Book Review - Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I have been waiting for such a long time to get a hold of this book, and when I finally completed it, Six of Crows utterly demolished my expectations...
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a devilishly quick-witted book, with a cunning plot planned to the precise hour, each chime is filled with suspense and ever-changing plot and views from the diverse range of characters. Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker 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
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first
Kaz Brekker has just taken a stroll on the silent streets of Ketterdam when he is ambushed and kidnapped by the rich merchant – Jan Van Eck. What was once thought to be kidnap and arrest turns into Kaz’s opportunity of a lifetime! Van Eck has offered Kaz a mission, a capture and rescue mission. He wants him to break Bo Yul-Bayur (a famous scientist) out of the most fortified and well-secured prison in the world.
Bo Yul-Bayur is a scientist who had recently developed a new drug known by the name of Jurda Parem; this drug can enhance the powers of Grisha making them nearly undefeatable in a war, however, it’s also extremely addictive and can drive people mad to get more. After negotiating with Van Eck, Kaz settles on the exorbitant sum of 30 million kruge. Let the plotting begin…
Kaz Brekker pieces together a team, a team of outlaws and criminals to take on the dangers of Fjerda and its army troops situated at the Ice Court. Each member has a special skill and talent, all perfectly chosen to fit into Brekker’s master plan. Each member is the key to unlock the prize of 30 million kruge. Each one has a different desire; to sail away, take revenge, make a living, track down family, or refill their debts, each is in need of that money and will stop at nothing to get it.
The criminals set to go on this daring escapade are Inej, Wylan, Nina, Jesper, and Kaz. They are soon joined by Matthias after he is broken of prison. Each character is given an individual chapter from their perspective which reveals more about their past and backstory; showing why they need their pat of the 3 million kruge.
The group arrives at the dock and is ambushed by a group of at least twenty – a fight breaks out with guns going off and deck in absolute chaos. Inej being the last one to arrive is stabbed and fatally injured, but not before taking out a vast majority of the opposing gang, resulting in everyone reaching the boat safely. The stabber is snagged and interrogated by Kaz while Nina, a Grisha, uses her abilities to try and heal Inej and best as she can…
Wil Kaz find out who was behind the assault? Will Nina be able to heal Inej? What other unexpected surprises be waiting on their journey? And will they all make it back in one piece?
This review contains minor spoilers…
ix of Crows is the first book in the Six of Crows duology, followed by Crooked SKingdom. This book is Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction, LGBTQ+, Romance, and adventure, which I highly recommend to anyone between the ages of 13-14 and above.
I have been waiting for such a long time to get a hold of this book, and when I finally completed it, Six of Crows utterly demolished my expectations. Upon first reading the blurb, I pictured it to be about 6 people breaking into a bank to get money and having no experience reading anything from the Grishaverse, I wouldn’t have imagined there would be so much magic and history packed into the plot.
Let me start this review by talking about the Grisha verse. I admit, that when I first started reading the book, I was more than a little confused on where the plot would take me, and who the Grisha were; in short, trying to get an overview of the world. But as I read through the book, I went from confused to dazzled; I instantly fell in love with the Grishaverse, and Leigh Bardugo’s world-building skills are polished to perfection. I love the Victorian dark street vibes ketterdam gives me, and I can clearly imagine what the city looks like. Talking about the actual physical book, I loved the maps that were clearly illustrated at the start. I love maps more than anything because they provide a clear picture of where the characters will be navigating; so, you can imagine my excitement, when watching Kaz’s master plan take place.
The diversity – this is such a diverse book, which destroys any stereotypical characters. Not only does this book have a strong female character, an LGBT couple, and a woman who likes eating but can still fight as any other man can, but it also includes a range of coloured people and characters with disabilities. To say the least, there is something in for everyone. I honestly admire each individual character and their personal development throughout the course of the book, then the actual plot itself. Firstly, this is a multi-perspective book, which lets you see the views, and emotions of every character, as well as getting a glint of their backstory. I find that this not only deepens the plot, and adds some much-needed information on the Grishaverse, but It just all-around spices the story and makes it 100 times more interesting to read.
“Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”
-Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)
Kaz Brekker– criminal prodigy, himself has a disability, and emotional trauma, which can be seen clearly throughout the story, however instead of shaming him, for having a walking stick, and making his constant need to wear gloves a shameful and weird thing, Kaz, quite literally made his weaknesses into strength; his walking stick adding to him general cold-blooded demeanor when facing someone, and spreading deadly rumours about why he covers his hands. He had some widespread emotional trauma as a kid but walked out of it stronger and better, however, you can still see bits of it shine through sometimes, and I think Leigh Bardugo is a sensational writer, because you can just subtly catch small glimpses of his trauma without others knowing, and that takes a lot of skill to patch together.
“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”
-Nina Zenik (Six of Crows)
Nina – a Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums (and an inspiration). Not only does she have a passion for food, and all things waffles, but she does not fall into the slim and slender gender stereotype, and she is not humiliated for it either, because she maybe waffles loving on the outside, but she can fight as well as anyone can. I love Nina because she is proud of herself, her body and has high self-esteem. She is not afraid to admit her love for food, and at the same time, she always shines. Nina doesn’t let anyone get in her way; she is quite honestly one of my favourite characters in the whole book. She is not afraid to express her emotions, but at the same time, she doesn’t think of herself to be higher than everyone else.
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
–Inej Ghafa (Six of Crows)
Inej– A spy known as the wraith (a truly strong woman). She is a true feminist and a character with a lot of personal backstory, and character depth. She is known as the wraith and is Kaz’s number one spy. I am thoroughly in love with her, she is witty, humoured, and can fight as any man can. She may have had a shaky path, but she carved her way up to the front, where she is now. She and Nina Zenik have a friendship like no other, being the only two girls on the crew. Inej is which plainly I love with Kaz Brekker, and after trying to keep a poker face for the entirety of the book, finally gives in. She is definitely someone who should not be messed with. She has a rough backstory, but she still gets up from what is thrown at her, she always goes into a situation and comes back better, smarter, and stronger than before.
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
The whole gang’s relationship – moving on from talking about individual characters, you cannot read this book without taking a moment to appreciate the constant witty remarks and hilarious cutthroat arguments between the crew. Throughout the book, they are always exchanging quick remarks and strange banter. However, at the same time, they work meticulously, always in sync with one another, and they work meticulously. I have no idea how Leigh Bardugo managed to write this, but it has left me wanting to read more. After reading the blurb, I was so sure of this book being a dark urban fantasy, but after reading the gang exchange snipe comments, I was laughing at the top of my lungs.
“Scheming face,” Inej murmured.
Jesper nodded. “Definitely.”
But my favourite friendship between the gang’s members is definitely between Jesper and Inej, those two have been in the dregs together the longest and know each other well; it would be difficult for anybody to not love this criminal duo’s friendship throughout the course of reading Six of Crows.
“I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”
-Inej Ghafa (six of Crows)
Kanej – My all-time favourite ship from this book has to be Kanej, their romance, their half-trusting friendship, the way they go alongside each other so perfectly. Kaz and Inej are the best. Kaz originally recruited Inej from the menagerie and saved her. And from then on, Inej has been his spy and secret master. I love their dynamic, they just know each other so well, and the just-to-know seem to know one another so well. There wasn’t much romantic tension between the two throughout the book, but just mutual understanding. The way these two rely on each other, but also know when to push each other when needed. That trust is beautiful, because they both come from different backgrounds, and growing up in Ketterdam, gives them obvious trust issues; but with each other, they reluctantly let their reliabilities show. And I love that their relationship is built on nothing but having each other’s backs; that’s very rare in young adult fiction and makes their relationship one of my favourite’s – especially after the plot twist at the end.
“We are all someone’s monster.”
Talking about plot twists… there is a plot twist on every page. Because no heist would be complete without something going horribly wrong and the protagonists need to improvise their way out of their own grave. This is what makes the book interesting, and makes the reader attracted to the plot in the first place. However, Leigh Bardugo takes it to another level, always keeping you on your toes. I had to have huge restraint when trying to put this book down because it deviated from the standard format of classic heists. I had no way of predicting what Kaz Brekker would do next, because the characters themselves didn’t know what to do next – and that just adds to the slow-burn suspense of the plot and whether or not the gang were going to triumph or not. And even when their main mission was a success, the book still ended on a plot twist cliffhanger, which makes you want to read the next book in the series; crooked kingdom. I love that type of reading and has honestly made this whole book 100 times better.
In conclusion, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has suspense, romance, and plot twists, which keep you on your toes. Overall, I have loved every second of it and look forward to reading the next book in the duology; crooked Kingdom. A definite 5 out of 5 from me, I strongly recommend this book to anyone.
About the Author
Ligh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Southern California. She is a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and has written many books such as The Six of Crows duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy; which are being made in a new Netflix series coming out on April 23, 2021. She currently lives and writes in Los Angeles.