Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary:Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
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.
Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
It's no secret that I'm a sucker for stories about cons and heists. My favorite books include The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Final Empire after all! I really enjoy the moral ambiguity that comes with rooting for a bunch of roguish but usually good-at-heart characters to do something insane and most likely illegal. I also love seeing how the thieves manage to outwit and out-maneuver the system, always trying to be one step ahead even when everything starts to fall apart. And my favorite thing about these kinds of stories is the characters. They're always an eclectic bunch with their own motivations and weaknesses, and seeing how they learn to work together (or not) is always fun.
Six of Crows has everything I love about heist novels, with the added bonus of being set in a fantasy world. I've only read the first Grisha book and I wasn't that impressed, so I'm not that familiar with Ravka and the details of the world, but whatever I saw here was great. Six of Crows begins with the discovery of a new drug that can enhance Grisha powers to extraordinary and frightening levels. This sort of thing can easily become a terrible weapon in the wrong hands, and so our unlikely group of heroes is hired to find the guy who came up with the formula and make sure the drug isn't employed by the enemy.
I absolutely loved all the characters, especially Kaz. Kaz is a very broken soul, dealing with PTSD and a limp but never letting either of them ruin his image of being a cold, cunning force to be reckoned with. His traumatic past has made him shut out other people from his life, and he has a hard time acknowledging his own feelings and emotions. As you learn more and more about his past and what has made him the way he is, your heart breaks over and over again. I also loved Inej, who has her own nasty can of worms from her past to deal with. Unlike Kaz, though, Inej hasn't lost her warmth and her confidence. She's fierce and intelligent, and she's not about to go down without a fight. Wylan was adorable! His past is not nearly as troubled as any of the other crew members, and he is in way over his head with this crew but it's so great to see him grow up and find his calling as the journey goes on. Jesper was great, I loved his witty banter with Wylan and how he didn't let certain aspects of his life define him. I liked but didn't love Nina and Mattias, probably because I found their baggage annoying and I just wanted them both to stop pretending to hate each other.
One of the greatest parts of this book is that all the characters are given equal weight and space to grow. I grew to love all of them and I loved seeing how they changed from a bunch of individuals forced to work together into an actual crew. I also really liked that you don't know any one of their motivations and allegiances until the very end. You never know when someone is bluffing, betraying, or saving someone else! I also liked that things don't end neatly. There is a lot of collateral damage and just when you think everything is going to be fine, a new challenge presents itself.
I really enjoyed this book, and I'm looking forward to book 2! Thank goodness I don't have to wait too long :)