Where do I even begin??? Okay, ahem, I can fangirl later in the review.
I have been meaning to read the Six of Crows duology basically since I started diving into book twitter and heard about it for the first time. But I held off. I was a little bit scared of it, because everyone loves it so much and talks about it all the time and it really made Leigh Bardugo the queen of YA fantasy (for some… myself included now). But those hyped books freak me out. What if I don’t like it like everyone else? What if I read it and it ruins the Grishaverse for me? WELL. I shouldn’t have been worried. I loved the Grisha trilogy, but this book really showed Bardugo’s growth as a writer and storyteller. It was so so good.
“No mourners, no funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.'”
In Six of Crows, Kaz Brekker and his team of miscreants are given the improbable job of stealing a person from the Ice Court of Fjerda, which is one of the most heavily guarded compounds that exists. But Kaz is the Bastard of the Barrel, and he can accomplish anything with a little sleight of hand and a lot of cunning. He recruits a team to accomplish the mission:
“A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, and a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”
It doesn’t seem like it’s going to work, but Kaz is a criminal prodigy with something to prove. And off they go on a life-threatening adventure that, if successful, will make them all millionaires.
6 Things I Loved
(Yeah, it’s the whole crew. What were you expecting?)
- Kaz Brekker. There are people who truly dislike Kaz, but from our first introduction to him, I knew I’d love him. He’s a boy of the streets, someone who had to grow up too fast, someone who has had to earn every advantage he’s ever had. But by the time we meet him, he’s the leader of the Dregs, a street gang in Ketterdam, and he’s as mysterious as he is broken. OH MY HEART, YOU GUYS. I’ll admit, if we never had Kaz’s POV, I’d probably hate him. But seeing inside his head, seeing that the way he is always serves a purpose, that’s he guarding his heart and his secrets – I was a puddle. I’m Kaz Brekker trash, and I’m cool with it.
- Inej Ghafa. If I’m trash for Kaz, I’m 100% in love with Inej. Inej has a fraught past – she was stolen from her home by slavers and sold to the Menagerie as a sex slave. And Kaz saved her and helped her become the Wraith, helped her build a persona where she was powerful. Inej is strength personified. Kaz and Inej are like flip sides of the same coin, and I love them both equally and differently, and I’m hoping beyond hope that Kaz can work through his phobias to be with her. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW SEXY THEY’D BE WITHOUT KAZ’S PHOBIA OF SKIN CONTACT?? Holy hell. *heart eyes*
- Jesper Fahey. Ah, Jesper. I kind of hated him in parts of the book because of his weakness for gambling, but then he’d have another POV chapter and I’d love him anew. Jesper is a Grisha without training, a sharpshooter and an adrenaline junkie, and he’s one of the biggest flirts in Ketterdam to boot. He’s charisma. He’s fearlessness. But under all of that, he wants to be Kaz’s friend and wants his approval, is loyal to Kaz to the very end. Oh, Jesper, I want to hug you.
- Nina Zenik. Nina is a Grisha soldier from Ravka, a heartrender trained to kill without a touch. But she’s so much more than that. She’s funny and lively and sassy and she is easy to love. One of my favorite things about Nina is that she gets Inej to open up, gives Inej a female friend to cherish and protect, and it works both ways to the end. Nina is wonderful, and an essential member of this crew because…
- Matthias Helvar. Matthias needs to have his heart of ice warmed. Ha. Matthias is a Fjerdan soldier, a former drüskelle who was shipwrecked with Nina a year earlier. Nina had been captured by the drüskelle and was on her way to Fjerda to stand trial, but she pulled Matthias from the icy ocean and kept the blood flowing in his veins while he swam them to shore. Matthias says he wants to kill Nina, but that isn’t what he truly wants. He’s ashamed for loving her, and that makes me want to hug him too. Plus, he’s the soldier the group needs to succeed on this mission, because he has the training and the knowledge of the Ice Court to lead them all the way to the finish line.
- Wylan Van Eck. Wylan was the one character I couldn’t get much of a read on during most of the book. I’m actually not sure he had a POV in Six of Crows (I know he does in Crooked Kingdom). In any case, Wylan is part of the crew as an explosives expert, a chemist, and the son of Jan Van Eck, who hired them for the job but whom Kaz doesn’t completely trust. For most of the book, Wylan is paired with Jesper, and Jesper flirts with him shamelessly, and it’s the cutest thing. I want them together, even though it might be weird. No spoilers! I’ll be finishing up Crooked Kingdom this weekend!
Remember how I said I’m trash for Kaz and this book? YOU’RE THE ONE READING THIS REVIEW THOUGH, AM I RIGHT?? 😉
There is nothing that I can think of. There is excellent rep in this book – many different races are represented, along with mental illnesses and disabilities and sexualities. This crew and this story have captured the hearts of a huge community of people because Leigh Bardugo knows how to write inclusivity as a seamless part of the story rather than as a plot point, and I think people could stand to learn from her in that regard.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This book, y’all. I’ll be rereading this book until the end of time because I loved it so so much. But I’m going to hold off on giving it a solid purple rating because I know that fantasy isn’t everyone’s bag. So. I’m giving Six of Crows a BLUE rating, but know it’s the purplest blue that exists.
And if you love fantasy stories, or heist stories, or ensemble cast stories with multiple POVs, this is probably PURPLE for you. I described it to a friend as Guardians of the Galaxy in the Grishaverse. So yeah. READ IT.
1200 words later, can you tell I had *~fEeLiNgS~* about this book? And I didn’t even share all of them! Because spoilers! So many feelings!
No mourners, no funerals, y’all. And happy reading!