and surprises around every corner are what make it fun and exciting! But the plot is fantastic, and very well put-together. There’s a lot of history and mythology being explored, too, but it’s all extremely interesting.
Okay, I’ve rambled about this book enough. If you like young adult, or fantasy, or action, or heist novels, then you should go read this book right away. Actually, even if you don’t like any of these things, you should still go read it. It’ll make you change your mind, I promise.
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