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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo takes readers to the coastal city of Ketterdam following a rag-tag group of six teenagers with one goal in mind. The goal? Invading the Ice Court, an unbreachable military stronghold in Fjerda, and rescue Bo Yul-Bayur, the inventor of a highly illegal drug that can control the Grisha, traditionally known as witches. 

I think the best way to capture this book is through the six Crows. So, let’s meet the team that will perform this heist. 

“There was no part of him that was no broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken”

First, there’s the sly and mysterious Kaz Brekker or Dirtyhands (or Bastard of the Barrel, or demon, take your pick). At the age of seventeen, he basically runs a gang called the Dregs and is an amazing thief with a reputation for taking any job given the right price. His ensemble consists of black gloves that always cover his hands and his crow-headed cane. He is cunning in ways that are never suspected and he always has a plan for any situation. He is guarded with walls no one can break down. He is the leader of the Crows and a person they can depend on, even if he lies to them in the process. 

“But I’ll die on my feet with a knife in my hand.”

Next, there’s Kaz’s right-hand woman, Inej Ghafa or the Wraith. This sixteen-year-old Suli girl is the lightfooted spy of the group. She can get anywhere without being noticed and uses her short stature and light-footed nature to gather information for Kaz. She is religious and superstitious and depends on her knives named after saints. She is always looking over her shoulder waiting to be taken back to the brothel she was sold into and does not trust easily. 

“If any of you survive, make sure I have an open casket…the world deserves a few more moments with this face.”

Jesper Fahey or the Sharpshooter is the sarcastic, light-hearted, bisexual character that breaks up the tension in the group. He is seventeen like Kaz with a gambling addiction. Put him near a gambling hall, and he’ll lose all of his money before the night is done. His signature items are his pearl-handled twin revolvers. He is most at ease when he is being fired at with his revolvers armed. 

“Nina with her hands free was a deadly thing.”

Nina Zenik is the Grisha of the group. She is a Heartrender which means that she has the ability to manipulate the body of someone who is in their line of sight on the molecular level. She can literally take the breath from your lungs or make your heart skip a beat. She was a former soldier and spy for the Ravkan Second Army which makes her a useful asset to Kaz. She has a complicated past with Matthias Helvar (more on him later) which causes a lot of tension in the group. 

“Trickery is not my native tongue, but I may learn to speak it yet.”

Matthias Helvar is a Grisha hunter or drüskelle from Fjerda. He is actually the first heist the group performs as he is in jail due to that complicated past with Nina. He has feelings for her but struggles with his traditional beliefs and the past they share. The trope of enemies-to-lovers has never looked better. He’s the oldest of the group at eighteen and is described as the tallest and most muscular of the group. He is the way in and out of the Ice Court as he is a Fjerdian and had insider training. 

“Music. Numbers. Equations. They’re not like words. They … they don’t get mixed up”

One of the youngest and the outsider in the group is Wylan Van Eck or the demolition guy. He is sixteen and the son of a prominent merchant who sits on Ketterdam’s Merchant Council. He is disgraced by his father due to his dyslexia hindering his ability to read. His father is abusive which leads to Wylan joining forces with Kaz. He is skilled in math and chemistry which makes him the bomb-maker of the group. He and Jesper don’t initially get along due to his parentage, but their bond grows as the heist goes on. (Don’t mind me chanting “romance”). 

“No mourners. No funerals.”

These six outcasts bond over their abilities in the heist even without revealing anything about their pasts to the other Crows. They are my favorite found-family trope right now with all the wit and drama that teenage criminals can give. This is the first book in a duology and part of Leigh Bardugo’s “Grishaverse” which includes the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the King of Scars duology, and this duology. This world is forever building and always captivating so don’t be dismayed by the length of the books (I promise they are worth it). Leigh Bardugo weaves tales of coming-of-age in ways I’ve never experienced. There is a magic system that is just the right amount of complex and characters that grow with every POV. 

Avery Griffin

Coastal Carolina '23

Avery is a sophomore Marine Science major, with an English minor. She is a queer woman interested in social justice, being unapologetically nerdy, and changing her hair every other month. Her writings mostly consist of book reviews and some digital culture. She loves exploring the beach and general outdoors. She also enjoys reading and iced coffee year-round.
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