Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Posted December 10, 2015 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on September 29th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

5 Stars

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 (super amazing totally lovable) characters to travel to the Ice Court and save a Shu scientist who recently discovered an amplifying and super addictive drug for Grisha. They’re not doing this to be benevolent though – these aren’t upstanding citizens – they’re doing it for thirty million kruge. Throughout their journey, there’s plenty of magic, thievery, jailbreaking, trickery, and mischief. And it’s all action-packed and exciting. The climax in the Ice Court was particularly well done: at multiple points it seemed like their mission would be a failure, but in totally non-obvious ways, they managed to keep going. I was honestly basically jumping up and down cheering for them.

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.

Summing Up:

Six of Crows is basically perfection in book form. Honestly. It’s so well-written, creative, engrossing, addictive. The characters are brilliant, the ships are amazing, the plot packs a punch. I just thought everything was so fantastic that I can’t even commit to what I liked best! Favorite character… Nina? Maybe? Or Kaz? Favorite ship… probably Kaz and Inej? Or Nina and Matthias? My heart is torn because I just love ALL OF IT, and that’s basically the best response to any book ever.

GIF it to me straight!

Recommended To:

Any fantasy fans everrrr.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. I’ve been putting off reading this one, but it’s next up on my list! I’m excited to see how the slow burn romance will play out. Not so excited for slow pacing, but maybe the action will make up for that. Great review!

  2. I don’t think I’ve seen a single negative review about this one. I’ve never read anything by Ms. Bardugo, though obviously I should. I’m definitely a fan of “ships galore” so now I simply have to read this, especially because I love to see LGBT in YA. Thank you for the awesome review!

  3. I think that was one great thing about the novel, was the sexual tension. I actually love tension more than actual romance (odd, I know). But this was just a great novel, and I love that it could stand on its own.

  4. Yessss to ALL OF THIS! You hit so many of the points that made me love this story–the atmosphere, which Leigh does SO WELL, the character development, the sexual tension and shiiiiiiips, THE. HEIST. I loved her series too, but she seriously did hit it out of the park with Six of Crows. And honestly, the characters were my favorite part. I’m such a sucker for a group of members who you would never expect to work so well together, or become friends. Gah, WHERE’S MY SEQUEL?! Awesome review, Debby, and A+ gif usage! 😀