• Well Red

The adventures of six bloody crows

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Edition reviewed: 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Rating: ****

Genre: Fantasy

Setting: Ketterdam and other locations (fantasy)

Difficulty: Medium Pages: 462

Series: Duology

Always spoiler free. Trigger Warning – abuse and violence

Bookstagam is (somewhat rightly) obsessed with the Gishaverse and especially with a certain Kaz Brekker! As a lover of fantasy this obviously meant that I had to read the books and another big plus for me was that Ketterdam was based on Amsterdam. I read the ‘Grishaverse Trilogy’ first but for various reasons am choosing to write my first review on the Six of Crows.

The Six of Crows (SoC) follows a makeshift crew getting ready for the heist of a lifetime.

SoC has multiple perspectives – Kaz’s team form the core of the book’s perspectives (which is all in third-person) which means there are six different viewpoints to contend with across the book. I’ve found that multiple perspectives in a book can become confusing and/or mean that you get only fractions of a character’s backstory or motivation. Joyfully, SoC does this really well. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of a different character which gives you enough time to get insight into that character, backstory and works well as character building for the rest of the crew. It’s really clever because you get to see the actions and reactions of one character’s choices across multiple perspectives. Joyful!

The characters are all interesting and well-rounded. Kaz is, obviously, a favourite. Inej too. They have different motivations, passions and well, character! The crew are diverse, in that they come from around the fictional universe, and some of the characters have disabilities and/or mental health issues. Bardugo has added significant trauma to a lot of the character’s backstory and while some of it is covered in the book, the more horrific (and it’s impact – I’m thinking primarily Inej here) is not explored in as much detail as I would have liked. That said, it is a YA novel.

The book features a series of heists which are exciting and complex. I’ve seen memes discussing Kaz’s intelligence creating complex heists without multiple moving parts at the drop of the hat, but honestly that just makes me go – wow that is one intelligent author. The problem with very clever plots is that sometimes they are a touch too clever – there were parts where I couldn’t follow the logic of the heist, which in part may have been because I couldn’t fathom the geography of where the heist was taking place. On the other hand, this is also one of the books where the author/Kaz doesn’t play their hand until the very end, so you go oh wow when everything is revealed.

The book does feature violence. Kaz, for example, can and is brutal. This doesn’t really both me as I’ve been reading inherently violent books for far too long. However, the characters are supposed to be young. I know it’s YA book, but as an adult reader there is a leap to assume these characters, so well rounded, intelligent and mature, are actually teenagers. They read as adult characters and their enemies are adults.

Despite reading the Grishaverse trilogy, the wider universe (or at least the other countries, including Kerch) was a bit of blank spot for me. This is a bit of an issue, as Bardugo assumes you’ll understand the multiple countries she frequently refers to. Yes, there is a map, but I read it on a kindle and it’s not that easy to flick back and forth. A little bit of additional history on the politics and location of the countries would have helped (at least for me) follow the plot a little more.

I enjoyed the book and immediately purchased the second, which tells you how much I liked it! The real joy of this book is the characters. I loved them all! The reason for not giving it five stars is purely subjective and personal – it just didn’t sing to me as other five-star books have.

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? Yes

Favourite quote(s):

“‘No mourners. No funerals.’”

“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.”

“‘I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.’”

“‘Oh, I see. I'm the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!’

She poked him in the chest.

‘Stop that.’

‘No. I'm beguiling you.’”

“‘Scheming face,’ Inej murmured.

Jesper nodded. ‘Definitely.’”

“‘Always hit where the mark isn't looking’

‘Who's Mark?’ asked Wylan.”

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