“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”
Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows # 1
Publication: September 29th 2015 by Henry Holt and Company
Source: Author signing at ALA Annual
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Holy crap. Okay… I loved this book – there is no other way to put it. This book was perfection in the purest form. The plot was gloriously original, the execution flawlessly breathtaking, the characters were all lovable in their own little unique ways, and I was completely hooked on the first page. That rarely happens to me, being hooked on page one – it usually takes me a couple of chapters to get into a book. But no, Six of Crows now holds a certain power over me that is basically indescribable. I need the next one so badly it hurts, but I love every second of this new bought of torture. This book is everything I wanted it to be and more. Six of Crows is a wonderfully executed fantasy novel that will change the way you view young adult fantasy. It has characters you will fall in love with, characters you will root for and hate – the whole package. It will make you laugh so hard your sides hurt, cry until snot is dripping down your face, and make you rage so badly your roommate will have to tell you to put the book away to calm down while you’re screaming at her to let you have it (Nope? Just me, then). Six of Crows is a brilliant illustration of using a heist to showcase complex characters who are trying to find redemption, revenge, peace, and their true selves.
Six of Crows is extremely story driven, but I love it. There is always something going on, something being planned, or just a random something that is completely essential to the plot yet you have no idea why till the end. This book is about a heist, yes it is also about so much more than that – but mostly a heist. It sort of reminded me of a mixture of Mission Impossible meets Ocean’s Eleven while on crack and in a complete different universe seemingly modeled after a medieval Russia. The characters have a very clear goal at all points in the novel and they all work towards it with astounding dedication – it made for a very interesting, and very exciting, read. This book is non-stop action, high adrenaline, constant badassery. You think you know what is going on and that all is lost, when suddenly, BAM, plot twist out of fucking nowhere. Also, this world is so beautifully crafted. There are different nationalities, different languages, cultures . This really is its own entire world, not just some remote continent or hidden universe inside a wardrobe. It was magnificent.
“The boy they called Dirtyhands didn’t need a reason any more than he needed permission—to break a leg, sever an alliance, or change a man’s fortunes with the turn of a card.”
I’m not going to lie, the best part of this book is the characters. The plot is awesome, sure, but the characters are the icing on the cake. Kaz, the leader of the Dregs and of the crew on the mission, has become the love of my life over the course of about five hundred pages. I love him, simple as that. He is so badass in the strangest ways, so breathtakingly brilliant, so cold and so cunning. It was an amazing treat to witness his actions in the story. I can honestly tell you this, I will be dreaming about him for months to come (both nightmares and happy dreams, he has that sort of power). I think one of my favorite parts of the book is the second chapter, Kaz’s first show of his real power. It was terrifying, brilliant, and exhilarating all at the same time. He is an anti-hero that I will have some serious reminiscing and daydreams about – like, he is mine. I have claimed him, no touchy.
“Men mock the gods until they need them, Kaz.”
Inej, the spy known as the Wraith, was amazing as well. Her ability to sneak up on people and basically climb any surface and break into anything was unique. I know what you’re thinking, how can someone that “perfect” be unique? Because she isn’t perfect, not in the slightest. Sure, she can perform superhuman like acts of acrobatics – but only because of her years of training and her insane desire to live, pay off her debt, and see her family once again. She had a really interesting back story. She was kidnapped from her family’s caravan and sold into slavery at the Menagerie, a brothel. She has a harsh past and a dim looking future at the start of the book, but the person she transforms into throughout the duration of the heist and all the other shenanigans was absolutely stunning. She was the calm within the storm.
There is also Nina, a Grisha Heartrender. I loved her to pieces, oh my goodness. I think Nina is my spirit animal, except for Kaz – his scary side is pretty relatable. But Nina, I loved Nina. She loves food, sarcasm, humor, and all the good things in life. She doesn’t take any one’s shit, she stands up for herself and makes them look like a fool. She isn’t afraid to say what she if feeling or thinking, and she sure as hell is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in or to take insane risks to protect her friends. Also, her friendship with Inej is serious squad goals. I can’t talk about Nina without talking about Matthias.
“Oh, I see. I’m the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!”
She poked him in the chest.
“No. I’m beguiling you.”
Matthias is one of the those characters, you know? The one you aren’t sure if you can trust yet you inexplicably do so anyway. He is a brute, a witch hunter, and a killer (except for wolves, that made my heart hurt. Leigh you bastard). His relationship with Nina was like a lance shot through my heart every time it was brought up. I can tell you this without spoiling anything: Nina was captured by witch hunters, Matthias gave her water, she saved his life, and then she betrayed him for reasons I cannot tell you. He hates her, he loves her. She loves him so devoutly that it will make your heart bleed. It was beautiful.
“Take good care of my babies,” Jesper said as he handed them over to Dirix. “If I see a single scratch or nick on those, I’ll spell forgive me on your chest in bullet holes.”
Then we have Jesper, the sharpshooter. I didn’t like him as much as Inej and Kaz, but he was still a wonderful addition to everything going on. I think my favorite part about him was his brash sense of humor and his relatable attachment to his guns. We all have those silly things that we can’t live without, that we think make us better at what we do – Inej as her knives, Kaz has his cane and gloves, and Jesper has his special pearl handled pistols. It makes them more human, in a way, to see them have that kind of dependency and vulnerability.
I guess I also have to talk about Wylan, but I don’t feel as if I know him or care for him as much as the other characters. He didn’t stand out to me, not while among Nina, Inej, and Kaz. The only time I really saw him, really clicked with him, was while at the Ice Court and he starts singing the Fjerdan drinking song to confuse some guards. Hilarious scene by the way (this book is chalked full of them).
This book is pure brilliance. Buy it, love it, and share it with every single person you can. I will treasure this book forever. I don’t know how to wrap up a review of something this amazing other than to tell you that you need this book in your life.
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