I came in to Six of Crows with high hopes and high expectations. It’s a heist story, described as a YA “Ocean’s 11,” both things which I love. It was one of the most hyped books at BEA this year and everyone I know has loved it. And the author, of course, is Leigh Bardugo, known for her popular Grisha trilogy. Now (please) don’t hate me, but I’d never read anything by her before. Still, when I had the chance to read an advance copy of Six of Crows, which can be read as a standalone novel, I knew I had to dive in.
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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Bardugo hasn’t just told a story in Six of Crows. She has woven a masterpiece. The story starts a little bit slowly, but it’s carefully and deliberately constructed. We’re introduced to Kaz and the members of his crew and begin to learn the layout of Ketterdam. Once the foundation has been set, she starts to work in the details. This is when we learn what the heist is going to be and what is at stake: a drug that dangerously affects Grisha power has been invented and the inventor is being kept imprisoned by another government. Kaz and his crew are being hired to break him out, which is supposed to save both Grishas from this dangerous drug and the world from an economic collapse. By the time you get to the middle, Leigh Bardugo has pulled out all the stops. Six of Crows is a dense book, and I mean that as a compliment. There is so much information fit into these 480 pages, and it’s all relevant.
Six Of Crows has layers upon layers of incredibly detailed storylines. For the most part, there are five main points of view that we see the story from: Kaz, Nina, Inej, Jesper, and Matthias. Other points of view are thrown in here and there when it’s necessary, and somehow, every single explanation or detail you need comes up as the story progresses. So many questions are answered but in such subtle ways, blended in through flashbacks and explorations of the past. It’s incredible how intertwined every single piece of the story is and how it all works out so well. The switching of POV is very easy to understand and never got confusing for me. Every single piece of the plot fits in perfectly, and the world building itself is flawless. Besides the heart-pounding suspense I experienced, I was in awe the entire time I was reading. The characters all have very distinct identities and their complicated relationships with each other and Kaz add yet another dimension to the story. These aren’t good people and yet somehow, Bardugo has us rooting for them the entire time, even though they’re technically criminals.
I get it. I get the hype. It is truly so deserved. Heist stories are hard, and Six of Crows is one of the best I’ve ever read. I recommend this book to basically anyone, especially if you love heist stories or anything fantasy. It’s fun, exciting, intriguing and keeps you on your toes from cover to cover. And even though Six of Crows may have spoiled some things, I’ll be picking up the Grisha trilogy as soon as possible.