4 star, YA

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows #1

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 is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Okay, I know I know, I’m suuuper late to this party, but I’m glad I arrived – better late than never! But honestly I’m so glad Andge made me dive into this one, as I always love a good heist and boy was this a wild journey. Andge felt that this was more of a 3.5 Drink Me Potions for her, based on the hype around this series at her time of reading. I’m rating it a little higher at 4, since this particular story resonates more with my style. While I can’t speak for both of us, here is my review!

Six of Crows follows a motley crew of criminals, or at least sketchy individuals, as they embark on a seemingly impossible heist for a tantalizing amount of money. Each character brings their own unique set of skills to help in the heist, as well as a plethora of secrets that emerge around every bend. The story takes place over multiple POVs, and each chapter features a different character’s perspective. The author takes us on the whole journey, from forming the unlikely alliance all the way to the results of the heist, also giving intriguing and mysterious backstory along the way. Overall such a suspenseful and exciting adventure!

Easily my favourite element of this novel was the suspense of the heist. Yes, I expect the heist to be somewhat successful, or at least what story is there to write about? But the whole journey there, the twists, the turns, the betrayals, the betrayal betrayals, who knew what was going to happen? I thought I had a fairly good prediction of what I would see, yet I was still surprised at some elements, which is always a nice perk for me when reading any novel.

I found that the multiple POVs really helped add to the suspense, as each character doesn’t have the full picture, so each perspective kind of added its own element of suspense. I did not find these switches to be confusing at all, and I found that it was actually used pretty effectively to keep the readers a bit in the dark without an omniscient narrator. It was interesting to see how each character thought of themselves, but also to see how they were really perceived by the other members – I thought that this added a lot of interest as well: the dichotomy between what is perceived and what is true.

The heist itself was definitely an exciting adventure, and not just a straight path from start to finish with a mastermind behind it. While this is the general arc for it, there were many new elements that I had not fully anticipated, which made it quite interesting. Don’t want to say too much here in order not to spoil, but I could say easily this was one of the shining elements of this novel for me.

The relationships on the other hand were a bit more on the predictable (slightly cheesy?) side. It wasn’t anything egregious, but I think anybody knew certain things were bound to develop. That being said, I felt that it was handled fairly well, and not overly dramatized and drawn out, since it isn’t really the main story, albeit an important aspect. I think the diving into the backstory of each character was a much more fascinating read, seeing how an individual’s experiences can shape them to be who they are today, and how it can affect their future actions in a big way.

One more slight knock I have is that the beginning was a bit confusing, or at least it wasn’t a fast enough start for me. I have seen that some share this sentiment too, so I thought I would mention that I also felt the same. It was a little bit hard for me to get into at the beginning because I had no connection with these characters and therefore didn’t feel the rush to continue when we are introduced to new characters every chapter. It wasn’t a bad start by any means, but I could see how it could deter someone reading it. By the halfway mark I was pretty invested and it was smooth sailing from there.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I know that it’s immensely popular and I can totally see why. The characters are all scarred, vulnerable, yet hardened survivors. It really does feel relatable to have such a damaged crew working together, bringing their strengths together as a team rather than let their baggage weigh them down. And like I said before, I’m personally a big fan of these masterminded heists, so that was an auto-win for me. A slight drawback in its predictability of character development, which was made up for by plot intrigue. Thanks once again to Andge for highly recommending it to me, so that I can now recommend it to you all! (Assuming you haven’t read it already – slow me!)

Overall Recommendations

Six of Crows bands together a motley crew of “low-life” criminals and refugees to go after a huge prize for a ridiculous sum of money none of them can refuse. Through highs and lows, the band of six travel far, through twists, turns and betrayals around every corner to achieve their goals. A multiple POV story filled with dubious relationships, double-crossing and shady deals, one quickly finds themselves immersed and excited along for the ride. This memorable heist features some very lovable and complex characters, and I highly recommend this all fans of this type of literature.

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