Six of Crows book review

by Leigh Bardugo (2015) Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Six of Crows is a Grisha novel set in the world created in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but focusing on a different part of this world – Ketterdam where anything is traded for a price and bustling with criminals. One such criminal who knows Ketterdam better than anyone, is Kaz Brekker. So when he is sought after to pull off the most dangerous and impossible heist by breaking into the Ice Court (for a rather hefty sum) he gathers together a crew. Will this bunch of six wild and dangerous criminals manage to do the impossible?

I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy last year and really enjoyed the first book, but I found the other two a bit disappointing so I really hoped this book was going to be better and it definitely was! Set in a different part of the same world with the odd reference to happenings in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, you don’t need to have read the previous trilogy to understand Six of Crows.

All of the characters in this book were absolutely brilliant. Each chapter focused on a different character’s perspective (but written in the third person) so the writing was similar throughout but only slightly attuned to how each character noticed and reacted to things. And all six of them had a unique and creatively constructed personality – I love their interactions with each other!

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

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Of course Kaz was my favourite. He’s such a dark and mysterious character and what I really liked about him was that he had flaws and wasn’t perfect inside or out – he has a limp but wears it as armour and uses it to his advantage. Kaz also can’t remove his gloves – a weakness but he turns it around into building the image and legend of Dirtyhands, a criminal of Ketterdam that leads him into a deal with the wealthy Jan Van Eck.

So Kaz recruits five people to help him pull of this heist:
– Inej, his spider of Ketterdam,
– Jesper, a wild and hungry-for-action sharpshooter,
– Nina, the bold and unafraid Grisha,
– the Fjerdan and Grisha-hunter, Matthias, and
– Wylan who there is more to than first seems.

Like I said, every one of them is fantasically thought-up and the best thing about this book is the huge amount of awesome character development there is! I love how much we learn and discover about all of them, and grow to understand how and why they got into their position.

“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

I actually didn’t really warm to any of the characters at first except Jhoost at the start. I loved how it started with a completely random character who wasn’t even essential to the story, but it just showed that there are people who are affected by the doings of others even just because of situational accident. But as I read on I grew to love all of the characters and their hilarious quips and jibes.

Just give this book a go, whether you read the Shadow and Bone trilogy or not, it is such a unique and intriguing read! So I’ll mention a few spoilers now because there were a couple of little twists and turns I was not expecting!

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The Grisha taking the jurda parem was a great idea to continue with the story of the whole Grisha world whilst focusing on another part with completely different characters. I did like the fact that Nina was a main character in Six of Crows when she was just slightly involved in the previous trilogy.

So Jan Van Eck sends Kaz to retrieve the scientist responsible for the creation of jurda parem because he’s a crazy power-hungry man who only wants it so he can gain further control of Ketterdam and further. Breaking into the Ice Court took a little longer than I thought; I just felt like I was reading a lot of explanation without there being actually much explanation with regards to what was going on? I don’t know I just didn’t feel the planning to break in and breaking in part of the story, but things really got going when they actually locate Kuwei.

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I honestly loved Nina and Matthias’s relationship and history in this book – it was just so cute but also frustrating to see Matthias admit his true feelings towards Nina, given how much he hates her ‘unnatural’ kind. So when he betrays her and gets her locked up in the Ice Court, I wasn’t that surprised because I thought I knew his hatred would win out over love. But THEN it turns out that was a rouse and he does love her and it was all an act! Talk about plot twists.

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Learning why Kaz always wears gloves was quite sad with the history of his brother dying I mean, no wonder he is the way he is! And Pekka Rollins is just vile so I’m glad Kaz is trying to slowly destroy that monster. I thought it was really sad when he’s trying to battle his past demons and his feelings for Inej and it made him such a more believable character – him falling in love doesn’t solve everything, he has to figure out himself and accept what’s happened before anything else.

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Each character had their own secrets – Jesper with his gambling, Inej and her time in a ‘pleasure house’ and Wylan with the small detail of being Jan Van Eck’s son who can’t read. It all just adds to the story in making it more relatable and realistic and I love it when authors do this. The bit at the end when Nina took jurda parem and tailored Wylan to look like Kuwei though-

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I thought Kaz was always going to best Jan Van Eck and be five steps ahead of everyone when it came to scheming so I was disappointed when they got bested by Jan Van Eck at the end. How could it finish on Inej being taken by Van Eck?!

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Nothing was expected or could be predicted in this book! It definitely picked up near the end once they got Kuwei but I just loved the amount of character development involved in this book! It will be so interesting to see where their relationships between each other go in the next book, particularly between Nina and Matthias, Inej and Kaz and Wylan and Jesper.

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows


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