Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: September 29th 2015
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 revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
If I thought Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series was the best the author could write then I was really wrong. Six of Crows knocks Bardugo’s first trilogy out of the water and I cannot think of enough words to express how much I loved this book. Six of Crows takes us back to the world of the Grisha but this time with new characters, a new country, and a completely new story.
Six of Crows has six main characters and is told from five perspectives. We are first introduced to the Dregs; Kaz Brekker, Inej, and Jesper. All three have something in their past they are running from and all three are criminals; each dangerous and deadly in their own way.
When Kaz is accosted by a member of the Merchant’s Council and offered a job, an impossible and suicidal job, he almost refuses; but the 30 million promised for completing it is too much for him to walk away from. Kaz is told of a drug that has been created that can turn Grisha’s into Gods, increasing their natural powers into the unnatural, but it does not come without horrifying side effects. The addiction to the drug rules their minds, wasting their bodies away to nothing and making them risk everything to get another taste.
To convince a crew to break into the Fjerdan Ice Court and break out the scientist responsible for creating the drug Kaz needs the very best. He recruits a sharp shooter with a sharper tongue, the best secrets thief in the Barrel, a Grisha heartrender exiled from Ravka, a demolitions expert, and a Fjerdan witch-hunter who has been locked in Hellgate for the past year.
Each of the team has something they are running from or to, something which has driven them to accept Kaz’s job even though it will likely mean their deaths. As the story unfolds and they get closer and closer to the Ice Court we are given glimpses into their pasts and we see how it has led them all to attempt breaking into possibly the most secure place in the world. Kaz has a plan to get them in and out safely but it’s a plan which relies on all of them playing their parts to perfection something that becomes harder for others as their pasts, desires and fears get in the way of the heist.
Kaz pulled himself from the gutters of the Barrel and made the Dregs into a force to be reckoned with however though he still bears the scars of his past he wears them as armour rather than weakness. He made a name for himself which is equally feared and respected. Kaz is incredibly clever, always three steps ahead of everyone else, which makes him a formidable opponent and an excellent thief.
In spite of his intelligence and larger than life personality it is hard for the others to remember Kaz is just a human with his own faults and doubts which can cause him to make mistakes like everyone else. There are times when he lets his fear overrule him in the Ice Court and the boy he once was, alone and weak in the Barrel, takes over.
Inej had a tough past before she met Kaz but after he pulled her from the Menagerie she worked hard to prove that trusting her, and taking a chance on her skill, was the right choice. She is cunning, quick and quiet on her feet, and independent. She doesn’t need validation from Kaz the way the other Dregs do but she wants to know that she means something to him, that she’s more than just another asset.
I loved Nina’s character; she doesn’t let Matthias or his threats intimidate her and she never backs down from him, giving as good as she gets. She didn’t get all the necessary training from the Ravka Second Army before heading into the field but despite her doubts in herself she comes through when she is needed; a good soldier and a better friend. The relationship between Matthias and Nina is slow to grow from death threats to them beginning to trust one another again. Both of them have been put through hell at the other’s hands, and it takes a while for them to come around to the idea that everything they have been taught about the other’s people may not be true.
The relationships in Six of Crows don’t overshadow the plot, which is a refreshing change, but they are still well developed and slow to build; Matthias and Nina have a troubled past with each other, Kaz and Inej already have a solid foundation of friendship and trust to build on, and Jesper and Wylan banter back and forth adding humour to the terrifying situations the team find themselves in. Leigh Bardugo has always written amazing characters and Six of Crows was no exception. None of the six are close to perfect but they all have their strengths. They are not friends but they soon learn to trust in one another’s skills and they work well together; one person’s weakness being another’s strength.
Ketterdam is a lot darker than Kavka. Following Kaz, Inej and Jesper through the Barrels we see the darker side of the city; the place where you have to become the worst of the worst to survive, be willing to do whatever it takes to claw your way to the top. While the Grisha series focused on Ravka and the civil war which took place there Six of Crows starts in Ketterdam, a city most of the characters call home and where they have grown as individuals, and moves to Fjerda. We learn a lot about the Fjerdan’s beliefs and their cruelty to the Grisha, the only place the Grisha are truly safe is Ravka, they are killed in Shu Han and Fjerda, and taken as slaves in Ketterdam.
If you haven’t read this book I would highly recommend it, while Six of Crows could be seen as a sequel to the Grisha series it stands on its own and is just an incredible story. After the cliffhanger this book ended on I can’t wait to jump back into the world of Ketterdam and find out what happens next to Kaz, Inej, Matthias, Nina, Jesper and Wylan.
What did you think of Six of Crows? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.