Book Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Fiction
Date Read: 09/18/16
Pub Date: 09/29/16
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 are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
As you can see, I finally jumped on the band wagon and inhaled the first in this series. While it did take me about 50 pages to really get sucked in, mainly due to sorting out names and the layout of this fantasy world, things picked up quickly and I blew through a majority of the book about as fast as I can scarf down a large pizza. (But for real, Papa John’s makes a great side dish for this book. And all books.) The major pull for my placing this on the ever-growing TBR last year was solely that I was curious as to how an adventurous heist would look from the viewpoint of teenagers. I racked my brain trying to find other books like it and came up short; maybe someone can point a few out to me, but I felt that alone made this a unique read. There are so many fantasy worlds in the YA genre these days that an author truly has to work hard if they’d like to stand out amongst the others. I can say with great confidence that this one is memorable beyond doubt and lives up to all the hype surrounding it.
If you read the summary above, you can see it leaves quite a bit to the imagination (as it should). I picked this up without reading her Grisha Trilogy first; I’m torn as to whether or not that was a bad thing. On one hand, I feel it would have helped to set up the Ketterdam world a bit more where I could have dove in and immediately ran with it; on the other, I sort of enjoyed not having the back story on the various lands and cultures discussed in the book, and it made me want to go back and read the Grisha books for a fuller understanding. I’m curious to discuss with someone who read those books first to compare thoughts. If you are like me and late to the party, just know that neither choice is wrong and you can enjoy either route.
We find out early on that one of the main characters (and leader of The Dregs), Kaz Brekker, is crippled and requires a cane for support while walking. After reading in the acknowledgements that author Leigh Bardugo suffers from a degenerative condition called osteonecrosis, all of Kaz’s struggles and descriptive scenes truly came to life. You see, osteonecrosis is better known as “bone death”, meaning the author is in pain with pretty much every step she takes and sometimes requires the use of a cane. This book is riddled with all types of “special needs” and minority characters; I really enjoyed how well written they all are and how subtle, yet perfect each character came across. Even though this is a fantasy book, these aspects gave it a realistic quality amidst all the magical beings and fantastical fights.
I’m sure no one else feels this way, but my favorite character ended up being Jesper! All 6 of the crows were awesome and fun to follow, but his backstory and personality added a line of humor, mystery, and care free immaturity that lightened the mood and added depth to the teenage group. I hate nothing more than a YA book that basically writes the characters all off as teenagers who are completely mature adults, and this one was sure to keep reminding us that, at the end of the day, they still are children with those types of needs and wants. While the heist was clearly unrealistic and totally unbelievable, this is fantasy, and we need a lot of unrealistic in the big picture. What sold me was all the little, more believable details and quirks given to each character.
I’ll stop rambling, but as you can see I loved this book and am super pumped for Crooked Kingdom to be published next week. I’m in the first batch of requests at the library, so hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to pick up the next book. While it didn’t have a huge cliffhanger at the end, I was left craving the next installment immediately and am glad I waited to read this now, instead of last September as originally planned. This is well done YA fiction and I am excited to explore the author’s other work surrounding such a fun fantasy world! If you are a fan of fantasy YA fiction (and are also late to the party like myself), please give this one a go!