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Six of Crows Hardcover – September 29, 2015
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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An Amazon Best Book of October 2015: Leigh Bardugo is a fascinating storyteller and in her latest book, Six of Crows, she’s stepped up her game even more. At the heart of the novel is Kaz Brekkar, a mysterious young man who has clawed his way to notoriety in a city fueled by corruption and greed. When Kaz is asked to perform an extremely dangerous heist in return for a staggering sum of money, he calls upon his most trusted compatriots to help. The story is told from multiple points of view and readers discover what led each character to Kaz in the first place, as well as his own shocking path. Six of Crows is a vivid, entertaining fantasy that boldly captures the imagination and leaves an impression well after the novel’s cliff-hanger ending. -- Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Bardugo has created a wildly imaginative story of six young people who have been commissioned to pull off the greatest heist of all time. They are to nab the creator of jurda parem, a highly addictive product that enhances the innate paranormal powers of the Grisha peoples, in the hopes of creating weapons of war that will upset the balance of power and destroy the economies of rival governments. Kaz, the hero of the story and mastermind of the plot, recruits five others to aid in his quest for revenge for the loss of his brother and the promise of vast wealth. Taking what could have been stock characters of young adult fiction—the loner, the rebel, the outcast, and the con artist, the author has fashioned fully fleshed out, dynamic protagonists who will engage and enchant readers. What a thrill it is to return to the world she created with her popular "Grisha Trilogy" (Holt). While the unresolved ending may frustrate some teens, the promise of a sequel will give them hope that this unsettling, captivating, magical journey will continue.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
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“I HAVE BEEN made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.”
Wow and damn! Rarely have I been so enraptured by a story that I’m completely taken by my want/desire/need to read it. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is one of those books that demands all of my attention—consumes my every thought. I couldn't stop reading it. Responsibilities could wait; everything must wait.
The truth of the matter is that I had no intention of reading Six of Crows—ever. I know! The hype surrounding this book was insane, and I tend to have poor experiences with buzz books, so I avoid them. Unbeknownst to me, the Grishaverse had other intentions.
As I was perusing through my local Barnes & Noble, I “happened” to find myself in the YA section of the store. Total accident, truly. ;) My eyes panned across the floor of all the beautiful books on display when it stopped abruptly at Six of Crows. This book stood out amongst all the rest. It looked rather sinister with its black, ink-stained paper edges. The high contrast serif font with its loopty-loops against a black background whispered (queue the Gollum voice), “Take me home...my precious.” I didn’t intend to buy it but it was visually so stunning that the designer in me thought, If anything, it’ll look good in my library. Silly me…for within these pages will be one of the greatest stories I will ever read.
In the bustling trading city Ketterdam, criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker—Dirtyhand—is offered a chance that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. There is one catch, however. He must extract a Shu scientist with the knowledge to destroy the world from the Ice Court—an impenetrable system no one has accomplished…yet. But, Kaz cannot do this alone. He recruits some of the deadliest villains: Inej, the Wraith; Jesper, a sharpshooter; Nina, a Heartrender; Matthias, a warrior turned convict; and Wylan, a runaway with a privileged past. Can Kaz and his team of thieves and thugs save the world from destruction? Or will they end up killing each other first?
I was captivated by the unique world that Ms. Bardugo created. It’s rich and imaginative, with an unsettling and haunting vibe that is quite appealing. It’s a dark world that breeds complex characters with even darker pasts. Namely, Kaz Brekker, he is an anti-hero and an enigma, with a vulnerability that only one person has been able to touch—Inej. She is the Wraith; she is his compass. This is the start of their exciting story full of danger with hints of an attraction. I wanted so much more from them, preferably hot flaming passion, but their affection is rather cool and reserve in this first installment.
The characters are phenomenal and the storyline is written to match. There is enough plot twists to make the brain scramble to catch up. Six of Crows is a fast-pasted and thrilling page-turner. The small victories that were achieved when Kaz and his team managed to outsmart and outmaneuver their enemies were so entertaining and gripping. Though, there were still plenty of misfortunes and miscalculations to keep me on the edge of my seat and thirsty for more. I couldn’t tell which way the tide would flow.
I absolutely love this book and am sorry I’m unable to give it a 5-star. I want to. Unlike ARCs, which I can look past writing errors, this is a verifiable purchased book à la B&N. And like all purchases, I like it to be in mint condition. To encounter errors such as “Jesper must have already raised the the signal,” was something I couldn’t overlook.
Other than this technicality, Six of Crows is epic! It does end on a cliffhanger that is not totally unexpected, but the climax was so riveting that my heart landed in the pit of my stomach. One thing is for certain; I will be eagerly waiting for Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows 2). In the meantime, I will be devouring The Grisha trilogy.
I read Shadow and Bone last year and then picked up the final two books in the Grisha trilogy in preparation for Six of Crows. I’ve been on a Grisha whirlwind of epic proportions. This review is going to be long and I’m not sorry about it at all.
Let me start off by telling you that Six of Crows is a book that lives up to the hype. So often you see books being heavily marketed and then you might read it and think “it’s okay” but this book is fantastic and deserves all the attention and publicity.
It’s told in third person and the story unfolds through multiple points-of-view (I believe there are seven different points-of-view). Don’t let that scare you off because it totally works. Leigh Bardugo introduces you to each character in a way that is effortless and engaging. The character development was fantastic! The book is being marketed as Game of Thrones meets Oceans Eleven. Well, I’ve never seen Game of Thrones but I do know that it’s really bloody. Six of Crows is kind of bloody. The Ocean’s Eleven comparison is spot-on.
The book is set in city of Ketterdam in Kerch, a small island country west of Shu Han and it is the center of international trade and organized crime. Sprawling with gangs fighting for territory and grappling for power, anything can be bought and bartered for at the right price.
A local merchant approaches Kaz Brekker with a proposition. His job is to kidnap a scientist who created a deadly elixir fatal to Grisha and bring him back. He will get thirty million kruge in return. It sounds simple until he discovers that The Ice Court in Fjerda where the prison is located has high security and nearly impenetrable.
Kaz is the mastermind behind this whole operation. He’s a thief from the Barrel, a rundown, dungy, and dangerous part of Ketterdam, known for his sleight of hand tricks and ability to escape any situation. He’s the thief who never gets caught and is always two-hundred steps ahead of everyone else.
“He’d heard Brekker’s name in prison, and the words associated with him—criminal prodigy, ruthless, amoral. They called him Dirtyhands because there was no sin he would commit for the right price.”
Over the course of the novel, you learn where Kaz came from, the tragedy that befell him as a child, and how he built the Dregs from the ground up. I found him to be quite an interesting character.
Kaz gathers up five of his best people for the job. Notice, I didn’t say he trusted them. Among them is a Heartrender Grisha who is indentured to a brothel in Kurch, a Grisha hunter who wants the Heartrender dead (but he also wants to kiss her…GAH!), a young spy who is neither seen nor heard before striking, a sharpshooter with many secrets, and a boy who grew up privileged and is now on the run.
“What makes you think we can do this? There will be other teams out there, trained soldiers and spies, people with years of experience.”
“This isn’t a job for soldiers and spies. It’s a job for thugs and thieves. Van Eck knows it, and that’s why he brought us in.”
One of the things I enjoyed so much was seeing how they all interacted with each other. No one except Kaz really knew the whole plan at any one time. Sometimes, lying and pitting the team members against each other was the way to get things done.
The way Leigh Bardugo introduces you to each of the characters reminded me of the TV Show LOST. Several people are thrown together, who otherwise wouldn’t be. At first, you really don’t know much about the characters in this book. But through the multiple points-of-view, Leigh Bardugo reveals bits of their pasts, creating characters with full-developed story arcs, characteristics, and motivations. You get to know their strengths, weaknesses, and the secrets they haven’t shared with anyone. As the reader, you learn things about them that no one else knows and you understand them so much more.
You’re probably wondering if there is romance at all in this book. OH MY GOODNESS, YES THERE IS! There is not one, not two, but three romance storylines in this book, one of which had my heart beating frantically in my chest.
“She wouldn’t wish love on anyone. It was the guest you welcomed and then couldn’t be rid of.”
The relationship between Matthias and Nina is tumultuous and built on shaky ground. Nina is a Heartrender Grisha (a Corporalnik Grisha who can stop someone’s heart with the squeeze of her hand) and she has spent the past year trying to right a wrong that brings her tremendous guilt. She betrayed the man she loved. As a result, he’s spent a year in prison suffering because of her lie. And get this, the man she loved is a drüskelle, a Fjerdan Grisha hunter. He wants her dead!
“And what did you do, Matthias? What did you do to me in your dreams?”
The ship listed gently. The lanterns swayed. His eyes were blue fire. “Everything,” he said, as he turned to go. “Everything.”
You have to read the book to find out what happens between them. And let me tell that it is so good!! Do yourself a favor and pick up this book and the Grisha trilogy!
* I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.