“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”
Synopsis: When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered riches beyond his dreams, in reward for pulling off a dangerous heist, he knows he can’t do it alone, and doesn’t hesitate to form an unlikely crew.
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.
The Heist is not only a matter of politics and riches though, and Kaz’s crew’s success may hold far more at stake than money and wealth.
First of all, I have to say, I was really conflicted with this book. It took me a long time to decide on the 4 star rating, and even now I feel that is subject to constant change.
First of all, I’ve got to talk about the characters, because they were completely and certainly what made this book. I like books with a large cast of characters, but sometimes it can mean that no character gets enough attention, and sometimes it gets confusing. Not with Six of Crows! Leigh Bardugo has a brilliant way of giving each character enough space in the book to get to know them, to feel a connection to them, but to still want to know more. And even though the characters get a fairly even word count, one character in particular remains, in my opinion, the focal point of this story: Kaz Brekker.
Kaz really carries this story through. He is what clearly connects these characters together, and despite the many dislikable things about him, you just can’t help feeling at least a little love towards him. It feels like Six of Crows is Kaz’s story, even if he doesn’t necessarily take up most of the word count.
But while characterisation was on the whole good, in terms of plot I really wasn’t feeling it. The characters’ back-stories were brilliant, and I loved learning about each of their pasts, and it made them more vivid characters in my mind. But the present-tense plot just felt… lacking. It felt so predictable. It didn’t really have many plot-twists, and there weren’t any WOW or I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! moments. But that might have something to do with the heist-focus of this story. Like The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, I went into this book thinking ‘ooh heists, I like heists’, and came out of it realising, ‘actually, heists aren’t really that exciting’. Both of these books I liked for the characters and not for the plot, so I think there’s a lesson here: heist stories may just not be for me!
In terms of the world, I also felt a little underwhelmed. As a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, I am very much in love with the Grisha world, especially Ravka. And while it was nice to see another part of the world that wasn’t covered in those books, these new settings just didn’t draw me in like Ravka. The world was a large part of what I loved about Leigh Bardugo’s other books, and I was expecting just as much this time. My problem was probably in thinking of this book as a direct companion to the Grisha trilogy. It isn’t! It is a completely separate thing, with no need to have read her other books to follow this one. But I guess it is natural to compare them, when they are set in the same fantastical universe.
But the thing Leigh Bardugo’s books all do share is her gorgeous writing. She writes descriptions so beautifully, and her dialogue is always really gripping and realistic. She writes in a way that makes you believe a fantasy is real. Which, lets be honest, is why lots of us read fantasy in the first place!
So overall I had very mixed opinions on this book. It was a bit of a disappointment, given my love of the Grisha trilogy and the high praise that this one was even better. But I loved the characters, and will definitely still carry on with the next book. I still have high hopes that the sequel will be more enjoyable, and after the ending of this one, I am still intrigued to see where the story will go next.