Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz 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 revengeA sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wagerA runaway with a privileged pastA spy known as the WraithA Heartrender using her magic to survive the slumsA thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
As a fan of Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, I was excited for this continuation of the Grisha world but also a little hesitant. This book had so much hype behind it, I let it sit on my iPad “to-read” shelf for well over a year. It wasn’t until the second book was about to be released that I finally got over myself and picked it up. And boy, am I glad I did.
Six of Crows is set an an alternate Netherlands world, the bustling hub of Ketterdam. Bardugo weaves a complex tale complete with six main characters, five perspectives, and a detailed world building filled with a blend of darkness, magic, action, humor and romance. The characters are so multi-layered, each flawed and sometimes unlikable in their actions but are able to feel so tangible to the reader. Bardugo excels on every level and this has to be the strongest first in a series I’ve ever read. The world building is so rich and ripe, I had no problem imagining each and every location. Third person narrative was extremely effective, allows the pace to move swiftly while also allowing us equal time with each complex part of the plot. Like how Kaz can see every angle on a situation, we were able to see all sides of this story.
The characters were wonderful. I usually have a hard time with so many main characters and points of view, but Bardugo really made it easy on the reader. Not one character is a copy of another and just when you think you have someone figured out she knows when to pull the rug from beneath your feet. The relationships that unfolded (romantic and otherwise) never felt forced, overpowering or distracting to the heart of the story. If anything they allowed us to understand these characters on a deeper level.
The plot is essentially a high-stakes heist novel (comparisons to Ocean’s 11 are abundant in every review I read), but also seeks to answer a larger moral conundrum towards the end that will be the heart of the next books (I assume). Told through five perspectives (Nina, Inej, Kaz, Matthias, and Jasper) no side or personal felt out of place. Each character had agency, every memory uncovered crucial plot points, about the past as well as the present. Six of Crows set the tone, and there is no backing down.
A rare five stars from me because I enjoyed every sentence, every space, and everything about Six of Crows. I know I’m not alone in this. This excelled in ways I couldn’t have even imagined! So excited to pick up Crooked Kingdom in a week or two (trying to pace myself). A must-read if you haven’t already.