Book Review | Six of Crows

Posted July 10, 2023 by TheNonbinaryLibrarian in book reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review | Six of CrowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Macmillan on September 29, 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Action & Adventure / General, Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / General
Pages: 465
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

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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.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo returns to the breathtaking world of the Grishaverse in this unforgettable tale about the opportunity--and the adventure--of a lifetime.

I was never planning on reading Six of Crows. I never planned on reading any of Leigh Bardugo’s books after reading Shadow and Bone. I was not impressed when I read Shadow and Bone within the first year it was out. The world-building was excellent, and I loved that Russia was the setting, but the characters were bland, and the plot was predictable. I finished the book, donated it to the library, and thought, well, I’ll never read a Bardugo book in the future. 

Yet, here I am, over ten years later, eating crow. I was thinking of reading Six of Crows because friends whose book opinions I trust said this is much better than her first book. I was still hesitant, but I did agree to watch the Shadow and Bone TV show. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes with the Crows but still thought Alina and Mal could have been more exciting. Once I finished season two, I didn’t want to say goodbye to the Crows, so I read the first book. I decided to check it out from the library; I didn’t want to chance that I wouldn’t like this one either. 

I was surprised by how thoroughly I enjoyed the book and how well-written the story and characters were. I love reading more of these characters that I fell in love with and was pleased by how well the show directly quoted the book. Having morally grey characters is my favorite, and Kaz is rich and entertaining. I was also surprised by the flow of the flashbacks for each character because I was not chomping at the bit to know what was happening in the present story. While I knew the backstories for most of the characters from the show, it was still a treat to read the stories as reading them gives a different view than watching.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the friendship between Inej and Nina. While I ship Nina/Matthias & Kaz/Inej (although Kaz does not deserve Inej), the friendship between the two women was beautiful and heartwarming. Having female friendships portrayed positively is always great to see, as well as seeing women supporting women. There was never any jealousy or fighting between Nina and Inej. They each understood that the other had different and unique qualities that contributed to the Crows/Dregs. I was also happy that there was never any fat shaming towards Nina nor body comparison between her and Inej. It was refreshing to read this after having Shadow and Bone, where Alina correlates worth to beauty and continually compares herself to other women (Zoya). 

The plot was fun to read, and I was surprised by how it all worked out. I was expecting more of an Ocean’s 11 or Leverage storylinewhere magically everything works out, and the audience doesn’t see the whole con till the end. With how young each character is, I was glad that it wasn’t a perfect heist, and they had to make up a new plan on the go. The only drawback was that it made the idea that the Ice Court is impossible to break into less believable. 

As most people have pointed out, or maybe just my friends, I agree that the characters are too young. All the characters are between 16 and 18, so having this impressive crew was far-fetched. The show aging up the characters was a good decision as I can’t get behind the idea that this heist crew is teenagers.

I can concretely say that I’m glad I decided to read Six of Crows. I’m definitely planning on checking out Crooked Kingdom and may even give Bardugo’s other books a read.

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