Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
-Spoiler free review-
Wow I finally read this book!
I was not particularly impressed with the Grisha trilogy; it ended in such an unsatisfying way. I was anxious about starting another Leigh Bardugo book, especially one set in the same world, because I thought it could go the same way.
But I was pleasantly surprised! Six of Crows was much better than the Grisha trilogy; you can really tell that Bardugo’s writing and storytelling skills have improved since.
I absolutely loved the new characters, which is great because this book is incredibly character-driven, even though some had traits that I despise. Bardugo presented lying (either through omission or blatantly) as an act that the other characters did not like. The lying may have paid off in the long run, but the other characters openly showed their annoyance. I have read other books where characters hide things from the others and it is never addressed, so it was wonderfully refreshing to read characters who were actually prepared to complain.
The characters’ flaws made so much sense because their back-stories were adeptly integrated into the storyline. I wasn’t at all bored or annoyed when the narrative took a turn into the past— in fact I became more interested. The flaws were only presented as reasonable within that character’s chapters; other characters stated their disagreement either verbally or in their internal monologue.
But whilst, generally, the characters were interesting to read, I found a couple of them less engaging. One of which seemed to have no purpose in the story. It was bizarre— the characters themselves were actually saying, “why are you even here”, like they were breaking the fourth wall and saying what the readers are thinking. I’m assuming that they will get some interesting development in Crooked Kingdom (the sequel), especially because some conflict has been set up.
Since the book is driven by the characters, the plotline needn’t be anything particularly exciting— and yet it was. I always love a structured story; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and A Gathering of Shadows have good structure, because they have a clear set of somewhat predictable events that the characters have to go through. Six of Crows had this too, with the ‘heist’ plotline, and it was very engaging. The structure means the reader anticipates certain things, which allows the author to switch things up and completely blow the reader’s mind. The pacing of this book was impeccable, with amazingly built up tension and suspense.
I did prefer Bardugo’s writing style in this to in the Grisha trilogy, but there was something I could not get over— the incessant description of eyes. I get that “the eyes are the window to the soul” or whatever, but when is it ever necessary to describe someone’s eye colour twice on two consecutive pages?
I will, definitely, be reading Crooked Kingdom. I hope Bardugo gives the eye description a rest, because I am so excited to see what becomes of these characters!