Review: Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Six Of Crows
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
My rating: {★★★★★}

YA Fantasy

Source: Purchased
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.
I buddy read Six of Crows with the amazing Amy from A Magical World of Words! For both of us it was our first foray into the Grisha universe AND our first Bardugo book ever. Have a look at her review here.

Six of Crows is a dark, gritty, tightly plotted heist adventure focusing on a ragtag group of young adults all with their own stories to tell.

“No Mourners.
No Funerals.”

Bardugo is one heck of a story teller; this book kept me on my toes the entire time, never knowing what was about to happen and what might crawl out from the next rock she overturned. The world, the characters and the plot are all unravelled slowly, and when I say unravelled I mean it - it's a pretty tangled mess in the beginning and I was floundering there for a long moment, unsure of who these people were, what this world was, what the Grisha were capable of etc. etc. etc. That being said, obviously you CAN read this without having read the Grisha trilogy AND you can enjoy it immensely. I'm going to go back and read all the Grisha books and then I'm going to indulge in this world all over again because I KNOW it's the kind of book that will benefit from a re-read.

I completely enjoyed ALL of the characters in this story - and there are quite a lot of them to keep track of. It's complex, but I love that in a story and each of the characters had such a distinctive voice that it wasn't a struggle to keep them all separate in my head. There's wonderful nuances of camaraderie and great friendships as well as plenty of ships to get behind, even though any romance is pretty understated. The characters are all complex, multi-faceted and flawed; it's so easy to get behind this group of thieves, criminals, gamblers, cheats and misfits. They are bolder and more badass than I could ever hope to be and they (particularly Kaz and Nina) say things that I would LOVE to say, and yet never would. Isn't that just the best thing about the antihero?

Initially I found it difficult to connect to Kaz (yes, the infamous Kaz Brekker I had heard sooooo much about!) but once I saw his vulnerabilities and insecurities and realised how deeply flawed and quirky he was - I was a goner. I think my moral compass has been broken.

“Greed is your god, Kaz."
He almost laughed at that. "No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”

There's some really meaningful interactions, some great banter and witty humour to keep you entertained throughout. I tossed up whether I was rounding this one up to five stars or down to four stars and in the end I just felt like four stars wasn't quite enough. This book is beautifully written with rich detail and a plot to thrill and surprise. Even after all the hype I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED.

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.


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