A quick look on my goodreads will tell you that I have shelved Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo with the book series I don’t intend to finish. This was a few years ago, when I read the first novel; it was alright, it wasn’t a bad book at all. I rated it 3 stars, but I didn’t enjoy it enough to want to continue with the trilogy.
Six of Crows then came out, and I was interested; it sounded pretty great. I saw and read so many great reviews for it so I was definitely intrigued. Still, I didn’t plan on reading it because I hadn’t finished the Grisha Trilogy and I didn’t see myself reading it without having finished the original series first. That’s a personal thing, I know, but it’s how I felt (and it’s mostly still how I feel when it comes to other novels, I don’t like staring in the middle of a series). So many people have told me I could read Six of Crows on its own just fine, that I would have no problem understanding things. And I believed them, but I wasn’t sure. Recently though, after being told this again, being in the mood for a novel like this one and my interest in the novel still being there, I told myself to just read it. Which I did, and I don’t regret it at all.
“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.”
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 is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
I was surprised and honestly a bit confused with the first chapter. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I had trouble seeing the point, and I wasn’t really feeling much for the character of Joost. I see what Leigh Bardugo tried to achieve with this chapter, but it missed the mark for me. I would have liked it much more as a simple, shorter prologue, and I think it would have gotten the point across just fine. However, I thought it worked perfectly for the closing chapter; it kept the mystery for the next novel and it gave us a small insight into a character that is mentioned often throughout the novel because they’re very important to one of the main characters.
“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”
After this first chapter however, I was totally into the story. One of the things I loved the most in this novel and especially at the beginning is how the writing doesn’t shy away from showing us the rough things whether it’s from the actions of the characters or the descriptions of their surroundings and the atmosphere. It’s dark. Sometimes, we’re told a certain character is ruthless, that a whole legend surrounds them. We’re told all of their past actions, how people are afraid of them and yet, in the novel itself, we’re not shown this character doing those things; the character isn’t what they’re said to be, what we have to believe they are and it can be disappointing. But Six of Crows shows us Kaz being exactly who he is said to be: ruthless. I really appreciated that and noticed it from the beginning.
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
This isn’t to say he is just that. Every character, as we meet them and dive into their point of view, becomes more and more complex. As the story goes on, it isn’t difficult to see that they’re not one-dimensional, that they are a mix of flaws and qualities that make them all unique. None of them have the same backstory, the same reason for being where they are now and for taking on the job that is the heist. They’re all so different, which is why I loved the multi-perspective in the novel. I didn’t find a single point of view boring and the characters kept on surprising me; I was quickly attached to them, maybe some more than others, but I found them all fascinating. Their uniqueness made all the relationships and friendships so interesting as well: none of them are easy. Many come with heavy baggage which created an added depth to them. I really enjoyed reading about them. Right now, I can’t say I have a favourite character out of Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias & Wylan. They’re not perfect, but that’s why I found it so engaging to read about them.
“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”
I loved getting pieces of each characters’ story throughout the novel. Those little breaks with flashbacks from the main plot were so well done and didn’t ruin with pace at all. It kept an aura of mystery surrounding all the characters but also made connecting to them quite easy. It also allowed us to see the same event from different perspectives, how one event can affect two characters very differently. That was a part of the novel I was not expecting, but loved. And the plot itself was intense, fast-paced when it required it, and slower when needed. I was surprised, shocked, mislead and overall it was such a great journey. A few small plot points seemed to come a bit out of nowhere, were a bit convenient but it didn’t stop me from loving it.
I’m so glad I decided to pick up Six of Crows. Altogether, it was a ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for me! The next book I’ll be reading will be Crooked Kingdom without a doubt, because I want to see where the story goes after the ending of Six of Crows. And I didn’t think I would, but I want to give the Grisha Trilogy another try, reread Shadow and Bone and this time continue with the series!
Have you read Six of Crows? What were your thoughts? Do you have a favourite character?
Until next time,