Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a book that follows six very different characters who have somehow ended up in the most unlikely of situations together.
A thief of secrets who no one can hear coming.
A gambler with a love of guns.
A cast aside son with a knack for the flute.
A soldier turned convict.
A clever but lost Grisha.
And a brilliant escape artist seeking vengeance.
These are outcasts turned criminals but who is not a criminal in the Barrel? They take on a heist no one else would dare to attempt let alone come back from. However, Kaz has the right crew and they are ready for anything.
Overall Rating: 10/10!
I loved this book from the start, as I was immediately invested in the diverse characters and fast-paced plot of this book kept me wanting to read more. The author, Leigh Bardugo, is an amazing writer and created an intriguing world that easily pulls you in. I am currently reading Crooked Kingdom, and after that, I will be reading the rest of the books in the Grishaverse where these books live. If that does not tell you how good this is, I don’t know what will.
Plot and World Building:
As I said before this is a fast-paced book, which I love. We get thrown right into this world, and though at first, you might not understand some of the terminologies, you will soon catch on.
In Six of Crows, Bardugo introduces this new country of Ketterdam to the Grishaverse. Never having read anything by Bardugo before, I did not have prior knowledge of the Grishaverse or that Ketterdam was not previously discussed. It is not as confusing as it seems.
Bardugo developed the Grishaverse based on its most powerful beings, the Grisha, a master of small science. They bend the world to their will. In other words, they are “witches.” The world is engaging and exciting as we go on the heist with these six incredible characters. Bardugo always keeps us on our toes, but it never feels like it is over the top or out of the ordinary for any of the characters.
The beautiful thing about reading Six of Crows without reading the other books in the Grishaverse is that it feels like these characters have such a rich history connected to their countries and cultures. Even better, you can read all about them in the other Grishaverse books.
The BEAUTIFUL Characters and their Dynamics:
I never got attached to characters so quickly in my life. That does not even touch on the diversity among the chapters as well. I think there is a character for everyone to feel represented by even though there are only six characters as part of this main group. I do not mean this only in the terms that, yeah, not all the chapters are white, but also in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, strong female leads, and disability representation.
The ringleader, the man, the myth, the legend. I fell in love with Kaz in the very first few sentences of his first chapter mostly because I already started loving him in Inej’s first chapter. In the streets of Ketterdam, he is known as Dirtyhands because there is no job he will not do. He is the monster hiding under your bed come to light but there is no way you cannot love him. He has no moral compass but is somehow on a mission to save the world? He does not care about that, though; he just cares about the four million krudge he is about to get. Genuinely, I think Kaz is a genius and though he comes off as a sociopath, we know he has a soft spot for his friends. Mostly Inej but we will get into that later.
The Wraith herself. Inej is Kaz’s spider. She steals secrets for him, and no one will ever see her coming. This Suli girl with an unfortunate past somehow remains morally intact while having to do the killing and bidding of Mr. Kaz Brekker himself. She is resilient, cunning, and loyal. She is the only one who Kaz truly trusts and even keeps some of his secrets. Inej is the glue that holds everything together and the chapter I can personally relate to the most.
Although he has a severe gambling problem and a borderline unhealthy obsession with guns and shooting them, I think Jesper is the most lovable chapter and by far the funniest. Without Jesper, this book would not be the same. The Zemeni born sharpshooter brings his wit to liven up every moment. I cannot explain the love I have for him.
Wylan Van Eck
Here we have the most unlikely addition to this gang: Wylan Van Eck. When we first meet Wylan, he is quiet, shy, and unsure of himself. I like to think by the end of the book, he is the complete opposite, though still a horrible crime and forever will be; he’s too moral. I loved him from the first moment Jesper made fun of him for playing the flute. Wylan is one of the most intelligent chapters though not in a street smarts kind of way. Wylan comes from a privileged background but is just as lost as the others.
I am going to be honest; I hated Matthias for most of this book. However, after a few flashbacks and 80% of the book, I grew to like him. He is a very proud character and lives to serve his country, though that was taken away from him. I think that is what makes him most angry throughout the novel. Matthias isn’t instantly lovable, but if you like morally righteous characters, Matthias is your guy. He is inherently good, even though he was taught evil things by his country. He is also pretty funny in his way.
Loud, powerful, and proud; Nina is badass. The Ravkan is selfless and will always put her friends and country first. She loves her people and will do anything to protect them, even go on this impossible heist. She owns her sexuality and body and is such an inspirational character. She is clever, loving, and such a good friend despite everything. Nina is a Heartrender, a powerful Grisha who can control another person’s body for better or worse.
Wylan and Jesper:
These characters are the most dynamic duo of dynamic duos. I want a whole book just dedicated to them. I want them to fall in love with each other and live happily ever after but in Ketterdam that seems very unlikely. Wylan and Jesper's moments make me want to cry every time. SPOILER ALERT! Here are some quotes that made me emotionally combust.
“Close your eyes!”
“You can’t kiss me from down there, Wylan.”
“If only you could talk to girls in equations.”
There was a long silence, and then, eyes trained on the notch they’d created in the link, Wylan said, “Just girls?”
Jesper restrained a grin. “No. Not just girls.”
“Why does that matter?”
“I don’t know!” Jesper said angrily. “Maybe I liked your stupid face.”
Honestly, I might just be reading Crooked Kingdom for Wylan and Jesper.
Inej and Kaz:
Long story short, Inej makes Kaz a better person and Kaz makes Inej a worse person, but you still have got to love them together. Inej is the only person Kaz trusts and cares about. Inej is his weak spot, but he cannot break down all his barriers for her, and because of that, he will lose her. Kaz saved Inej, and ever since then, Inej saves him. I do not know how it will end, but I cannot see it ending well? However, there is something about the two of them that makes you want to root for them. Here’s an Inej quote to fuel the fire for you all: “I will have you without your armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”
Nina and Matthias:
If you like the enemies to lover trope, this is for you. Though we get plenty of flashbacks of them becoming closer, I wish at the end there was a bigger moment for them, but hey, that is why there is a second book, I guess. Their story has lots of twists and turns, and even now, I am still not sure who was in the wrong or right, but I think they’re just two kids who have been used by their countries and on that they can see eye to eye. They do not have quotes I can put down; they have entire moments, both good and bad, all of which make us want to cry. They are not inherently sad but I think it is because they are the most suited for each other in an odd way. Matthias just wanted to take care of Nina, but Nina is more powerful than Matthias will ever be, and that makes me emotional.
This book made me feel so many things within a short period. It is hard to not love and one of those books that you read, think it is good, but then forget all about it. Leigh Bardugo made a forever fan out of me. I cannot imagine not thinking about this book and I am excited to learn more about the Grishaverse after I am done with Crooked Kingdom and start reading the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I hope you all decide to read it too!