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.
Until I picked up Six of Crows, I hadn’t realised how many books centred around a Chosen One or starcrossed lovers on a mission to save their country/the world I had been reading of late, so this one was a welcome change of pace. While I had adored Bardugo’s debut, Shadow & Bone, I felt that its successors weren’t that strong, and so I was a little apprehensive about this one. I’m glad I picked it up – Six of Crows is so much darker than the Grisha trilogy, more complex, and a hell of a lot more adult. Bardugo’s growth as a writer between Ruin & Rising and Six of Crows is near unbelievable.
This book, is, in a word, epic. Grandiose. Ambitious. Unlike a lot of YA fantasy, this is not a romance novel masquerading as the latest trend. While there is a romance, it never takes over the story and when it does appear it feels natural and organic (that said, I spent the majority of the novel shipping Kaz and Inej). This is a story about six criminals attempting a high-stakes heist: breaking into the Ice Court, which has never been broken into successfully before, and smuggle out a prisoner in exchange for thirty million kruge split between them. Each character has their own agendas and loyalties, and you’re never entirely certain whether they’re going to achieve the impossible. These characters aren’t friends on a mission to save the world: they all agreed to participate in the heist for their own reasons. I don’t normally include quotes in my reviews, but I’m throwing some out here because I love this book and I want to share it with everyone:
Four million kruge, freedom, a chance to return home. She’d said she wanted these things. But in her heart, she couldn’t bear the thought of returning to her parents. Could she tell her mother and father the truth? Would they understand all she’d done to survive, not just at the Menagerie, but every day since? Could she lay her head in her mother’s lap and be forgiven? What would they see when they looked at her?
Although the book is told in third person, each chapter focuses on a different character, so you learn their backstory, their motivations, and their relationship to other members of the crew. I found myself coming to care for every single main character in this book, which is no mean feat when you’ve got a cast of characters as large as this one. Furthermore, the characters were all three-dimensional – layered, complex characters that were immensely likeable, despite doing fairly despicable things from time to time.
“Duping innocent people isn’t something to be proud of.”
“It is if you do it well.”
There’s also a lot of diversity amongst the crew in terms of race/sexuality/gender and it doesn’t feel forced, or like Bardugo is simply checking off a list – so if you’re looking for diverse reads, I would highly recommend this one.
If you haven’t read the Grisha trilogy, you might find the world a little confusing – however, I felt that the world-building was far more complex and fully realised in Six of Crows than it ever was in the Grisha trilogy.
This book was everything I ever wanted from New Adult Fiction. All I can say is: read the book.
Please note: this review originally appeared on my blog, What Kim Read Next. It has been reformatted and edited.