Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”― Leigh Bardugo
Book: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 29th Sept’2015
Genre: Young adult fiction, Fantasy Fiction
Series: Six of Crows, Duology
Publisher of the collectors edition: Orion Children’s Books
My rating: 4.5/5
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: 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 riches 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 Heart-render 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.
“No mourners. No funerals.”― Leigh Bardugo
This was probably the book that was recommended to me the most and thus became a book that I almost picked up on several occasions but failed due to the anticipation that had me worried that I would be disappointed and won’t like it.
I finally managed to pick it up at a very slow pace with a fellow bookish friend, Sakshi @fictionalcravings. We took it slow, reading around 20-30 pages a day and the reading and the discussion that followed was something I looked forward to everyday.
I was not disappointed at all. In fact, it was a very very good book. My inner soul was appealed to and it is very happy about it.
The premise of the book was alluring. The blurb made it so interesting already and I obviously figured out that we would have 6 important characters. I couldn’t wait to find out who the 6 were and how they would get along given that the blurb states that they might just kill one another.
The book started off with an outsiders view of what would become the central reason for the so called ‘impossible heist’ that was to be performed. The lead, Kaz Brekker (another one of my book boyfriends) , is a highly feared leader of a gang called ‘The Dregs’. He is known as Dirty Hands and he lives up to his nickname.
The other 5 characters are unique and their personalities are very well built and explained. I guess that’s the magic of Leigh Bardugo. The best part of the story was how each character had a back story and it was revealed at the right moments and it worked wonders in keeping me hooked.
The location of the plot was well explained. The maps that were a part of the collectors edition were magical and I frequently referred to them each time a place was described. It made the reading a lot more fun.
The narrative was deep, funny and adventure-filled. Everything felt impossible and yet somehow plausible. My heart was in my hands and I was manually pumping it.
The book started off as a heavy read but ended up flowing smooth and easy. I didn’t want to stop reading but I also didn’t want it to be over. I do not often feel so about books. I was so invested in the story that ‘the feeling that the end has come’ was terrifying me.
We do have an ending. It isn’t complete, given that it is a duology and a cliff hanger was expected but I award this book with the best cliff-hanger ever written in a series. It made sure that everyone will not only fall in love with this book but also possibly fight the world to read the next installment.
Also, props to the author for how well she managed to highlight Kazs disability to be a strong trait of him and not a hindrance. Often, we see characters with disabilities that they have to overcome to win or find happiness. Leigh Bardugo definitely will revolutionize such narratives with this approach.
I cannot wait to get on to ‘The Crooked Kingdom’. The only good thing about reading this book so late is that I don’t have to die waiting for the next part.
I would also like to add that the ‘GRISHAVERSE’ was a new concept to me and I was worried I wouldn’t understand since I haven’t read the ‘Shadow and Bone’ series as a lot of people claimed but I had no problem adjusting to it. In fact, can I please be a part of it? I’m tired of this universe now.
I rate the book 4.5/5.
“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”― Leigh Bardugo
Coming to my favourite parts of the book, there were quite a few times I felt like this is the best part! That I feel is a very wonderful quality to find in a book.
The backstories of everyone were not only insightful but also heartbreaking. So let’s talk about the backstories while also discussing the characters.
Kaz Brekker: Kaz using the dead body of his brother, Jordie Rietveld, to stay afloat the river, he and Jordy being cheated on by a man and the man turning out to be Pekka Rollins was shocking. Pekka Rollins not caring enough to even remember this boy that he destroyed in and out and Kaz making sure that he will only end him once he remembers is the most demonic and somehow also the most humane thing I’ve ever seen. Brekker is also not kaz’s actual last name! I think Kaz has a lot of love inside that he doesn’t want to shower on anyone probably because of his fear of losing them. He puts on a evil front to ensure that he never gets crossed again.
Inej Ghafa: I cannot imagine the Shadow, the Wraith aka our Inej being forcefully sold to customers at the house of exotics owned by the cruel Tantee Heleen. She was sold to her after being kidnapped at a young age and is freed with the help of Kaz. She was already trained in acrobatics by her father and Kaz makes sure to sharpen her skills to make her a perfect spy. She definitely has a thing for Kaz, her saviour. She joins the heist and plans on becoming a sailor with a crew of her own to burst menagerie’s and free girls. Heleen was very cruel to her and assaulted her on several occasions. During the heist, Inej is insulted by Tante Heleen but manages to steal her most priced diamond. That was one suck burn. Inej has knifes that she named after saints that are like a layer of clothing to her. Sankt Petyr(given to her by Kaz Brekker), Sankta Alina, Sankta Marya, Sankta Anastasia, Sankt Vladimir and Sankta Lizabeta are all hidden on different places on her body.
Nina Zenik: She is the badass Grisha with the powers of a heartrender. She worked in the House of white rose and Kaz promises her to break Mathias out of prison if she agrees to join the heist. In her past, we learn that she was a part of the second army which tried to save Grisha from the drüskelle and also make them a part of the army. But she is caught by Mathias and put on a ship to Fjerda. In a unique chain of events, a storm overturns the ship and she helps Mathias escape. They become allies and reach Kerch where in order to protect him from being murdered for being a witch hunter, surrenders him to the Kerch prison accusing him of slave trading. Since then, she doesn’t leave ketterdam trying to find ways to get him out. In the end, she swallows the Jurda Parem in order to save them all form the Fjerdan soldiers. She manages to save them all but is a slave to the side affects of Jurda withdrawal. I loved her so much I want to cry. I hope she and Mathias get a shot at love.
Jesper Fahey: Jesper, a beloved sharpshooter of the dregs! Oh wait! There’s nothing beloved to the dregs. So Jesper was knows f*I’ll have you raw kqz breaker or not have you at all”or his addictions with gambling and agrees to the heist because he wasn’t to repay his debts and buy back his father’s farm which he loans out claiming to need money for his studies. He claims to not value Wylan but turns out really disappointed that he didn’t see him much after the heist was done and also that he was blinded about the plan of sabotaging Van Eck. During the heist, we also discover that he is a Fabrikator. He is unsure of weather or not he wants to pursue his powers.
Mathias Helvar: Helvar was raised to be a drüskelle and was filled with hatred against the Grisha corporalki. He is however an honest and reasonable soul who was directed towards the wrong direction. As soon as he realises what’s right, he is shoved into hellgate without knowing why Nina lied to him. He spends his gruesome time in the hellgate with only one wish i.e. to destroy Nina Zenik. Once he realises the truth, he’s back to his normal self. When he turns against the gang inside the ice court, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I’m glad I didn’t because now I also know that he is spontaneous and truthful to people who treat him well. He added the humour quotient to the narrative. The cat fight between Nina and Helvar, honestly felt like Lou and Reid from Serpent and Dove but since this book came before that, I think it’s the vice versa.
Wylan Van-Eck: This innocent and cute little boy who is the son of Jan Van-Eck, the merchant who gives Kaz this job, comes off as a burden that could hinder the heist but turns out to be very useful. He is not only very artistic and helps in recreating the map of the ice court with Mathias but also is their plan B in case Jan Van-Eck tries to double cross them. He is the kid of the group and I loved the banter between him and Jasper. I would like a romance between them. Hell, I already ship them. I felt that he was terribly side-tracked because we do not have even a single chapter with his narrative. I would have liked that. In the end, we find out that Jan actually is disappointed and wants nothing to do with him because he cannot read and the revelation is like a re-birth to Wylan. Poor soul, I felt so bad for him.
“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”― Leigh Bardugo
There’s so much to look out for in the next part:
- Inej has been abducted
- The son of Bo Yol-Bayur (Kuwei) and Nina are in the hiding and Nina is still recovering from the affects of Jurda Parem.
- The last chapter was from Pekka Rollins’ narrative and it sure was one hell of a challenge and I want to know if Kaz really signed off his harbors or was that a trick and if it wasn’t, how is he gonna get it all back.
- Will kaz ever express his love to Inej? Or will he be worried that it’ll put Inej in more danger and chose to love from a distance?
- Will Matthias and Nina get a chance to be together?
- Will Jasper try to learn and develop his skills as a Grisha Fabrikator?
“We are all someone’s monster.”― Leigh Bardugo
Reasons to pick up the book:
- A bad-ass story
- Amazingly talented men and women
- Very unique personality representations
- It empowers disability, that is a very new and necessary take on how world views the specially-abled.
- It’s crazy (we all need crazy in our lives) 6. I haven’t found any cliches and I love it (cliche free)
- The cliffhanger
- The urge to read the next part immediately
P.S. I know that the cons are pros too but sometimes people don’t have the time and it can get frustrating (aka go to hell Pg prep)
P.S.S. Yes, I’m talking about me!
“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.”― Leigh Bardugo