Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, #1
Page Count: 479
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Original Publication Date: 2015
Genre(s): Young adult, Fantasy
The slums of Ketterdam are ruled by rivaling gangs. Kaz Brekker, frontman for one of those gangs, is approached about an impossible heist. Pull it off, and he’ll be richer than he could ever have dreamed. Fail, and his head will probably be on a pike in Fjerda. Though Kaz is an intelligent thief, one with an affinity for schemes and quick escapes, he can’t do this alone. So he pulls together a ragtag team to join him: Inej, a spy known as the Wraith; Jesper, a sharpshooter with a love of guns (and gambling); Nina, a Grisha using her magic to survive the streets; Wylan, a runaway with a wealthy past; and Matthias, an escaped convict hungry for revenge. Can these six outcasts pull off this impossible heist?
I’ve had Six of Crows on my TBR for quite a while. I’m really glad I waited until reading the Shadow and Bone trilogy first, or I would have been lost. The book is set after the events of the trilogy, and characters from the trilogy are mentioned throughout. I think Shadow and Bone is a great introduction to the world, and you’re better off reading it first. Though I loved Shadow and Bone as a whole, Six of Crows honestly outdoes it. Bardugo strengthened her writing for Six of Crows and it shows. The continuation of worldbuilding is immaculate, the characters are flushed out and complex, and the pacing is on point. I was really blown away with how much Bardugo improved from her previous trilogy.
The story is told in alternating third-person POV perspectives. We follow each of the Crows throughout the heist, but we also get backstory flashbacks thrown in as well. At first it’s ridiculously hard to keep track of the characters. I’ve heard this book is hard to get into, but I didn’t feel that way at all. I just couldn’t remember which character was which. However it is immediately interesting and complex and I loved it from start to finish. Once I got a grasp on the characters, I had no issues with it whatsoever. The novel is exciting when fast-paced and full of action and remains interesting when it slows down. Because we’re learning about so many characters all at once, you’ll never be bored. Just keep track of who is who and you’ll race through this book.
Six of Crows occurs after the events of Ruin and Rising, the final book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. So when Six of Crows starts, the civil war in Ravka is over. Characters we grew to love in Shadow and Bone are mentioned sporadically, like Zoya, Nikolai, and Genya. None of these characters are the focal point of the story, though. And the events from the trilogy are not center stage. Six of Crows is about the six outcasts and the heist. And though I miss the other characters and would have loved a bit of a crossover, I’m glad the book doesn’t do that. Still, though: read Shadow and Bone first!!
My Kindle editions of these books are super annoying. At the end of each individual book, there’s a TON of extra chapters. Shadow and Bone included a preview of Siege and Storm and Six of Crows. So even though my Kindle said I was only 65% through the book, I had actually reached the end. I felt it coming, though, so I wasn’t too surprised. Six of Crows did this to me, too: at 75%, I turned the next page and suddenly I was at the Acknowledgements. The last 25% of the book was a preview of the sequel. But I was not expecting it. I honestly just expected the book to go on and was shocked when it was over. It’s such a good book and I cannot wait to get into Crooked Kingdom. I have nothing but praise for this book. Dark YA fantasy lovers should read this ASAP if you haven’t already. I didn’t realize what I was missing out on for so long.
If you loved Shadow and Bone, or even just kind of liked it but thought it was “meh,” I highly recommend Six of Crows. It severely improves upon Shadow and Bone. Please do read the trilogy first, but I hope you continue on to read this duology because it’s so worth it. Plus, the Netflix adaptation will be including the Six of Crows characters. I read an article that said the show wouldn’t be focusing on the events of Six of Crows (obviously, since it happens after Shadow and Bone), but the characters would be involved in the universe and given backstory so that they’re still included. Very interested to see how that plays out. And super excited to start Crooked Kingdom tonight.