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.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first
Disclaimer: There may be some things you consider spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
Why we chose it: Six of Crows got a lot of attention when it came out and it still getting a lot of attention. The reviews were mostly positive so we thought we’d give it a go.
Review: Six of Crows is very much a character driven novel with incredible world building. Granted, the author has already had three books to build this world, but where we though The Grisha Trilogy was a little sparse in actually seeing the world Leigh Bardugo has created – Six of Crows does it wonderfully.
The first character we meet is Inej. She’s a wraith. You won’t hear her or see her, but she could be standing right beside you. Her skills as a gymnast, specifically climbing (something she does a great deal of in this book) are renowned in the sordid corner of the world which she lives in.
We liked a lot of things about Inej, her point of view was most definitely one of them. Even though it’s done in third person you can practically hear her talking and we loved it. Another thing we liked about Inej was the way in which she interacts with people. She can come across as a fierce individual, but when you’re reading her chapters you know there’s fear and hope and need inside her.
The three people Inej interacted with most in the novel are Kaz, Nina and Jesper. She has a complicated relationship with Kaz from the very beginning and it only became more complicated as we progressed. There’s a chemistry between the two that felt natural and intoxicating. It was almost a slow burning romance, but not quite.
Inej also contributes a lot to the world building in Six of Crows with her backstory – everything that happened before the time this book is set in. It was really interesting to see the double standards from her experiences
Nina is also a character who shows the double standards existing in the world. She’s a Heartrender which means she’s a Grisha. She’s naturally powerful and as a Grisha she’s meant to only grow stronger, but due to circumstances that you learn about going forward she’s not as powerful as one would think.
Both in terms of magic and emotions. For being born what she is there’s an entire nation which hates her. Wants to harm her and it was refreshing to see in Six of Crows how it’s not only skin colour that makes you a target. Racism of many forms is shown and it’s not glossed over. Leigh Bardugo wrote some great scenes that were raw and emotionally driven.
Nina’s chapters were our favourite and the way in which her and Matthias’s relationship developed-especially considering the history between the was slow and teasing and sometimes we honestly believed it wasn’t going to go the way we hoped it would. It was quite tense and thrilling.
Matthias is part of that nation that despises people like Nina. He comes from a cold people, who aren’t as we come to see as good as he believed them to be. We liked his chapters too, especially considering how Nina driven they were. It was so wonderful!
It’s important to note at this point however that Matthias wasn’t written in as a simple love interest. He’s a genuine character and there’s a lot of development to be seen from him. He questions his beliefs, his feelings…everything he has ever known because he’s a good person. A good person who struggles.
Matthias being a Fjerdan soldier is a man of faith. He believes in a god. We found it very intriguing to read about a form of religion in the Grisha world and it’s only though Matthias that we’re able to do that. Without we think we would have been missing something from Six of Crows and we can’t wait to see how things change for him in Crooked Kingdom.
Jesper is a screwed up gem who we love and adore and we almost have no words when we think of him. There’s so many possible angles you can view him from and having finished Six of Crows a few weeks ago we’ve come to view him in many lights. For this post however we’re going to try streamline it….
Jesper is an eternally hopeful/desperate sharpshooter who gambles far too often. He’s not very good at it, but he’s an addict. He needs to gamble, he has to do it. He brings so much as a character- he’s hilarious! We cracked up so many times from some of the things he said. He also has a wonderful connection with Wylan who’ll we get to in a moment.
In terms of the world however we learned that addiction is a very big thing in Six of Crows. In fact one could say addiction is a key theme to this book and with Jesper we get to see that not all addicts want to be addicted or come across as the fading characters one would expeect.
Wylan Van Eck, he’d be a minor character used for plot purposes only if it wasn’t for the fact he’s an adorable young man trying to find his way in the world free of his father. The fact that his father is a powerful man makes it much harder too.
Throughout the book Wylan grew on us. We love how his connection with Jesper developed and the two of them are right up there with Nina and Matthias. We could rave about him for days, but we want to focus on something very important his character thought us.
In Ketterdam there’s a lot of corruption and there’s a lot of poor people, who become desperate people willing to do anything until there desperate people have a dirty sort of power. They wield influence and naturally despise those born into privilege. Wylan was of course born into privilege and there’s some negativity thrown his way because of that, but his character showed us that coming from money is not always a good thing.
Wealth can hide a multitude of faults and sometimes is the poor who are lucky.
Finally we get to Kaz. He’s the criminal prodigy and the leader of this book. He comes across as aloof sometimes and honestly he can be a complete asshole. We loved him though….mostly. He has his reasons for doing the things he does and it’s likely that he’s the most flawed character in this entire book.
Kaz is a guy who wears gloves, he never makes skin contact with people because it makes him want to get physically sick. We wont tell you why he’s that way. That’s something you need to find out on your own, but we will tell you that Leigh Bardugo writes his issues beautifully.
She shows how he struggles with them at times simply because it’s necessary to get the job done and that if he didn’t push himself he wouldn’t get what he wants. He’s an extremely determined and ruthless character with brain power to spare.The only thing that annoyed us about him was his relationship with Inej.
For the most part we loved it. Through their interactions and developing connection we saw that he really can only push himself so far. Some of issues are so deeply ingrained, we don’t know if he’ll manage to overcome them in the next novel. We’re not even sure if we want him to…..
Now the thing that annoyed us was his sudden emotional shift to Inej before everything else at the end of the book. It was the only part of the entire novel that felt slightly forced to us.
What we learned about the world through Kaz is that not everyone who has hopes and dreams succeed and sometimes the innocent must become the sinning in order to thrive.
There’s a lot more twists and turns and revelations throughout Six of Crows than we’ve mentioned here and all of them felt so real. We were genuinely shocked about some of them.
We said at the start that Six of Crow is a character driven novel and it is so that’s how we discussed. We feel like the plot only originated because of the genuine characters created by Leigh Bardugo. We think everyone should check this book out even if like us you thought the Grisha Trilogy was just okay.
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