Continuing on my trend of reading the super hyped and popular books late, I finally read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (
and the sequel too but shhh the review is coming later). And let me just say, wow! I now understand why these books are so loved by the whole book blogging community. The writing is superb, the characters are precious, and the plot is so fast paced and intriguing, with tons of twists and turns, and an overall theme of darkness.
“No mourners. No funerals.”
This book centers around a group of fugitives, thieves, assassins, and witches as they try to do the impossible: break into the impenetrable Ice Court and retrieve a hostage. Now that I look back on it, that really is the main plot in the book, but that doesn’t mean the story is straightforward. Far from it. While the plot is action-packed, this really is a character driven story, which I’ll talk about later on. The relationships in this story between all the different crew members shift and change and are a main focus of the story as well.
Now one of the main misconceptions before reading was that the crew was going to become this group of best friends, where they all trust each other with their secrets and protect each other 100%. This is false. Most of the crew hates each other in the beginning, and there really is only one pairing of best friends. They all grudgingly respect each other, and throughout the story begin to protect each other with their own lives, even if it is only because they recognize that the other person is a necessary part of their operation, but they never become the secret whispering, best friend group that I had pictured.
“A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who has become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”
That being said, I absolutely loved all the characters, although I had my issues with some of them. They were not the noble, honest, obviously good characters, but dark, twisted, tormented, and murky characters. There’s Kaz Brekker, the leader of the operation. He’s cruel and calculating, but a mastermind and fearless. Next is Inej, “the Wraith” or “the spider” of the group. She’s tiny, silent, and deadly, but also faithful and optimistic and observant (and also one of my favorite characters). We have Jesper, the sharpshooter of the crew. He’s goofy, light-hearted, and has a penchant for gambling, but ultimately is loyal to his crew and brings laughter when they are on the brink of death. There’s Wylan, the baby of the group. He’s used as the bargaining coin, but has other skills such as creating bombs. The fifth member of the group is Nina (my other favorite character). She’s flirty, fearless, and magical. Literally, she has magic powers that let her control people’s breathing and pulse and emotions. But she’s also loyal, honest, and loving, bringing humanity to her. The last member is Matthias, an ex-military man and escaped fugitive. He is the brute force of the operation, as well as the actual trained killer. Together, these six characters make for a deadly group.
As I said earlier, Nina and Inej are my favorite characters. They both have the most heart, in my opinion, and the ability to actually care for someone else. They are fearless and strong, but understand that emotions are not a weakness. Their friendship is also one of the most heartwarming parts of the book. They are friends not only for survival, but because their personalities mesh together and they understand each other. Sometimes, they’d be on the brink of death, or about to embark on a deadly mission, and their conversation would still bring a smile to my face because of the obvious love they have for each other and the comfort they feel around each other.
“There was no part of him that was no broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.”
I have some issues with Kaz, because of how cruel he is, and how he almost seems to have no conscience. As the book goes on, he becomes more human, but he still is so cold and calculating, never letting himself give in to the emotions he is feeling or show mercy. I understand, they are basically fighting for their lives throughout the book, so mercy would be poorly placed, but there are times when he should’ve forgiven easier and sooner, or given second chances. That being said, I can appreciate him for the mastermind he is, and can respect his mind and how he is able to put together almost impossible schemes and operations to achieve his goals. His dedication to a cause is extraordinary.
My last note about the characters before I move on is how diverse their crew is. There are physically disabled characters, many different races and religions represented, a couple LGBTQIA+ characters, and some mental limitations represented. I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the diversity represented, but honestly it was so great to see these characters so different from each other in such a natural way, and so real.
Next in this super long review is my raving about the world building. It was just superb. Each “nation” was given an identity, and the entire city of Ketterdam, with it’s rival gangs, felt as much a part of the story as the actual plots and characters did. Plus, all the rivalries felt real and deep, not just thrown in there for drama. But my main example of the amazing world building done is the Grisha. Bardugo basically created a race of humans with magical abilities, so obviously there was a lot of information that needed to be disclosed about them, including about the people that hunt them down and kill them. (Also, apparently her other series is a whole Grisha series?! Whaaaaaat?!). But all the information felt seamlessly woven into the story, so there was never a large info dump paragraph that disrupted the flow of the story.
The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.
And then there’s the romance. As we all know, I’m a huge fan of romance, and the romance between Nina and Matthias was perfectly written. It never overtook the story, but was developed all the same. It shows how complex love can be, and how love requires compromise. They are now one of my favorite ships in a YA book, just because of how real it felt to me (
also they are one of my favorite tropes).
And that’s it with this super rave review! When I was going into the story, I did not expect to love it as whole-heartedly as I did, but I could not put this book down. Everything about it is so masterfully done that it deserves five stars.
Have you read this book? Who is your favorite character? Is the Grisha trilogy worth reading?