Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: September 29th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy – Young Adult
Six of Crows is the first book in the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. It takes place in the same fantasy world as Leigh’s other books, The Grisha Trilogy. It follows Kaz Brekker, a well known thief/mastermind, who is propositioned to take on this deadly and impossible heist. If he can pull it off he will be handsomely rewarded. He assembles a crew of misfits and they get to work. If that’s got you interested, I recommend checking out the full synopsis here, because it does a better job at describing everything than me.
Okay so I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Originally, I picked this book up because I was on the hunt for a heist novel. I love reading about thieves and impossible heists. It then moved up high on my TBR list because of all of the hype surrounding it. I saw a lot of people on BookTube talking about the duology and it’s gotten so many rave reviews. Needless to say I was extremely excited to read it and had built up some pretty high expectations. For the most part the book delivered, but I was let down by a few aspects.
First things first, I absolutely LOVED the characters. This book features an ensemble cast of six diverse characters that are so well developed. They each come from different backgrounds, have their own personality, and feel like real people. I really like that the characters are sort of morally ambiguous and found them super interesting. The story is told in third person but each chapter focuses on one character’s perspective. It switches from chapter to chapter. Hopefully that made sense. This format not only allows us to see the action from different points of view but it also allows for so much character development. By the end of it you feel like you really know each character.
Jesper was easily my favorite character because of his humor. However, I also loved the two female members of the our team. Nina and Inej are so strong female, but also loved the compassionate sides to their characters. Also, I was a big fan of their friendship and loved that Leigh showcased it! Female friendship does not always get a lot of love in YA because usually it’s all about the guy. In general, Leigh does a great job at showing not only romantic relationships but platonic ones as well.
In terms of characters, the only thing I was a little disappointed by was the fact that all of Kaz’s crew gets POV chapters except for one (Wylan). After getting so much background and information on the other five characters, I missed not hearing more on his. While we do eventually learn more about his past, I felt he deserved at least one chapter in his perspective. I get that he’s not as important as the other five and that balancing all of these characters is hard, but still!
Another thing that I loved was Leigh’s writing style. Even though there is a lot of dark themes and elements in Six of Crows, there is also a lot of comedy. One thing I absolutely loved was the zingers, and one liners. The comedic timing was always spot on and had me actually laughing out loud as I was reading. Leigh’s humor is excellent and further brings you into the story. She is also an expert and developing her characters. Each definitely has their own voice and it is reflected in the POV chapters. What I didn’t love so much was the overall structure of the book’s plot.
As I said previously, I picked up this book specifically because it was a heist novel. However, as I got half way through the book I was not loving it as much as I thought I would. After finishing it I came to the conclusion that I did not like the way she structured the heist.
Yes, we had our team, our leader, our impossible task, our motivation (which we get in detail from most of our team), and our plan. The middle dragged and completely sucked out all of the tension that was previously built. This is the type of heist novel where the plan is laid out and then things start going wrong. However, the amount of time that passes between when the plan is laid out and things start going wrong was too long. It felt book ended in a way because the first and last third were excellent. I get that Leigh was trying to use the middle to develop our characters and the political intrigue with flashbacks, but it just did not work for me. Once you make it past the middle the story picks up, the heist is cool, and the ending is crazy! I was disappointed because I was expecting an excellent heist story line all the way around.
I wanted a heist novel and I got a story about a well developed team of characters trying to get rich and work through the politics of this world. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed reading it but it did not deliver the epic heist story I wanted. That being said I absolutely loved each of the characters and am excited to see what happens next. I have a feeling I will end up liking the sequel more just because I am going in with fewer expectations. If you like character driven stories, I definitely recommend giving this one a go.