The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

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

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first

Y’know, sometimes, in book reviews, you get to be the Taste Maker, the Hipster. Other times, you do the reviewing equivalent of saying “guys, the Rolling Stones…what a band, eh?”

That’s my story with Six of Crows, NYT best-seller, Goodreads darling, released 4 years ago. The series was actually a second-chance read: I DNFed it a few years back. And then, a funny thing happened: I recently read its sequel in the Grishaverse (yes, I’m reading books in the wrong order, Kop would be so proud), King of Scars (because I wanted a book about a royal character, Hiu would disown me. Look, I can’t have all my blogmates happy with my actions). I wasn’t very much taken with the plot or the pacing, but the characters and the worldbuilding felt pretty great this time around, so I picked Six of Crows again afterwards.

Annnd…I fell in love, went through it with the enthusiasm and the lack of self-control of a starved reader, and quickly devoured the sequel too (Crooked Kingdom. In audio! I binged an audiobook! I am not an audiobook person!)

In a city inspired by mercantile Amsterdam, Kaz Brekker and his merry band of lawless individuals are approached with an offer they can’t refuse. A lot of money, in exchange for the most daring heist in history. Since Kaz doesn’t have “impossible” in his personal thesaurus (or “empathy”, most of the time), he seizes the opportunity…but things don’t go the way he predicted, leading to a more spectacular series of crazy action and high-risk schemes in book 2.

Oh, I was so here for it.

Kaz seems to be a divisive character. Yes, he might be too young, he might seem a bit 2edgy4me at times, but I didn’t mind. I loved it when his heartless façade showed tiny cracks, as much as I loved his devious schemes. Kaz is a mini mastermind, with a tragic past and hell-bent on a spectacular revenge on those who wronged him.

We get to follow all the heist crew as point-of-view characters. My favourite was definitely Inej, and I believe she’s one of my favourite characters in fiction as well. She’s resilient, loving, strong, … And, as the little gang’s spy/ acrobat/ people-stabber, she’s also incredibly dangerous. She isn’t cast simply as Kaz’s conscience, even if she often plays that role. She’s her own person, with her own goals and her own quest for vengence. The pairing worked so well, and the book has probably one of the most heartbreakingly romantic scenes I’ve ever read.

I could go on and on about the characters, but I’ll just say that each one of them had a rich backstory: they jumped out of the page, fully fleshed-out, with vibrant personalities and compelling arcs. What can I say, I’m a character hoe. Give me a good cast of characters and I’ll dive into the book until I’m completely out of breath.

But it wasn’t only the characters. This story is like a beautiful, multi-facetted gem that I kept turning, exclaiming and gushing over each part of it.

It was the heist plot, with the little schemes, the thrilling action scenes and the breakneck pace.

It was the worldbuilding, with powerful magic-wielders that are used as tools, or as weapons, or as soldiers; the geopolitical tensions, the backstabbing and plots of the criminal underworld.

It was the emotions, a whole array of them.

There isn’t a single aspect of these books I didn’t love.

I got to it later than most, but it’s never too late to fall head over heels over a story.

9 comments

  1. I bought Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom—B&N, hardcover, at the same time—a few years ago with high expectations. I LOVED the premise, but I didn’t get into the book as much as I wish I had. I think I’ll have to reread the series and redecide how I feel about it. :/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I finally read both these books earlier this year and LOVED them. I am all here for the “band of misfits pulls off a heist” trope, and this did not disappoint!

    Also, I think you need to put “character hoe” on a business card. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s