Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
Kaz Brekker is a tough, young criminal prodigy living in Ketterdam (an alternate/fantasy version of the Netherlands). Here, there is plenty to keep him busy. Along with the "legitimate" business and trade that takes place, there is a dark and seedy underbelly to the town. Kaz basically runs the streets for his gang, the Dregs. He's involved with the local casinos and pleasure houses, he deals in information, guns and general thievery. He's not a completely bad guy, he's just had a tough life and had to learn some lessons the hard way, but he will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is the best of the worst, which is why a very powerful man offers him a huge fortune to carry out one of the biggest heists ever. Kaz is asked to penetrate the impenetrable walls of the Ice Court to break out a prisoner who holds the secret to a deadly magical weapon. If he succeeds, he'll be rich, but if he fails, he'll be dead.
In order to complete this mission, Kaz will need to recruit a group of equally badass criminals to help him out. He knows just who to call on for this occasion. So, what happens when a criminal prodigy, a convict, a sharpshooter, an explosives expert, a Heartrender and a Wraith walk into an unsuspecting city with a dangerous plan? You better believe there will be excitement and plenty of chaos. These six criminals must accomplish their mission in order to be rich . . . unless they kill or double cross each other first.
FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!! It's like a fantasy version of Mission Impossible or Oceans Eleven! Follow six unlikely villains- turned-heroes as they pull off an impossible heist. Six of Crows is set in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse and it's full of unique characters, awesome action, brilliant schemes and spectacular explosions. Of course, it's also brilliantly written. Bravo!
I had very high expectations for this book because I'm such a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy and I was not disappointed. Yes, this is set in the same alternate fantasy world as her previous series, several years later, but it is absolutely it's own independent book/series. If you're familiar with the Grishaverse, you'll be delighted by a return to that world and get you'll some hints as to what happened after the events of the Grisha trilogy. If this is your first foray into this world, you will be fine picking up this book and enjoying the story. Six of Crows is definitely more of an action/adventure with some magical fantasy elements, whereas The Grisha trilogy was a bit heavier on the high fantasy and involved lots of actual monsters. The true "monsters" in Six of Crows are the humans. Some of the people in this book did some very bad things or had horrific past experiences that made them what they are today.
One of the things that makes Six of Crows so interesting is that it switches between multiple POVs, giving readers a truly complete story. Within many chapters, Leigh Bardugo flawlessly interweaves flashbacks that tell the backstories of each character. Her character development is spectacular. You really feel like you understand and know all of them, and their actions make sense based on their pasts.
To top off her brilliant characters, this book is action packed and truly thrilling. There is drama, there are exciting plot twists, there is a bit of romance, there is plenty of blood and lots stuff blows up. Six of Crows is fun, exciting and pretty dark. In no way would I say it would be limited to a YA audience, either. Fans of fantasy in general should pick up this dazzling epic adventure. The characters may be younger adults, but they are not afraid to kill a man with their bare hands.
Six of Crows is definitely one of my favorite books of the year!
Another thing this book has going for it is it's diversity, which always equals a win.
I also HIGHLY recommend Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy! Magic, fantasy and monsters galore! Good stuff!