Six of Crows Review
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
A Review by Kim Martinez
Six of Crows blends a heist story into a magical fantasy setting in a way that could be overwhelming. Instead, it leaves us with a delicious story of power and romance. The novel has garnered many comparisons to the quintessential heist film Ocean’s 11. All of them are spot on.
The story follows a ragtag group of thieves and outcasts who are thrown together by the anti-hero Kaz Brekker. Kaz is the ruthless leader of one of the many gangs in Ketterdam. Six of Crows is set in an alternate version of the Netherlands, one that is ruled by violent gangs and the ever-present lust for power.
In typical fashion for the heist genre, the main driving force for the novel is a simple concept: break into and out of the most secure prison in the world; get a massive fortune in return. The fact that there are six main characters and just as many points of view might be off-putting to some, but the third person narrative manages to keep the surprises coming. Each character has their own agenda. Each is multifaceted and complex in their own right.
Six of Crows is set in the same world as author Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha novels. However, they are by no means required reading. The world building in this novel is so complete that the reader can practically smell the soot and salt in the air. This book – as well as its sequel – takes a darker turn than the Grisha novels.
Our protagonists are thieves and miscreants, scoundrels and outcasts. They live in a world of crime and death. It only makes the magical aspect of the book seem less fantastical and more realistic.
What makes this book shine, however, is the characters.
The female characters, Inej and Nina, are wonderful. Each is powerful and strong in their own way. Each knows her worth within the group. Six of Crows doesn’t treat either girl like a damsel in distress. But they’re also shown to have faults and insecurities that makes them feel real.
There is romance in this book, but it takes a backseat. The driving force of Six of Crows is the main goals of the characters. The relationships feel like a natural evolution in the bonds between them, rather than fulfilling the need to pair characters off neatly. Kaz’s gang is wonderfully diverse, but not in a way that feels forced. They simply reflect the world they live in, where people of all races and sexualities struggle alongside each other, for better or worse.
Buy It! The hype surrounding this book may seem intimidating, but this book definitely lives up. Leigh Bardugo weaves a dark and sexy tale that will suck you in and leave you wishing there were many more stories in this world.