Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

“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.”

If I put Six of Crows on a set of scales, the positives would just about outweigh the negatives, something that wouldn’t have happened the first time attempting to read it, considering I only managed a few chapters, once again defeated by a slump. However, those negatives can be based on my own merits than those within the books.

Kaz Brekker, criminal prodigy, has been offered a job worth a fortune, but receiving it means pulling off a heist. Break into the Ice Court, retrieve a hostage, and survive the escape. With six outcasts desperate enough to attempt this suicide mission, they might just be unstoppable.

I must say that, even the second time round, the universe is undeniably substantial, including a map at the beginning which lays out several areas. Upon seeing it, a slight sense of dread came over me, thinking I’d have to memorise all these places and lands and names for the duration of the book – which in some instances, I did have to flick back-and-forth for a quick reminder – but overall, it wasn’t a huge problem, if at all. Everything else, such as the six characters, the execution of an intricate plot, and the building of solid relationships, were the most significant things of this book, so remembering details like titles and places were the least of my concerns. I’d have thought of the same when it came to the chapters, but despite their above average length, that wasn’t an issue either.

Each character (Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan) had romantic attachments to each other, as well as a close-knit companionship as a crew, but again — what started off as a feeling of worry at the thought of romance, was dismissed come the end of the book. Only one of the pairs became official, and even then it was not explicit, shown in snapshots of affection; the others remained subtle and teasing, the underlying implication that it could quite possibly become canon, stolen moments of almost’s and shameless flirting, which whatever their form, warmed my cold and empty soul. (Of course I’m kididing. My soul is only full of Doritos.)

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

And, one of those almost pairs was Jesper and Wylan/Kuwei. You’ll have to read the book to know what I mean. Their sexualities are natural, the normal part of life, joking with each other when they talk about boys and never once becoming the centre of attention, as it wouldn’t happen with straight couples. It isn’t groundbreaking, I’m sure, but it’s the first I’ve seen in a book. While stories that do deal with coming out, or the discrimination towards LGBT people, is still necessary, the focus on these characters is on the job they’re about to do, the raw emotions they experience, and the danger of adventure, and that is something that should be included more. That again, I’m sure, is the case, and that I should go out and find them.

Aside from the romance, or romantic implications, as individuals they’re distinctive and relatable, each with interesting backstories — including why Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands, wears leather gloves and doesn’t like to be touched; or how Matthias and Nina came to know each other, once despising each other because of prejudice, and how that changed. It’s things like this that I hope will carry onto the next book (which I’ve ordered already, of course), delving deeper into the other characters lives, such as Jesper and Wylan’s; one thing they have in common is their relationships to their father’s, and since it has me thinking about how those dynamics work, is a good sign about what kind of book this is.

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”

Plot-wise, like the world-building, is vast, somewhat a lot to absorb, but again I’d say it is much more character-driven. In short, a group of six talented and gifted people are hired to break out a prisoner from the Ice Court. As I could understand that much, the rest didn’t need to be concrete in my mind. It’s more based on my own merits because I have a terrible, god-awful memory, and trying to remember all the information would’ve sent my brain into meltdown.

I’m glad it didn’t as now I can read the second book, Crooked Kingdom, as soon as possible. And I can tell other people to do the same.

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8 thoughts on “Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. Alex Sarll says:

    Great review, made me want to read the book and also to get back into reading and writing again.. I’m half way through a fantasy novel, but haven’t been working on it for a few weeks- thanks for a cool breeze of inspiration!!

    • Kat says:

      Glad I could help! It certainly has helped with my own writing. I’m yet to read the sequel, but I’m quite certain it will have the same result.

  2. Zoe says:

    I completely agree! This is such a amazing book and I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂 The characters, plot, and romance are all absolutely flawless. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

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