In Six of Crows, author Leigh Bardugo returns to the fantastical world she created in the Grisha trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising), although this time we are in another and vastly different part of that world. Described as Ocean’s 11 meets Inglourious Basterds meets The Dirty Dozen, Six of Crows revolves around an impossible heist – a jailbreak from one of the most secure prisons in the world in order to rescue a scientist who may or may not already be dead. The crew is comprised of a ragtag band of misfits and outlaws from all walks of society. The risks are insane, but the payout is astronomical, and everyone has their own reasons for agreeing to it.
Warning: Mild spoilers for Six of Crows.
I was a big fan of the Grisha trilogy, and I’ve been looking forward to Six of Crows ever since I found out about it last year at San Diego Comic-Con. It was one of my must-grab galleys at BookExpo America back in May, and I went through quite an ordeal to get it! I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. Two years after the events of Ruin and Rising and told in alternating points of view from five of the six main characters, Six of Crows is a suspenseful thrill-ride that more than delivers on its hype.
Now comes the hard part. When I really like something, it is difficult for me to adequately articulate why. I am one of those people who can criticize and nitpick something that I didn’t like until the cows come home, but when I like something, I usually end up flailing and going, “OMG IT’S SOOOOO GOOD.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can just enjoy something without launching into a dissertation. However, when you’re supposed to review it, it does present a problem if you can’t get the words out.
I loved Six of Crows, like, a ridiculous amount. It’s one of those books I will obnoxiously insist everyone read, because I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, so someone read it so that we can talk about it! I was giddy the entire time, practically giggling as I poured over chapter after chapter, devouring each new perspective. It’s an amazing adventure, a brilliantly-paced heist novel with intriguing character dynamics and the potential for greatness. There wasn’t a character I didn’t like (my favorite was Inej), nor a perspective that I didn’t find engaging (though the best one is Kaz). Bardugo moved from a first-person narrative to a third-person narrative with multiple points of view seamlessly; each perspective felt different, as though we really had moved into someone else’s head.
The relationships are great – the platonic and the romantic – and each one has a different dynamic. You have a friends-to-lovers pairing, but you also have an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope, and it’s fantastic. My favorite relationship, though, was the one that developed between Jesper and Wylan, because they were adorably awkward with each other. They were also, sadly, the characters I feel like we know the least about – Wylan was the only main character without a POV chapter – but hopefully their relationship gets developed more in the next book.
This is a book where you honestly don’t know what everyone’s fate will be. Unlike novels told in first person, where it’s achingly obvious that the main character survives, the shifting POVs ensure that you genuinely fear for characters’ lives, because it is entirely possible that one or more of them will die. Such a simple thing increases the dramatic tension and brings you to the edge of your seat. Will they survive? Will they escape? WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
Basically with Six of Crows, come for the plot and stay for the characters. It really is a page-turner, full of characters with complex backstories and relationships that are more than just clichés. I honestly can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about this book. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel.
P.S. In case you missed it, earlier this month we interviewed author Leigh Bardugo about the book! Check it out!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is published by Henry Holt & Company and is available September 29 wherever books are sold.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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