Rating: 4.2 stars
Six of Crows is the first book in a duology written by Leigh Bardugo. This book is set in the Grishaverse (which is first introduced in the Grisha trilogy) and follows the story of the con-man, and gang leader known throughout Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker, A.K.A. Dirtyhands because no job is too dirty for him. Kaz is kidnapped by city merchants and is given the impossible heist – to break into Fjerda’s Ice Court and retrieve a package. If he gets caught, the consequences are too dark to imagine but dare the heist is a success, the rewards are larger than anyone’s wildest dreams.
Although this is a YA novel, and most of the characters are aged 16-20, it’s not what you would expect from something written for teenagers. Bardugo shows us that there’s no such thing as a “typical” YA book. There’s no ‘soppy teen romance’, or ‘cringy pop culture references’, but instead dark violence and zero mercy. There’s no one, or nothing coming in the way of Kaz / Dirtyhands while he’s on a job, and there’s nothing too hard, dark, or dirty for him.
This book has a great storyline, solid plot, and even though the build-up was fairly slow in the beginning, I got hooked after the first few chapters. Bardugo has managed to create a whole new world without making it confusing, or difficult to understand, by simply creating an environment, which includes the different levels of society, and the interactions they have with each other. However, what stands out the most in this book are the characters, and the interactions they have with each other. There’s Kaz, who had a rough childhood but used his experiences, lessons, and wits to become the most feared person in Ketterdam. There’s Inej, A.K.A. the Wraith, who’s been freed by Kaz Brekker from sex slavery, and in return (because of the training in her childhood) become his personal spy and assassin. There’s Jesper, the talented sharpshooter, who’s attracted to gambling, like flies are to honey, and loves the thrill of the chase. There’s Nina the Ravkan witch, and Matthias, the Fjerdan witch hunter. And then there’s Wylan, the demolition, and bomb expert, who also happens to be their clients “run-away” son.
I especially love the fact that in this book we can see the perspectives of each character. Each chapter, there’s a different character narrating, sometimes the previous events, but in their perspectives, and sometimes secrets no one else knows about them. There are also fairly frequent flashbacks that allow us to fully comprehend the character’s pasts, so we can understand why they’re making certain decisions.
Six of Crows is an incredible book. Its witty, murderous, thought-provoking, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time, I would undoubtedly recommend this, if you’re bored, and need something to read:)