Six of Crows Hardcover – 29 Sep 2015
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"This has all the right elements to keep readers enthralled: a cunning leader with a plan for every occasion, nigh-impossible odds, an entertainingly combative team of skilled misfits, a twisty plot, and a nerve-wracking cliffhanger." --Publishers Weekly, starred review (on Six of Crows)
"Cracking page-turner with a multi ethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review (on Six of Crows)
"Set in a world that will be familiar to fans of the author, this book can be fully enjoyed without having read any previous title. . . . This is an easy choice for teens who enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy, Diviners, or any of the Shadowhunter books." --VOYA, starred review (on Six of Crows)
"an exciting beginning to a new sequence from a fantasy author swiftly becoming a talent to watch." --The Horn Book (Six of Crows)
"Unlike anything I've ever read." --Veronica Roth (on Shadow and Bone)
"A heady blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure." --Rick Riordan (on Siege and Storm)
"Triumphant." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review (Ruin and Rising)
"Mesmerizing. . . . Bardugo's set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for." --The New York Times Book Review (on Shadow and Bone)
"This is one book series you want to get hooked on." --Seventeen.com
"These books are the greatest things since Harry Potter AND sliced bread." --hellogiggles.com
"Rich, satisfying, and gorgeous, laced with heart-pounding action and pitch-perfect romance." --Cinda Williams Chima, bestselling author (on Shadow and Bone)
"Completely engrossing." --Romantic Times (on Siege and Storm)
"Fast-paced and unpredictable. . . . A unique world complete with monsters, magic, danger, romance, corruption, and extravagance." --School Library Journal, starred review (Shadow and Bone)
"Filled with lush descriptions, intriguing magic, and plenty of twists, this memorable adventure offers action and intrigue mixed with an undercurrent of romance and danger." --Publishers Weekly (Shadow and Bone)
"Bardugo weaves a captivating spell with lushly descriptive writing, engaging characters, and an exotic, vivid world. Readers will wait impatiently for the next installment." --Booklist (Shadow and Bone)
"Readers will be rooting for this lonely, tough heroine as she navigates perils physical, magical, and emotional." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (Shadow and Bone)
"A rich fantasy landscape, an inspired magical structure, and a gratifying emotional hook keep the pages whirring." --The Horn Book (Shadow and Bone)
"Scheming and action carry readers at a breathless pace . . . and will definitely leave them panting for the series' conclusion." --Kirkus Reviews (Siege and Storm)
"Richly crafted . . . An engaging wish-fulfillment fantasy." --The Horn Book (Siege and Storm)
"[Readers will be] tapping their feet impatiently for the concluding volume." --Booklist (Siege and Storm)
"Readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough." --Booklist (Ruin and Rising)
"Bardugo is a master at building an action-packed fantasy with extraordinary world-building and complete characters." --School Library Journal (Ruin and Rising)
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times-bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over two million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns--with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including Some of the Best from Tor.com and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
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I was so unengaged when I first tried to read Six of Crows back in March. I couldn't put my finger on it - it just wasn't clicking for me, and I stopped at around 25%. But four months down the line and it was like I was reading it with completely new story.
There's something about the concept that makes this book so consuming. A world of magic and underlying disorder, six criminals and a hiest. It's hard not to get sucked in.
I adore stories with an ensamble of characters and the fact that they are a band of misfits makes it all the better. We've got:
- Kaz, a young criminal mastermind who runs the streets
- Inej, a brilliant spy who can vanish in the blink of an eye
- Nina, a confident Grisha with the power to kill with a look
- Matthias, a witch hunter who is presumed dead
- Jesper, a gambling gunslinger who loves the rush of a fight
- and Wylan, a runaway rich kid with a gift for mechanics
Together they are the Crow Club, and they take on an suicide mission for wealth beyond their wildest dreams. How awesome is that?!
The characters are awesome, but there are a lot of them. Each of them have their own backstory which I think took a lot of time out of the book from the present day plot, and away from there being any solid protagonist. I would have preferred a fully omniscient 3rd person narrator rather than abrupt changes in 3rd person perspectives, which would've made reading more like shifting from one character's mind to another, which would've made connecting the puzzle pieces of the characters and their motives a lot more fun than simply being told.
Despite Six of Crows being a spin off of The Grisha series, reading them isn't necessary to fully enjoy this book. The worldbuilding and development had all the flare of a standalone story, and it was so good to see it from the eyes of such a diverse range of characters. It really enabled the world to expand to beyond a couple of locations, which makes it unique to other fantasy novels which tend to focus only on one.
Six of Crows is a YA story that is fresh and new from anything I've read before - it's no wonder it's taken the blogosphere by storm. Take note, other writers - this is how you grab your readers.
Diversity Note: POC and queer protagonists
Warnings: blood, torture, violence
People have been recommending Six of Crows to me for a long time now. It's a book I've always meant to get to - who doesn't love a heist story? - but this year I finally sat back, opened it up and was sucked into the seedy underbelly of Leigh Bardugo's fantasy world.
As someone who hasn't read Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy this world was entirely new to me, and I loved it. 2018 feels like the year in which I'm rediscovering my first love, fantasy, after several years of being intimidated by it for a reason I still can't quite put my finger on, and Ketterdam has to be one of my favourite fantastical places now purely because Bardugo brings it to life so vividly.
While Ravka, which we hear of but don't go to in this book, seems to be a Russian-inspired country, there's no doubt in my mind that Ketterdam is a fantastical version of Amsterdam, with its waterways, merchant-run economy, and the entire districts whose cogs are kept whirring by a constant stream of gambling and prostitution. The Barrel, not at all dissimilar from Amsterdam's Red Light District, is ruled by gangs, and one gangster in particular has Ketterdam in his pocket.
Kaz Brekker is one of the most compelling protagonists I have come across in a fantasy novel in a long time. From the blurb I thought he would be very different to the kind of boy he is, but I love how Bardugo has imagined him; she straddles the line between 'criminal prodigy' and 'only a 17 year old' beautifully, creating a character who's had to grow up far too fast and has the dirt of the worst and best of humanity wedged under his fingernails. He's like that first sip of a bitter coffee in human form. It was also so refreshing to read about a protagonist who needs the assistance of a cane to walk and I'd like more protagonists like this please!
What makes Six of Crows really sing is its characters. The setting is brilliant and the plot is wonderful, but the characters are what make this book - dare I say it - perfect. Alongside Kaz we have his right-hand woman Inej Ghafa, who was stolen from her home and her family as a child and sold into human trafficking before she began working for the Dregs. Known as the Wraith, she's an expert at going undetected and is yet another example of Bardugo's wonderfully complex characters. Inej's faith is important to her and her morality is something she struggles with when she has essentially become Kaz's personal assassin, but how else is she supposed to survive in a land that sees her as a commodity that can be sold for profit?
I loved Bardugo's exploration of religion through Inej and through Matthias, another protagonist from Fjerda, the country next to Ravka, who has essentially been raised in a cult of witch hunters whose own religion teaches that Grisha aren't human. Like all six of the protagonists in Six of Crows, Matthias has found himself washed up in Ketterdam by accident, beginning the novel in prison thanks to a Grisha, Nina, who serves as another protagonist. I'll be saying this for all of them, but I loved Nina, too. A child soldier from Ravka, she was forced to work with Matthias, a boy trained to kill her, after the ship they were on sank and they found their way to Ketterdam. Nina is bubbly and vivacious and loves food - who doesn't? - and I particularly loved her friendship with Inej. There's no competition between them, just the utmost affection and respect and when I say I want more female friendships this is what I mean.
Then we have Jesper Fahey, another member of the Dregs who loves gambling and guns a little too much, but another character who is complex and, though flawed, incredibly loyal to Kaz. I adored his sense of humour and his shameless bisexuality. Finally there's Wylan, a boy with a knack for explosives and keeping secrets. He's the kind of character that grows on you as the story progresses, and once you get to know him you can't help but love him.
Six of Crows works because each of its protagonists are fleshed out and such fun to follow separately, but they also have brilliant chemistry as a group, too, which is for the best considering they have to rely on each other to pull off a heist that's believed to be impossible. Kaz makes a deal with one of Ketterdam's merchants to break into the Fjerdan Ice Court - a place that has never been breached - and smuggle out a prisoner associated with a drug that, when used on Grisha, turns them into unstoppable weapons who crave the drug more and more and eventually die as nothing more than husks of their previous selves.
Kaz doesn't take on this mission out of the goodness of his heart to liberate the Grisha who are being mistreated or to bring order back to the world of the merchants, he takes on the mission because each of them will be rewarded with an inordinate amount of money that will pay off their individual debts and set them up comfortably for life. What ensues is a twisty, turny heist story that keeps you guessing at every turn and makes you genuinely worry for the characters' safety. I love that Bardugo doesn't make this story safe. Kaz has a plan and his plan has a plan, but when things go wrong - and they really do - these kids are forced to improvise if they're going to live to claim their reward.
It's been a few months now since I finished this book and I'm still thinking about it. The plotting and character development is exquisite. I fell for this book and these characters and this world so hard, and it's safe to say that this duology is now one of my all-time favourite series and this book has definitely earned a spot on my favourite books of all-time list. It was such fun to read, and it reignited not only my love for fantasy but also my love for YA done well. I escaped into a different world where all the threats and the tears and the love and the smiles felt real, and I will be gushing about it for a long time. And I'm not sorry.
I really enjoyed this book. I know, I'm horribly behind the masses with this story.
I bought it as a Christmas present to myself (as you do), and I intended to only read it after I finished working on a project. It's been sitting there, staring at me, and needless to say the project has been neglected and Six of Crows has been read.
This story follows a group of six late-teens in a fantasy world. They each have their own skills that make them invaluable to the heist, but to say their personalities clash would be an understatement.
Their leader is Kaz, a ruthless young man who is the brains of the operation.
When a dangerous (but ridiculously well-paid) job comes along, Kaz gathers his elite team from the gutters of the city, and even from behind bars.
This was a lot of fun, as you follow the plans, hidden plans, double-crossing and triple-crossing of the players in this book.
It felt like Ocean's Eleven in a fantasy setting, as Kaz and co head north to a land of ice, where magic is forbidden.
The only downside for me, was the very obvious change of tone, when one of the main character's background was filled in.
I have to say, I was rolling my eyes at the info-dumps; but reading it quickly all the same, because I wanted to find out more about said characters.
I would definitely recommend this book. Now I just have to finish my project before I allow myself to get Crooked Kingdom... Or maybe I could accidentally get it this weekend...