Yes, my friends, I have finally finished the Six of Crows book by Leigh Bardugo and it is everything I love in a book and more! I love it so much and I’m so excited to be reviewing this book today.
If you’ve visited my site before, you’ll know that I blogged about my Six of Crows purchase (among others) and promised a review once I’m done with it. Let me tell you that I have never been more excited to read a book because the hype is real and in this case, the hype is also WELL-DESERVED a thousand times over.
Six of Crows is set half in Ketterdam, a tiny island bustling with traders from almost everywhere in the world, and half in the snowy Fjerda, where criminal prodigy Kaz and his gang have to infiltrate the Ice Court to rescue a hostage. Did I mention that the Ice Court is impenetrable? And that anyone caught gets instantly killed in the most brutal way possible?
Well thought-out, descriptive settings
In fantasy books, world-building is one of its most important aspects, which is why I oftentimes get disappointed in the genre. Not this time, though.
I absolutely love Ketterdam. I love her descriptions of the ocean and the salt air and the hustle and bustle of the trading port, and also the business aspects that goes with it without going overboard and plunging me into boredom. She also does well imagining the seedier parts of Ketterdam, where brothels and gangs and those more illegal dealings occur. I can really feel the grit and dirt and danger of Kaz’s world in her descriptions, as if I’m living there myself.
And Fjerda is equally descriptive. I love that every country has their own beliefs and traditions, and the Fjerdans are no exception. Their connection to the wolves, the belief in Djel, who lives in the waters, and their own sayings, add to the harsh and beautiful background of where the heist is to take place.
And the world she created, in general, is filled with different politics both local and international, about race, business, magical powers, and everything in between. Leigh Bardugo has crafted a believable world filled with imaginative myths and histories.
Pulse-racing, impossible, creative heist
I really think narrating to the reader a complex, believable world without boring them is a precise talent. And that Leigh Bardugo has this in droves. There was never a time in the book where I grew bored, and every chapter end made me want to immediately flip to the next one.
The stakes just got higher and higher. The worst possible things that could happen happened. The heist was in no way a smooth one, but the alternate solutions they come up with to continue the heist are creative and also exciting to read. And that’s what adds to the tension and anticipation in the Six of Crows book: What happens next? What do they do to overcome this? Do they even succeed at all? I seriously could not read fast enough.
Complex, identifiable characters
I get completely suckered in by characters. I know I love me some imaginative worlds, or words interwoven into beautiful prose, but if the characters are flat then I will not like the book. Conversely, even with sub-par world-building and so-so prose, if I love the characters then that book will immediately be on my favorites list.
And this is the primary reason I love Six of Crows, alongside cast diversity: All the characters are complex, with different pasts, fears, insecurities, and hopes and dreams. Yes, I did say ALL of them, or well, the primary ones at least. Did I mention that there are six primary characters, by the way?
I don’t know how Leigh Bardugo does it. Every character has their own agenda. They don’t agree on everything, and they interact with each other differently. I felt for every single character in this book and I grew so attached to them all. Inej and her fears, and finding what she wanted in life after everything’s been taken away from her; Nina with her kindness, her fierce and immovable purpose in liberating Grisha; Matthias and his struggles with everything he was taught to believe in and how the world actually is; Gambling addict Jesper and his quips and the reason behind his involvement with the Dregs.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
And Kaz. Oh man, Kaz. I love characters who are flawed and who come up with not-quite-moral solutions to their dilemmas. Once you read a bit more about Kaz’s background and how he got to where he is, criminal prodigy Dirtyhands will break your heart. I got so teary-eyed with his story. Even if I didn’t agree with many of his decisions, I understood how he got to that point in his life, and although I think he can be impossible and downright evil at times, there’s always been a reason why he’s the way he is.
And that’s what I think makes great characters. When you feel compassion for them even when almost everything they do would normally make you hate them intensely. When you understand where they’re coming from and when you end up rooting for them to succeed because seriously, they should not have to suffer like this.
And especially when the book itself acknowledges that they’re kind of a jerk. And when they can’t have the girl because the girl is smart enough to acknowledge that they will not have a good relationship together if they continue to be the way they are. That for anything to happen between them, they must first see each other without armor.
Wylan: The Runaway
Okay, but let me talk about my favorite character so far: Wylan, the sixth member of the team. Although Wylan himself doesn’t have chapters dedicated to him, I kind of identified with him in the sense that he’s the outsider looking in. He’s sheltered and hasn’t even seen a dead body up-close before, and then he’s suddenly thrust into this world of cons and criminals. If I were in the world of Six of Crows I would be him, honestly LOL. I’d be all, “Did you just slit that man’s throat. Holy crap is that a dead body. What is even happening, why has my life come to this.”
Despite his general newbness to the entire criminal underground world, Wylan is strong. He’s defiant, and he will speak his damn mind if he does say so himself. He’s frightened but he doesn’t get his fear get in his way. And that makes him one of the bravest characters in the entire Six of Crows book, because bravery isn’t the absence of fear but being afraid and facing it head-on, anyway. And when I found out his story near the end of the book, and what he allows to happen to him? Oh man, heartbreaking. And that made me love him even more.
The Six of Crows book lives up to its hype
There are no negatives of this book. I promise I tried to look. I came up with nothing. The hype surrounding Six of Crows is well-deserved and everyone should read this book, whether you’re a teen or an older reader (like me, haha!). Six of Crows is a fast-paced read with an immersive and complex world and a diverse cast of characters you will love.
So what are you still here for? Get your butt out of that chair/bed/whatever and head to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy. Or buy a copy of Six of Crows online, your choice really.
>> Buy Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo on Amazon <<
Have you read the Six of Crows book or other books by Leigh Bardugo? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comments below!
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