“No Mourners. No Funerals.”
Synopsis: 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
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
YES my dear and darling BookNerds I FINALLY READ Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, *applause* and YES I should have read it sooner! I adored this book and its characters, I adored the inclusivity, and I adored the prose. I (roughly) knew the story but went in as blind as possible and I was delighted at how much I didn’t know – I was also not aware of the diversity of the characters and was thrilled to find out the book featured a disabled mc (especially as the use of a cane was modeled on the author’s own experience!)
Six Of Crows has a brilliant, easy to read prose that flows perfectly and is incredibly well paced. The cast of characters are all older teenagers and Bardugo perfectly manages to capture this and weave it into a much darker more complex plot. She manages to strike the perfect balance between the complexity and intelligence behind the heists, the dark and gritty nature of this traumatic world, and the vulnerability and humour of the teenage cast. Despite the first part of the book being devoted primarily to character building, it doesn’t feel slow or dull, instead you feel invested in each character and their stories.
The multiple POV is very effective in this book, especially with each character having their own proficiences, talents, views and beliefs. We see their view on each other and on the heists, perfectly keeping you in suspense as Kaz only reveals certain elements at certain times. The multiple pov makes the relationships and motives all the more believable by subtly fleshing out the characters and their ties, it works wonderfully to capture the true madness but desire for this heist to succeed as well as the genuine growing feelings of loyalty between the six outcasts.
The actual plot is fantastic. The main part of the story is the heist and it was absolutely chaotic and delightful and I LOVED IT. I am a sucker for heists and this one was perfect. Kaz, our mc, is the mastermind behind the heist and he recruits the specialists he requires; Inej – his Wraith and spymaster, Jesper – his sharpshooter, Nina – the heartrender, Wylan – the demolition ‘expert’, and Matthias – the inside man. The planning behind the heist is limited in terms of what we get to see because Kaz is paranoid (though rightly so), so as the heist plays out we get surprises and shocks along the way. I loved every second of the heist from them sneaking into the Ice Court, to the chaos that ensues, to the absolute crazy escape – every detail, every twist and turn is perfect and shocking.
While the heist is absolutely amazing, the story is so much more than that. Around the heist we get breakouts, betrayals, and verbal sparring wars that are just as captivating. Alongside all the action we also get the character’s backstories, which will lure you in and tear your heart out. The backstories are woven in perfectly alongside the action packed plot and serves to create a deeper connection to and understanding of the each character.
Everything about the plot is brilliant, it builds up multi-dimensional, flawed but easy to love characters, is full of action and wit and takes you on a wild ride full of twists and turns that will shock and surprise you.
The world this is set in is delightfully rich, but subtly built. The magic is cleverly woven in to the plot and we learn about it naturally with its different uses, there are no infodumps, we learn through charcater interactions- which is the best! From Fabrikators to Heartrenders, each Grisha has their own specialties which can branch out into many different manifestations. The Grisha themselves are powerful and yet are indentured to the rich, traded or hunted by the different countries. There is a rich history behind the Grisha’s and we learn a lot about the wars that occured, but again it is incorporated well without overwhelming detail. I intend to also read the Shadow and Bone series at some point because I really love the Grishaverse so far (EDIT: I have now read this series and am even more in love with this world)! The criminal underworld is prominent in this world and is brutal but it is also complex and has its own system of gangs, domains and disputes. All of this came together to create a brilliantly defined world, full of magic and wonder but also a gritty and harsh world that leaves its mark on you.
“We are all someone’s monster.”
The characters, as I have said, are brilliantly crafted. They are flawed, have a lot of depth to them and are incredibly easy to relate too with the cast being inclusive including LGBT+, POC, and disabled characters.
Kaz is the mastermind nicknamed ‘Dirthands’ and ‘bastard of the barrel’ – the boy who will do anything, any job. Kaz is our disabled mc, he uses a cane to walk around and has a pronounced limp… I do love that the cane is also a weapon (particularly because it is then seen as threatening and not a symbol of sympathy – I loved it! He turns his weaknesses in to strengths without taking anything away from it.). He is a genius, his plots are complex and he always has back up plans, and back up plans for those backups. His wit, humour and sarcasm are delightful, and he has a vicious streak when those he cares about are hurt, but at his heart he is a teenage boy dealing with trauma. I loved Kaz, his character is compelling from start to finish.
Inej. The Wraith and spy master. I loved Inej, our tiny Suli terror. Inej has her own harsh backstory that we learn about and she too is complex. Despite being excellent with her knives she has much more sympathy for her enemies than Kaz and is a pillar of self control. Silent and deadly but sweet and loyal, Inej is a strong character who, despite being the Wraith, does not fade into the background. Clever in her own right, Inej knows the values of secrets and has a strong streak of determination, but also has a quick wit and sharp mouth. I loved Inej’s character and she is one that is easy to relate to.
Jesper. The sharpshooter, gambling addict, and chaotic bouncy boy who has far too much energy than he can spend. Jesper is hilarious, his humour is perfect and his love of weaponry is amusing. Jesper is a kid at heart, but made mistakes along the way that gives him his backstory. He is much more emotional than some of the other crew members and loves to tease and flirt. But, he is just as deadly and dangerous as the others. There is something that draws you to Jesper and his character is delightful.
Nina. I adored Nina. She is funny, confident, strong willed and sassy, but she feels things deeply, is loyal and will right her wrongs. Nina, our crew’s Grisha, has used her skills to survive the harsh life in this world, and she is not to be messed with. Matched in wit and humour, Nina is a force to be reckoned with. But her wounds also run deep and her character is as complex as the others.
Wylan. Our sweet merchling who is way out of his depth. Wylan is the crews cinnamon roll, though he had a more privileged life than the others he has his own wounds that lead him here. Sweet and a little lost, he is the demo expert, who gives his all and will put himself at risk to help out the other members. A little more shy than the others and easy to tease, he can give as good as he gets when he becomes comfortable around the crew. I loved Wylan he is such a sweet character, his dad on the other hand is a jerk who doesn’t deserve him.
Matthias. Matthias is a complex character who spends about 75 % of the journey hating the crew and planning their demise/failure/serious bodily harm. But alas, we love him anyway because this giant idiot slowly warms to the crew and his background of essentially brainwashing explains his cruelty and he is trying to correct it. Matthias is very righteous, patriotic and has a clear good/bad sense. But, everytime he joins in with the crew you can see the heart behind the soldier exterior and you grow to love him.
Overall this book is just brilliant. The plot and story is amazing, the world and magic is intriguing, the characters are complex and easy to love and the prose is easy to read. Every element of this story is enjoyable and I can see why it is so popular and widely loved, and I can see why the characters are loved as much as they are. It is truly a fantastic book.