REVIEW: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
This book was great. Because of all the hype surrounding it, I expected it to be even better, but it was still great.
There are so many wonderful things about this book. It is set in the world of the Grisha trilogy, which I have not yet read. (I'm a little concerned this will have spoiled those books, but at least it shows you can read Six of Crows first and still understand and like it.)
It features a highly diverse cast (multiple queer characters and characters of colour) with equally diverse motives, backgrounds and desires on an impossible heist that will make them rich, if they can pull it off.
The heist bears some resemblance to Ocean's Eleven. A high security place where no one has ever gotten in yet, extremely complicated plans and a ton of plot twists.
The characters, however, are the best. The story is told in third person from each of their perspectives alternatingly. This means you get more insight in a particular character, but don't get to know everything, and thus the book retains its element of surprise.
We have Kaz, the leader, an intelligent criminal with a secret past and a lot of tricks up his sleeve. His right-hand Inej, the spy who knows everyone's secrets and is a total badass. Jesper and Wyland, who both apart and together take care of the humour in the book, and I love their dynamic. Speaking of dynamics; Nina and Matthias, the witch and the hunter caught up in a complex dance of upbringing, loyalty, prejudice, history, hurt and desire.
Everyone is wonderfully complex and different. Nothing is black and white, no one has a clean past and everyone has made mistakes and ended up living with shadows. There is a lot of development, for the characters themselves, their relationships and our understanding of everything.
It is a book that doesn't shy away from the harshness in life. There are a lot of troubles, both within the characters and in their worlds. And yet, it does not feel depressing. There is humour to break it up, and the constant amazement at the impossibility of surviving this heist. Tons of twists and turns leave you on the edge of your seat, and even when you thought you saw it coming, there is still another one you completely missed.
Romance is woven within the pages of this book, but is never the main element or plot line. It is showed as it is: complicated, hard work, growing, something to keep you going, and, sometimes, not enough.
This is an amazing, strong story and I'm curious where they will take it in the next book.
(Also, the book is utterly gorgeous. The jacket, the hardcover underneath it, the typography, the black pages and the illustrations, wow.)
See my review for the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, here.