One of the best fantasy heist books going around
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is the first book of a new series set within her Grisha universe (or Grishaverse as it has been termed elsewhere). Prior reading of her Grisha trilogy is not required as Six of Crows is a novel set in entirely different locations with all new characters; but, as with most new series set in an established universe, your reading of this book may be enhanced if you have read the other books.
The story follows Kaz Brekker, thief, con-man, gang leader, the man known throughout Ketterdam as Dirtyhands because there is no job too dirty for him. Kaz is kidnapped by impossible people and offered an impossible job - break into Fjerda's Ice Court and retrieve the package. It's an impossible job, the consequences are beyond the darkest of nightmares, but the rewards are beyond the wildest of dreams. Kaz knows he can put together the right team for the job, but the question is whether or not he can keep them from killing each other long enough to complete the job.
Six of Crows is heavily marketed towards Young Adult, but don't let that put you off. There is some melodrama to accompany teen romance, but that pales in comparison to the dark and gritty things Kaz and his team do in pursuit of their goals. From playing dead amongst a barge of plague ridden bodies, to some graphic torture involving eyeball relocation, Bardugo / Dirtyhands does not shy away from the darkness of violence when something needs to be done. It's the reason why Kaz Brekker and his team were hired, they will do the things that nobody else will do in order to get the job done, and not only do these actions make for excellent reading, but so does the fallout from these actions. Kaz Brekker may not care about consequences, urging his team on with the mantra "No mourners. No Funerals", but everyone else cares about the consequences and will make their own decisions accordingly.
Six of Crows has a solid plot, great action, impressive world building, and a well constructed heist that pays off fantastically, but it is the characters that really make this book stand out from the crowd. Bardugo has constructed a team with the goal of maximising friction between everyone. There's Inej, the Wraith, a young girl freed from sex slavery by Kaz Brekker and in return has become his personal spy / assassin. There's Nina the Ravkan witch and Matthias the Fjerdan witch hunter, two people born to hate each other, brought together through necessity and mutual attraction, but always loyal to their country first. There's Jesper the sharpshooter who is also a boastful gambler that is constantly getting the team into trouble because he can’t keep his mouth shut. And finally there's Wylan, the "demolition expert" who also happens to be Kaz's insurance policy against his employer. Bardugo give us scenes from each of these characters perspectives, some of which overlap with each other, some that give us information being hidden from other characters, and some flashbacks that give us detailed backstories for each of our characters so we can better understand the motivations behind their decisions. Bardugo does a fantastic job of differentiating the characters and making them seem like real people with real pain, hopes, dreams and nightmares. I finished reading this book over a month ago and have had no trouble recalling these characters and what was so fascinating about them.
Six of Crows is a fantastic book, one of the best fantasy heist books going around. It is funny, tragic, witty, silly, murderous, thoughtful and more all in one package. If there is a criticism, it might be that Bardugo tries to cram too much into a single story, but it's not much of a criticism given how adeptly she pulled this story off. YA readers probably had this book on their radar long ago and have probably re-read it a couple of times, so for those people who steer clear of YA for whatever reason, I would highly encourage you to put your prejudices aside and give this book a shot.
Review by Ryan Lawler
6 positive reader review(s) for Six of Crows
6 positive reader review(s) in total for the Six of Crows series
Shizirururu from INDIA
This is the best YA fantasy book of all time, it's been so long but still I can't find a way out of this. The characters were amazing and just everything in all together was full on amazing experience reading this. Especially Its been three years or so I read this book for the first time, but still can't find an characters who is as cool as kaz brekker, in any other fantasy books.
Rachel from UK
This book is easily one of the best I have read in a long time. It got me back into reading and it was the first book by Leigh Bardugo that I had read, not I have read 4 more and plan to read another 2. The character development of Kaz is amazing and he deserves to have a good life from here on out
Anon from Australia
This book was amazing. Definitely one of the most gripping novels I have read. The characters are unique and flawed, each with different struggles and detailed backstories, yet with incredible and realistic character arcs. The world building is masterful, and the plot twists are amazing, but it the characters that really drive this novel. It was given to me for my birthday, and having not previously read any of Bardugo's other works, I was thrown into the GrishaVerse with no prior knowledge, however became easily hooked into this intricate world. The sequel is just as good, if not better. Each characters individual struggle is unique and real, and the characters are so well fleshed out. Also, bit of LGBT+ representation, which I believe to be great representation, as well as characters of colour, and differing nationalities. So much praise for this novel!!!! Highly recommend this to anyone who is interested, as it is a captivating, realistic, fantastical novel with detailed characters, a intricate world and an incredible plot.
Anonymous from Anonymous
This has got to be one of my favorite books ever. Six of Crows was amazing. The review is right, it really is the characters who make the books stand out so well and so clearly. Given that this is a book about criminals, it's also pretty clean, and I appreciate that Bardugo didn't throw in a bunch of dirty stuff just for the heck of it. If you haven't read this yet, DO IT NOW. I had my misgivings, but it ended up being wonderful!! Be prepared to be obsessed (look up Six of Crows incorrect quotes if you want to die laughing)
Anna from US
I did really like this book, and hopped onto the train of this series without knowing about the Grisha trilogy, and it did take me a few times to re-read this book to truly wrap my brain around the way this world works. It was a fantastic book, and it never did get stale. I really did love the characters, they were all so unique and I each fell in love with them on a different level. This book has to be one of my favorites of this year! I can't wait for the sequel!
Fahim from Bangladesh
Great book. I avoided initially because I really wasn't interested in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy, but then I read the blurb and I was immediately hook up. I mean come on, who doesn't love Ocean's Eleven in a Fantasy world? Well what I got was something completely different and entirely unexpected. I was completely thrown off by just how character-driven the story was. After much resistance on my part I finally got around to admiring who the characters were. Because of the general lack of a supporting cast, the focus is almost entirely on the protagonists and I have to say they all unique and have well rounded character arcs. Yes the story wasn't anything earth-shattering, but I was so swept up in the stories of the characters that it hardly hindered my enjoyment of the book. Loved it overall and now the wait for the sequel is going to be hard.
9.6/10 from 7 reviews