Leigh Bardugo, you take that back! How could you break my heart so callously?! So, I finally did it. I finally read Six of Crows, and it is worth the hype and more. With the heart-warming found family trope, the refreshing new world, the fleshed-out realistic characters, it seems to be everything a reader can ask for, but there are a few flaws.
This review is the longest I have ever written, so please do take a quick look, but most importantly, what do you think of Six of Crows? Tell me in the comments, because I thought this was an amazing book.
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.
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In my opinion, Six of Crows is the most hyped-up YA fantasy book out there. Any teen/tween readers would know or at least have heard of it. It follows the story of a young Kaz Brekker who is offered a large sum of money if he pulls off a heist. Other than Artemis Fowl, this is the only book I’ve read where the protagonist is an anti-hero and I really think there should be more of the, for this, if anything, was so much fun.
Contents (yes, this is that long a review; the longest I’ve ever written, actually.)
- Cast of Characters
This is a YA novel that is clearly different from the rest. The romance doesn’t take over the plot, in fact it eases into it; adding more value to the plot, something I think authors like Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare could do a lot better.
I loved reading this after the TV show, for the storyline there was different from this, but the characters were done so well now that I have read this. The incidents in that were meant to be a prequel to these incidents (I think?) but Kaz was perfect. I think I’m going to rewatch the show after reading this, because that “Jes? It’s Suli for friendship” scene is going to have me rolling on the floor laughing.
Since all six of the main protagonists come from different backgrounds, the flashbacks and the slow reveal of each and every one of their backstories were among the best part in this book.
This is a slow-paced novel. The chances of you DNF-ing it before you even get to the main heist, the inciting incident, are very high, for Bardugo has taken her time starting the novel off. The ‘prologue’ chapter which starts the novel had me so immensely confused, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on it there, for this novel was so much more than that little part.
The first two chapters are hard, but by the third chapter you get an idea of what is really happening. I think it would be better if you start out with the Grisha Trilogy (which is in a sense a prequel to this) as you will be more thorough with the world-building aspect of this book by the time you get to it.
I found it hard to catch on to what exactly was happening at some points in the plot (though it isn’t what stuck with me most) and it was not an easy one to follow. Kaz was a little too clever at points, and saw everything that was coming. You could say the deus ex machina was slightly overused, but it all added up well in the end.
The plot, as most of you can agree, was not what stood out in this novel. Six of Crows is so renowned not because of the plot but because of its easy-to-love, diverse cast. Which brings us to the largest section of this rant review: The Cast of Characters.
The Cast of Characters:
“There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong. And there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.”
Unlike most other people, I do not love Kaz. Like I do not swoon over him, because he occasionally gives me this old-man feeling. ‘Rocksalt rasp?’ Who speaks that way but grandfathers? I mean I get it, his voice sounded raspy, but that wasn’t the only thing. He knew everything that was coming for them.
Which seventeen-year-old kid could get nothing past an older, more experienced man? His only flaw, his Achilles’ Heel, was Inej. But Kaz still made for a brilliant protagonist. I love a good anti-hero, and I need to see what this scheming face looks like.
Also can I point out how perfectly Freddy Carter played him in the TV show? I mean, he was literally Kaz from the books on screen; like the pages literally had come to life. It may sound odd, but it’s true. The crows were perfect on-screen.
Kaz’s voice was my favourite in this book, mainly because he was this broken person inside (typical broken boy with tragic backstory) but everyone else saw him as this uptight, impassive person who judged everything they did. Jordie and his tale was the best backstory in this book.
“She was not a lynx or a spider or even the Wraith. She was Inej Ghafa, and her future was waiting above.”
Inej is the queen of this book. Be it her south-asian heritage, or the fact that she is a POC, and that she’s the badass black-haired girl, her character was everything. I loved how she went from being this prostitute who was absolutely terrified of her mistress to this strong girl—but what was that ending?
I have to say that I was most intrigued about Inej’s backstory, and I loved hearing things from her perspective. She had the most character development in my opinion, and you can see how Leigh tries and succeeds in portraying themes through Inej.
Tante Heleen was the Umbridge, the Zara Dearborn, the Consul Wayland, the Esme Squalor of this book. She’s the character that you can hate without thinking about it for even a split second, for she is pure evil. I loved how Inej harboured her feelings of hatred for her and then got back at her.
“She wouldn’t wish love on anyone. It was a guest you welcomed and then couldn’t be rid of.”
Oh, my gosh, Nina. She is literally my favourite character in this cast (wait, no, I cannot pick a favourite). I don’t know if it was her relationship with Inej, or her relationship with Matthias or her amazing Grisha skills, but she stood out like no one did.
I think Leigh did a really great job with the diversity at least, in this book, for Nina gave me bisexual vibes, and it was amazing. I liked that she was amongst the only ones who ever second-guessed what Kaz was doing, and how she thought back to her people: the Grisha.
If what she was doing would, or would not benefit them, how things would end up if she did what she was told to do. I think that showed reason behind most of her actions, and I loved that she was never impulsive.
“We’ll see what this night brings. Trickery is not my native tongue, but I may learn to speak it yet.”
Matthias. I can’t get enough of how much I love these characters, and Matthias is no exception. He was made to betray his own kind, and that made him hurt the most. If only he actually cared for his kind, but ’nuff said.
I was horrified when he made out to betray the Crows, and I am so glad that didn’t turn out as terribly as I thought it would. As far as skills are concerned, Matthias was good: drawing the map of the Ice Court, getting them in.
He really meant to hurt Nina when the book began. I do not know what quite happened, but something did, and I grew to love him so much as the book progressed.
He began as a witch hunter. He began as someone who would kill Nina, not for what she was like, but for who she was. We see that we mustn’t judge people based on who they are, but for what they are. Another one of those beautiful themes Bardugo portrayed through Six of Crows.
“If any of you survive, make sure I have an open casket. The world deserves a few more moments with this face.”
And every group must have a Leo Valdez of some sorts, shouldn’t they? Well, Jesper’s the Crows’ Leo. It’s impossible to leave him out for he’s always there, making jokes, having fun. He’s brilliant with his guns, but sometimes, I always felt like he’s just Kaz’s second.
I do hope that we shall see him grow out of that, and the he will be his own person. I think his revelation partway through the book made me wonder a lot more about his past, but we didn’t see as much as I would have liked of that, so I wasn’t satisfied with his character arc.
He’s a gambler, and he’s extremely good with guns. I would’ve liked to see how that turned out, but I still feel the book ended too fast.
“My name is Wylan. And you’re right. I don’t have any business criticizing you.”
Wylan is underrated, but his underration is understandable. All the other Crows got chapters in their poitn of view; so why didn’t Wylan? He started out like a baby (I mean the way the others were treating him, I literally thought he was like ten,) but his character developed considerably.
I did not see that plot twist coming in the end, and Wylan was a substantial part of it. His father treated him terribly, but he saw past that and became a man of his own and that’s what mattered.
Unfortunately, I can’t say much more about him for we didn’t hear about his past much, but him and Jesper were adorable.
“Please, my darling Inej, treasure of my heart, won’t you do me the honor of acquiring me a new hat?”
In most YA novels, the romance is developed with physical interactions but this is not the case here. This book had slow-building romance which Leigh Bardugo did so very well, and it fell into place so beautifully with the plot.
Kaz and Inej were meant to be together; you could tell from Chapter Four. I only wished they would just talk to each other more, for that seems to be a recurring pattern in YA novels; characters simply assume things. I have to admit, they can be the very definition of horny teenagers sometimes, but I loved them together, nevertheless.
Oh, I see. I’m the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!”
She poked him in the chest.
“No. I’m beguiling you.”
See above for the kind of romance, but this was still my favourite ship in the book. I love their enemies-to-lovers arc, and I love how they grow to accept each other for their differences. They were hilarious together, and I wanted to know more about how they met, how Nina ‘betrayed’ Matthias (and why Nina was such a queen).
I literally had to stare at the page for five whole seconds when I read the ‘little red bird’ quote. My Kindle has over 120 (one hundred and twenty) notes and highlights for Six of Crows; literally. I went absolutely barbaric. This was brilliant.
Also, Matthias, the big brooding yellow tulip ♥
“You could be stuck like this.”
“Why does it matter?”
“I don’t know!” Jesper said angrily. “Maybe I liked your stupid face.”
Oh gosh, Jesper. That’s terrible. I’ve said this enough, but you need some tutoring in romance. How ’bout you go check in on your buddy Kaz? See how he’s doing with his investment?
Anyway, I stanned these two hard, even though the romance was only implied. I mean, how cute are they?!
Like every book out there, Six of Crows had its faults, too.
—It was too slow: I wanted more of the book when it had ended, but I didn’t like how slow it was. The majority of the pages are description and Leigh moves very slowly with the backstory
—The worldbuilding was not enough: I am still (after reading the Grisha trilogy) not very satisfied with the worldbuilding. I mean, of course Leigh knows what happens in the world, but we don’t.
—What happened to our Shadow and Bone characters? I came to this book thinking it was a sequel, but only two characters from the Grisha trilogy were even mentioned.
—Where is Milo the Goat? And for the biggest flaw of all, Milo the goat was missing! I know he was just an addition to the TV show, but???
Okay, that was the biggest review I’ve ever written, but here are some Grishaverse memes for all of you:
Thank you so much for reading this gigantic review! This book gets four-and-a-half stars from me! Also, (yay!) these book review posts will be popping in every once in a while! This Sunday is going to be the last Summer Diaries with my Quaran-tween life.
Have you read Six of Crows? What do you think Leigh Bardugo could have done better? Do you agree/disagree with me on some points? Tell me in the comments! Until then xx