Six of Crows was mind-blowing, thrilling, adventurous fantasy with so many twists and turns, amazing characters, and brilliant plot. It was the best book I read this whole year. Now I know why every fantasy reader and fans of the author love this book most. Every penny I spent to have the collector’s edition was worth it.
I read this book with Toni @ Readingtonic. I will write things we didn’t discuss first as review and then will share my conversation with Toni next. I’m going to keep as spoiler free as I can.
Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date : September 29th 2015
Publisher : Orion Children’s Books
Genre : YA / Fantasy
Pages : 494
Previous books in the Grishaverse –
This is a collector’s edition with an exclusive letter from the author and six stunning full-colour character portraits.
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist: break into the Ice Court – a military stronghold that has never been breached – and retrieve a hostage whose knowledge could change Grisha magic forever. To succeed would mean 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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Together they might just be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
Review of Crooked Kingdom
Six of Crows was mind blowing and brilliant YA fantasy that revolved around Six characters and one impossible heist. The story was about heist, greed, money, power, vengeance, struggle, a chance to getting over darkness of the past and make future, trust, betrayal, friendship, and love.
Writing was simply perfect, so beautiful, vivid, imaginative, and gripping. I felt writing was little different than trilogy. In trilogy it was more intense first perspective while here it was both atmospheric, intense, and light with witty dialogues and multiple third person narrative. Author did fabulous job with five different perspective. It never felt confusing and never broke the pace of the plot or story and it worked really well here.
This was both plot and character driven. Plot was complex and well structured. It was inspired from Ocean 11 and many readers said it was like Ocean 11 but to me this was even better than it. It was so much original and perfect with so much action and adventure and also past of the characters. It was full of twist and turns. it kept surprising me from the beginning till the end. It’s better to go into book without knowing much about it.
The story was divided in six parts but honestly it was so amazing to read, I didn’t take notes what was in each part or highlighting the points to mention for each of them. All I can say my most favourite part was part five and six.
Meet the Crew-
It was hard to choose favourite character but Kaz held special place both in story and my heart. He was damn genius, brain of the crew, a real and true leader, and the best gambler. He was crook, confident, formidable, and greedy. He looked bastard, emotionless and incapable of love or care for others from outside but inside he was just like everyone else- vulnerable, learning to get over the darkness in him and his past. He seemed smartest and well developed, like he was around 25 years old, but when it came to his past he felt like 17. His past, his trauma, darkness he felt within because of that past, and armours he wore to prevent it was touching and heartfelt. His drive for revenge and get things from the world back that was stolen from him was realistic. What I liked most was, even with his brain and all the confidence he wasn’t right or faultless all the time. He made mistakes and admitted it. As story progressed, I saw him coming to care for his crew more than he did before their heist and of course his love for Inej was clearly visible. I can’t wait to see how he would get over the past, shed the armour and be expressive and open in next book.
Inej, the Wraith, was next favourite character. She was tenacious, kick-ass, smart, and religious and conscience Suli girl and she too had vulnerability. She wasn’t as fearless as her reputation. she staggered few times when her past and most terrible time of her life came across her path but I admired and loved her for fighting it throughout the book. She went through so much in life. I simply amazing how many times she fell in life and story and got back up again braver and kicking life and problems in the backside. No one knew Kaz better than her and no one could dare to speak up or doubt him except Inej. I loved her even more after climax during her conversation with Kaz.
Nina was loveliest, beautiful and charming, loud and reckless heartrender. Unlike all other character she really felt 17. She was interesting character and I was curious to read how she came to Kerch and what happened between her and Matthias. She grew on me as I read more. I felt for her for what happened, how hurt she was with Zoya’s words and how terrifying it must be to get separated and find shelter in unknown country among crooks and gangs where Grishas were taken as slave. I admired her skills for language and eagerness to learn things be it Fjerdan customs and legends or surviving the streets of Barrel. By the end she came out lot more confident than she was before and she was true hero.
Matthias wasn’t most likable in the beginning because of his Fjerdan and Druskelle belief and nature, hatred towards Grisha and Nina, and all insults he threw at Nina and crew but I loved seeing him change bits by bits, seeing the crimes and wrongs his people did and getting in his head Grishas are also human.
Wylan was cute. He was youngest of the crew and acted like one throughout the story. He was young merchling, a rich merchant, Van Eck’s son who left the cosiness of his father’s mention and lived in streets of Barrel. The mystery behind it was interesting and it kept me curious about him till the end. He was smart with explosives and really brave who stood up against all dangers that he never saw or experience ever in life and fought like true Drag with crew.
Jesper was hyperactive shapr shooter of the crew and had weakness for gambling. He farmer’s son from Novyi Zem who came to study in Kerch but ended up bein member of Dreg. His story wasn’t as interesting as others but his wit, humour, and perspective and a twist about him kept him most interesting and fun to read.
The ship betwen Kaz-Inej, Nina-Matthias, and Jesper-Wylan was interesting to read. This wasn’t heavy romance (and I’m glad for it) and focused on plot but their feelings for each other was palpable through out the story. Kaz and Inej went around in circles with their feeling, none wanting to admit or confess it but I hope that would overcome in next book. Nina and Matthias went from friends-to-enemies- to-Lovers. Like other characters I really worried they don’t kill each other before they reach Ice Court and I wasn’t sure what Matthias would do about his feelings making it all dramatic and interesting. Banter between Jesper and Wylan was most entertaining and fun to read. I can’t wait to see where things would go between them.
World was really amazing. It took place some time after the end of Grisha trilogy. I enjoyed reading about world outside Ravka in more detail. Life in Kerch, all the streets and areas, customs, merchant council, how people lived in Kerch, Gangs of Kerch and their rules and dispute among them, Fjerdan rituals and beliefs, Ice Court and its layout.. everything was vividly written. I liked reading perspectives on what’s it like to have gift or power that is not natural through jurda parem and Matthia and Nina’s conversations, and beliefs and how it’s not power that makes someone monster but a person with evil intention.
Overall, Six of Crows was mind-blowing, thrilling, adventurous fantasy with so many twists and turns, amazing characters, and brilliant plot.
I highly recommend this if you love,
If you liked Shadow and Bone trilogy or show
Ocean 11 movie
Nonstop action and adventure
Amazing characters and back story
Brilliant twist and turns
Discussion with Toni
(skip spoilers if you haven’t read this wherever I have mentioned)
Toni- do you think SOC can be read as a standalone duology? I mean without Shadow and Bone.
Me- Many have read it as standalone without reading the trilogy first. But as I have read the trilogy, I feel it’s better to read trilogy first and then SoC because the Grisha world was not explained in detail here as it was done in the trilogy. Without trilogy, we have to just go along with what’s going on. We can’t know some of the characters mentioned through characters’ past here, like Zoya and Nikolai, and some other things like Grisha power, what it is exactly or where it came from, what is second army, why there was civil war in Ravka, relations between nations and all that.
Toni – I agree with you that some references to Grisha world are easier to understand if you’ve read the S&B trilogy.
Toni- they seem to be awfully young! I know it’s YA, but 17?
Me – hey are so young but they feel much like around 25. Maybe because of their life, what they have gone through, hardship and struggle. It’s like they grew up so fast. Except Nina. She definitely behaves like 17 and also Wylan. He is the youngest in the group.
Toni – You’re right, he’s the only one who sounds like a teenager.
Me – Which character did you find most interesting so far?
Toni – My favourite character is still Inej. Love the quote: ‘The only Law that applied to her was gravity and some days she defied that’ and also how she reproaches Kaz about his greed. Then when Kaz says that she is an idealist and all she needs is a full belly and an open road, she adds ‘and an easy heart’.
She is my favourite, but the most interesting is Kaz, the most well-developed at least. Kaz is ambiguous- he is supposed to be ruthless, but then again it seems to be more to establish his authority. Inej says he always keeps his end of the bargain, plus, we know it was thanks to him that Inej’s indenture with the brothel was paid off.
Me- What do you think about the world? Do you feel the writing is a little different from the trilogy?
Toni – The world….Kerch is different from Ravka. It’s all about trade, money, gambling, debts, survival.The writing is as addictive as in the trilogy, but here we have different points of view, which is great. I liked Alina’s POV being the only one in S&B, because everything was focused. Here everyone is already very mysterious and keeps their cards close to their chest, so having an insight into these different characters stories is helpful.
Toni- How do you feel about multiple POVs in SoC?
Me- I actually loved multiple perspective as it works better with characters’ back story and what they think about other characters and gave more layer to all of them. Like how Kaz is mysterious for all but for Inej and how Jesper keep trying to know him but doesn’t and Nina feels most grateful for him for not having any judgement when her truth came out.
Toni – This is a duology, but the books are longer than in Shadow and Bone. My guess is that it’s more or less the same length, just divided into two books. Do you prefer standalones, duologies or trilogies? or it doesn’t matter?
Me – It doesn’t matter to me how many books a series have but I do feel this shouldn’t be trilogy. I Would be mad anticipating next book and I feel good I already have second book to start as soon as I finish this.
Toni – You haven’t seen the TV show, right?
Me – Nope, not yet. But I’ll once I finish this.
Toni – Good decision! In part 2, I had the advantage and disadvantage of having already seen the TV show. Basically, I did know why Matthias loved and hated Nina and why he thought she had betrayed him. Having his point of view definitely adds to the story.
Me – Now I feel better I didn’t watch the show. I knew there would be some spoiler from this book. I enjoyed reading what exactly happened between Nina and Matthias.
Me – Which was your most favourite scene and part?
Toni – this is difficult…I really enjoyed the overall shape of the narrative, all the tension points coming in crescendo, until we were kind of lulled into thinking it’s all over and then bang! The heist itself/ the ice court part was so fast…it was like, you blink and you miss the whole thing. Things were being drilled, climbed, blown up, transformed, axed, and shattered and I was just sitting there unable to unglue my eyes off the pages (not literally, fortunately, you never know with these Grisha)
Scenes ( I need to rephrase all of these):
-the way they used the masks of Brute Komedie to get Matthias out;
-Kaz saving Inej when she got stabbed
-Nina and Matthias exchanging their names for the first time (by the way I loved it when Matthias said that Nina is too much of everything and Inej asked him if he considered that perhaps it was him who was not enough
-inej, Inej, Inej …climbing the incinerator even after her slippers started melting and then the first drops of rainInej feeding pigeons who don’t have any manners, according to Kaz
Inej giving him his gloves – because she is the girl who ‘knows’ him
Inej telling Kaz she will have him without armour or not at all
Kaz surviving the underwater river by thinking about Inej and then promising to get back his girl in the end after everything seems to be lost
Me – My most favorite part was whole ice court one the way they entered, everything happened there and how they got out and also what happened after that.
Favourite scenes were – the deal talk between Kaz and Geels in the beginning, hellgate heist, their entry to ice court, the way they discovered Yul-Bayur, Nina and Matthias just before they rescued Yul-Bayur, climax, conversation between Kaz and Inej after climax and the end.
Me- Is Inej still your most favourite character? If not which character you liked most?
Inej is still my favourite. She isn’t fearless- remember how difficult it was for her to even walk by the Menagerie, and yet, she steals Tante Heleen’s diamonds.I found her thoughts about her parents still looking for/grieving for the girl they lost three years ago and how she was a different person now after her experiences. The way she kept climbing….
Me – it’s hard to choose between Kaz, Nina and Inej. But I have special place for Kaz. He was so genius and though he looked bastard, emotionless and Incapable of love and care for others from outside, inside he was just like everyone else vulnerable, learning to get over the darkness in him and his past, and I do see he came to care for his crew more than he did before their heist and of course his love for Inej was clearly visible. I’m curius see how that is going to change him more in next book. And he was beat gambler.
Toni – I can see your dilemma of choosing a favourite character or is it a trilemma now? 😀 yes, Nina has grown on me. I love how brave and honourable she is and how she always thinks about her country and her people, how she thinks of herself as a soldier, how respectful she is of Matthias’s culture -the wolves, the oath. Finally, how she sacrifices herself. Kaz is absolutely brilliant! Oh he cared for all of them…. A real leader. I believe he can claw his way out of the darkness…What I liked the best about him is how non-judgemental he was and how he brought out the best in them.
What do you think about the end? Did you guess it?
Toni – I expected that just didn’t know how.
Me- I did have doubt but not before climax. And I’m sure I didn’t know the purpose or plan and how that will go.
Me- Was there anything you didn’t like?
Toni – There wasn’t anything I didn’t like.
How would you rate it?
me- perfect 5 star. I haven’t felt this level of thrill in any book or movie so far.
Toni – 5 stars, of course! Now every other ARC I have to finish is going to seem too bland and slow.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat…
What do you think about the book and review and discussion? Have you read this book or any book by the author? If you have read this, which character did you love most in this book?
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