Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on September 29th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! I’ve been a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s since reading her Grisha series, but man, she knocked it out of the park with Six of Crows. This is an instant favorite, and one of the very best books I’ve read this year. Intense, creative, well-written, and well-developed… if you haven’t read this, I’m basically ordering you to. Now.
Six of Crows is basically Ocean’s Eleven in a fantasy world. That already sounds awesome as fuck, RIGHT? Well it gets better. This story takes place in the same world as The Grisha – starting out in the city of Ketterdam. Ketterdam, and Kerch, are incidentally based on 17th century the Netherlands. I didn’t know that going in, but it was so awesome! There were Dutch terms and cultural tidbits that made me so happy, but the setting is written so beautifully that it creates its own atmosphere. It’s kind of a dark and suspicious city, and that just put me on the edge of my seat. (Leigh talked a bit about her inspiration for Ketterdam at her event in the Netherlands, which you can read about here!)
The beginning was a little slow for me. The story definitely takes some getting used to – if only because you’re adjusting to this new setting and the fact that you have five main points of view and six main characters. But when I was sucked in, I was sucked in deep. These characters are AMAZING. Kaz, the leader, is super intelligent, ruthless, and a schemer. Inej is loyal and driven but has plenty of wounds from her traumatic past. Nina is smart and basically has a heart of gold. Matthias is scruffy and angry (but oh so lovable). Jesper is the funny guy who brightens the mood, and Wylan is his punching bag. The characters are all distinctive, flawed, complex, strong, and amazing. Throughout the story you gradually find out all their back stories and you basically fall in love with ALL OF THEM.
Ships, ships, ships galore! Seriously, it’s not like everyone’s constantly making out in this book – actually you’d be hard pressed to find any actual kissing – but the romantic tension is real and coming at you from all sides. Kaz and Inej have this intense slow burn romance building up that is setting my heart on fire. He’s so gruff that he doesn’t really even want to think about romance, but you can sooo tell that Inej is getting under his skin. Nina and Matthias have quite a bit of a past built up – and at first I was a bit put off by their dynamic, seeing as how, you know, he wanted to kill her and stuff – but those flashbacks gave me ALL OF THE FEELS and honestly they need to just get with the kissing IMMEDIATELY. And as a nice touch, Jesper and Wylan are totally a thing, a gay thing, and that makes me super happy, because they have all the banter and just UNF. An LGBT ship in YA fantasy! Fuck yeah!
But were you looking for action and magic? Because Six of Crows has that down too! Kaz puts together this team of
There are also enough twists to keep you on the edge of your seat and – at the end of the day – begging for the sequel. Things I never saw coming and hadn’t seen done before. This book is just amazing. It’s beautifully written, has characters with so much depth, complexity, and heart, and it honestly stole my heart. This is an adventure I’ll gladly repeat, and I have a feeling it would be even better upon a reread. But also I need that sequel liiiiiike NOW.