Review of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 4.75/5 Stars
“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.”
Do you ever start a book and immediately think, “Oh, I’m going to love this.” Well, Six of Crows is one of those books for me. Really though, are we surprised? Of course not. Leigh Bardugo is a literary master and I’ve come to the conclusion that she could rewrite an instruction manual and I’d want to reread it again and again.
Now, Six of Crows. Do you like morally ambiguous characters? Six of Crows is a gold mine of them. Its like Ocean’s Eleven meets Suicide Squad. Meet six teenagers whose lives have been wholly shaped by the broken world they live in. They may not love what they do, but they do what they have to in order to survive.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”Kaz Brekker has been offered the job of a lifetime. The payout is like nothing he’s seen before and the task at hand is ambitious, to say the least. He must travel across the sea to a foreign land, break into an impenetrable fortress, rescue a hostage, break out of said fortress and return home. To pull this job off, he’ll need a team with the talent and discretion to get the job done and keep it quiet. Enter Inej “the Wraith”, Jesper the sharpshooter, Nina the Grisha Heartrender, Matthias the Fjerdan drüskelle and Wylan the explosives expert.
“No mourners. No funerals.”
The characters and their histories really drove this story home for me. The plot and world are fantastic as always, I fell in love with the Grishaverse when I read the Grisha trilogy a few months ago, but it was the characters that were the real backbone of this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the flashback parts, especially Nina and Matthias’ story and Kaz’s history of what lead him to become Dirtyhands. Despite the flashbacks and the numerous POV, everything flowed seamlessly. Oh, and Nina is my spirit animal.
One thing that I sometimes find hard to believe in young adult novels is the overly mature personalities occasionally given to characters. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind this at all, but it has to feel real. You can’t just take a character and give them the personality of someone in their late twenties or thirties and call them seventeen with no explanation as to why they are like that. Most young adult novels focus on characters in their mid- to late-teens and occasionally their actions make you think, “Would someone that age really behave that way? What made them the character they are now?” In Six of Crows the characters do have mature characteristics, but they are each a victim of circumstance, which has shaped each of them into who they are now. We are told why they make the choices they do and it fits uniformly into who they are.
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
Six of Crows is set apart from many current young adult series out there in that it doesn’t follow your typical girl meets boy, boy saves girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl gets boy mold. There is a smattering of romance in this but its disproportionality and placement as a side story is what made it truly believable and wonderful. If you’re looking for insta-love, this is not it, but it still give you all. the. emotions. I felt like I was teetering on the edge throughout the whole book.
“You love trickery.” “I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”The plot in this story is ingenuous. I felt like Kaz always had an ace up his sleeve, whether through his own planning or through choosing the crew that would have the tools and knowledge to work out the next step. AND THAT ENDING. There was so much I did not see coming but it had me on the edge of my seat thinking, “Oh yeah! That’s the way its done!”
Overall, there is a reason why this is one of the most beloved young adult series out there. I highly recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the genre. Personally, I would recommend reading Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy before this, but it is not necessary. The Grisha trilogy takes place two years before Six of Crows starts and gives a good backstory as to who the Grisha are and some of the larger political dynamics in the Grishaverse, plus you’ll get to enjoy all of the easter eggs thrown into Six of Crows.
I started this thinking, “This is going to hurt, but I’m going to love it nonetheless.” I couldn’t have been closer to the truth.