Review Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Synopsis: 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
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Action
My thoughts:
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
Feel the raindrops? Those are my tears from now until September 22. Feel the wind? That's the hype of this book. See the stars? Those are all Six of Crows'. Saints of Ravka and Djel, thank you for Sankta Leigh Bardugo. Sankta Leigh Bardugo, thank you for Six of Crows. Extraordinary literature, thy name is Six of Crows. 

First thing you should know about this book is that there are six main characters, some of them more 'main' than others (does that make sense?). And while you might believe 6 goddamn characters and perspectives it's a bit outlandish and over the top, trust me when I say that IT'S NOT. IT'S PERFECT and every single one of these characters are perfect in their own way and you'll love them all! 
Second thing you should know is that this spin-off is an expansion of the Grisha dimension, that one world so deeply enchanting and seductive and mythical you'd wish for it to be real in spite of some potential deadly creatures. While I don't necessarily think you should read SoC after the original trilogy, I believe it's more logical, easier and satisfactory. Plus, you get to meet the Darkling and that's a highlight on anyone's list. 

I didn't know what to expect of this ramification. Initially, Kerch did not seem appealing. A heist was so ordinary when compared to Alina's lavish adventures. And thieves were no substitute for my lovely Grisha. And there was no Nikolai, no Alina, no Zoya, no Mal (I actually missed him), no Darkling, no Ravka, no nothing and no no one. But now I've read it and K-BOOM, life revelation:

Why have I not read this sooner? Whyyyy? (Nevermind, I saw the release date for Crooked Kingdom. I'm happy, thanks.)

“No mourners. No funerals.”

If you expected a book similar to Shadow & Bone, you're looking the wrong way. Six of Crows is so different in terms of atmosphere, world-building (yeah, I know they're both in the same universe but still) and plot. It's like suddenly the magical and medieval times of S&B were upgraded to modern, bleak ones. Crime is the dominant etho and the dark undertones set a bone-chilling emotion to the readers. Danger, death, debts to pay, gangs, slums, dark streets and corners and lots of dreams of getting rich -- this was no direct plot for saving the world (although indirectly it achieves that), but a scheme of greed and desire. Emphasizing the degradation of humanity also helped build the tone of the book, because our beloved characters? Yeah, they're far from saints and angels. 

“Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”
“And what god do you serve, then?”
“Whichever will grant me good fortune.”
“I don’t think gods work that way.”
“I don’t think I care.”

Long story short, Kaz Brekker, a notorious young criminal, assembles a team to strike the thief of a century -- stealing a scientist that created a Grisha drug from the most secure prison, the Ice Court. The whole adventure is fast-paced, surprising and thrilling. 
Leigh Bardugo achieved a tremendous task: crafting six distinct voices that provide a multitude of angles from which to view the story. Not one instance did it feel repetitive, confusing or unnecessary. The narratives overlapped in some places, but only to bring new details, cover parallel scenes or simply to fill in some gaps. 

Meet Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper and Wylan. A bunch of pretty compelling characters. But I'll start with the ladies because they, ladies and gentlemen, they are the fire and soul of this novel. They are badass, empowering and confident. Nina, in particular, wowed me with her development. Her kind heart, feisty demeanor and altruism conveyed a strong young woman. I was even more in awe of her because she was Grisha and I love all things Grisha, but that I believe is besides the point. 


Inej was lovable from the start and oh so mysterious. She had a certain allure that just hooks you in. A creature of opposites, if you wish. Shy, yet renowned. Small and delicate, but deadly. Rational and wise, yet a hopeful. The Wraith is silent, lethal and beautiful inside and out. Quite possibly, she must be cursed, because all sorts of predicaments seem to be drawn to her persona. 

Matthias Helvar remains a man of honor, of justice, of fairness and of loyalty to the good. The Fjerdan has to constantly battle the contempt for Grisha, feeling like he's drowning in an ocean of self-hate with every step he does to betray his country. Brave and traditionalist, Matthias is quite the male hero. 

Wylan was like a very cute and very soft puppy. Innocent, adorable and with his fair share of sadness etched into his being, he surprised me with how well he got into this peculiar group by the end. 

Jesper completed this astonishing palette of fictional souls. He was marvelously hilarious, his whole behavior cracked me up and I'm always a sucker for laughs. On top of that, he's mercilessly teasing, but a great friend. 

"Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I'm going to get Wylan's ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost."

However, not one single character intrigued me as much Kaz did. I hoped for someone Darkling-esque, and I while I didn't exactly get my wish, he was the best replacement. Layers upon layers of hatred, mystery and revenge. Deep, sorrowful thoughts. Brilliance, determination and emotional scars. His past slayed me and his demons unraveled in his numerous flaws. I simply loved the guy, but we still got some walls to tear down -- or rather, Inej has because dayum she shatters him like no other. 

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

The romance was a killer. We have 3 almost-pairs and, consequently, the tension is off the charts. Yet they're so different in terms of dynamics. Nina and Matthias are like soul mates. Wylan and Jesper are the sparks -- also kudos for gay pair, Bardugo. And Inej and Kaz are the epitome of slow burn, a love that can heal and a love that transform. It was all just beautiful to watch unfold. 

“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.” 
“And after,” he said. “And always.” 
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.” 
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.” 
“Zealot,” she said weakly. 
“Witch.” 
“Barbarian.” 
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”

The world we explored was barely familiar, because we ventured in new places such as Fjerda and Kerch. The cultural pluralism came alive by adding Ravkan, Suli, Zemeni and Shu threads here and there. All was done phenomenally, especially the hardships of Grisha throughout the universe, how their special affinities can doom or lift them to new heights. Prejudices, discrimination and hatred so very heart-stopping. 

The ending was an epic one. Somewhat of a semi-cliffhanger, it prepared the grounds for the sequel, assuring us of the same intensity and thrill. Not to mention the values emphasized were companionship and love and cunningness. I'M SO HYPED UP FOR WHAT'S TO COME, because I'm sure the next book will provide equally jaw-dropping moments, edge of your seat action scenes and hot kiddy kissy times (lots of those, please). Oh, and Kaz with his I’m gonna get my money and my girl left me swooning.
My teeny tiny teensy issue with this book was its first half or so. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I did not feel as enthralled by the story as much as I would've hoped nor did I feel that peculiar need TO STOP BREATHING UNTIL THE BOOK'S FINISHED. Nope. I put it down often, with a lot of time in between reading sessions, eventually picking it up when I had the opportunity to immerse myself back into the Grisha universe. But oh I devoured the second half because that's when things got REALZZZ and suddenly there was no air and and and poof the book's finished. Let me proceed to the corner and cry myself into an oblivion filled with Kaz Brekker dreams.

Six of Crows is a masterful story, highly addictive and ingenious, with twists and turns, remnants of revenge and cleverness. It's a con of the heart. A thief of breath. An edgy criminal. Won't believe it till you read it? Well then, I dare you -- take the deal. 


ENJOY! <3

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