Six of Crows

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Released: 09.29.15 Review by | September 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM
8

“We’ve managed to get ourselves locked into the most secure prison in the world. We’re either geniuses or the dumbest sons of bitches to ever breathe air.”

Basically: Master thief and unofficial leader of a notorious street gang Kaz Brekker has a thirst for revenge. He assembles a team of six teens of unique talent from the streets of his city to attempt an impossible heist.

If you want a story with danger and wit, street gangs and spies, magic powers, a lot of fighting, a little friendship, and just a touch of romance, Six of Crows has it all. Set in the same world as author Leigh Bardugo’s previous series The Grisha Trilogy, the novel dives into the grimy streets of the bustling trade town Ketterdam, where criminals are made and anything can be bought for a price.

Kaz Brekker is a thief. He creates a team comprised of his right hand Inej, a spy. The sharpshooter, Jesper. Matthias the soldier. The fresh-faced demolition kid, Wylan, and Nina, a Grisha heartrender with the ability to heal or kill by touch. Six teenagers make the team that will risk their lives by breaking a dangerous scientist out of an impenetrable fortress called the Ice Court. Told in multiple perspectives, the story balances the fast pace of a high-stakes prison break and the intricate backstories of each character. Bardugo will impress you with her extremely visual writing–the grit and dinge of Ketterdam and the cold, labyrinthine Ice Court come to life alongside her vibrant portrayals of the crew and their relationships, both as friends and enemies.

The novel starts slow and nearly verges on an all-out character study. Though Bardugo does an excellent job of teasing out her characters’ pasts and moving the story along, it’s not until Part Five (of six parts) when we reach the height of the heist that the story really picks up. It’s also perhaps a little trite that our story’s hardened main character Kaz has an insatiable thirst for revenge and a mysterious and tragic past, but he earns his keep in the book by being a master thief and fighting to keep his friends alive. Still, despite every other character meeting some internal change over the course of the story, I found myself wondering if Kaz ever would.

The conclusion of the novel is maddening because it’s clear the story isn’t finished. Kaz and his friends have more work to do in an upcoming sequel, slated for release next fall (the suspense!). Maybe it’s here that we’ll see the infamous Kaz Brekker shed his gruff exterior for once. Or maybe Kaz isn’t ever meant to change. Either way, it’s going to be a long year before we get to find out what happens next.

In the end: Read it! The thrill of a dangerous heist meets six complex characters we’d kill to call our friends. Jump into this vivid fantasy world and answer the crows’ call: No mourners, no funerals!