– Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Genre: YA FANTASY – Pages: 465 –
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 is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Note: This is me attempting to write a review that isn’t all over the place. Enjoy!
This is the one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. It’s an epic, character-driven novel with a larger-than-life plotline: the classic heist.
Six of Crows greatness lies in its characters: Kaz Brekker, the Bastard of the Barrel; Inej Ghafa, a Suli girl known as the Wraith and Kaz’s right hand; Jesper Fahey, a Zemeni-born who loves guns and gambling; Nina Zenik, a Grisha Heartrender; Matthias Helvar, a convict, Fjerdan, former-druskelle aka Grisha hunter; and Wylan Van Eck, runaway son of a merch, and criminal-in-training.
The story is told from their POV’s. I loved the diversity in this cast. They were all so different, but they all end up together for a heist and it was interesting to see them all interact. Each has a distinct personality and overall way of being. They all show a variety of emotions, beliefs, insecurities, and faults. They are not good, perfect people.—actually, Kaz Brekker is far from it. But you can’t help but understand him after all that we learn of him throughout the story—They are human.
I for one love every single one of the crew so much (even though there are times where I want to smack Kaz’s head or throttle Matthias). I cannot put into words, but I am emotionally attached. And how often can you say that for a book? Not often, maybe ever. Here, it’s true.
And I would like to say that Leigh Bardugo is a genius for creating villains that I can whole-heartedly hate. Each of their attachments to one of the Crows creates tragic backstories and nothing will be more satisfying than to see them go down at their hands.
And that is all for my coherent Six of Crows review. Now onto my thoughts and feelings (organized by character). In 3, 2, 1… (THE REST OF THIS REVIEW INCLUDES SPOILERS! SPOILERS AHEAD)
Kaz Brekker: The guy with the ability to make me cry like no one else and everyone’s favorite businessman—er criminal. What to say about Kaz Brekker… the escape artist with a lot of luck on his side. Revenge is his motivation (the money is just the means to an end. Or, should I say Pekka Rollins end.) – I love the way he talks. His combination of confidence, arrogance, sarcasm, and composure made for some of the best delivery of lines. He has a weird charm to him. – And his magic trick wisdom? Some of my favorite parts! The fact that he had to swallow and regurgitate materials for the heist, repeatedly? That was the most amazing thing I ever read.
Throughout the story, we learn that Kaz isn’t all he’s built himself up to be. He’s really broken inside but he doesn’t let anyone see it. Kaz showing some vulnerability with Inej after the heist is so tragic. He’s created this wall around him that he’s used to survive the Barrell and to survive after Jordie, and him showing that little bit of vulnerability to Inej, saying that he wants her? That took guts. But it isn’t enough and I am internally screaming. Additionally, the first time I read Six of Crows, I didn’t realize how many situations his PTSD was triggered by. Leigh Bardugo really created a character with Kaz and I just hope he heals over time.
Now let’s move on to Kaz’s faults and mistakes because he’s multi-faceted like that. Why do you have to look at Inej at the worst possible moment? I know he knows it but I got to reiterate the fact that was dumb dumb. Also he could be a jerk a lot of the time. But you can’t love someone wholly without acknowledging their faults.
Inej Ghafa: My queen and her Suli proverbs. Even when she’s as light on her feet as a passing phantom, Inej seems to have the inner workings of a rock. Not in a bad way, but in the way that she is never-broken. After everything that she’s gone through since arriving in Ketterdam, Inej still has hope: in her saints, in once again seeing her family in Ravka. That little peace of hope, of optimism, is what makes Inej continue, along with the comfort of her knives. Gaining those strengths allows her to never feel as helpless as she was under Tante Heleen’s rule. And seeing her find her true purpose was inspiring.
If I was in the Grishaverse, I’d be on Inej’s crew sailing the seas. I support her and I can’t wait for her to become the legend that she was meant to be taking down slavers and saving the innocent. I mean, just to breath the same air as her would be an honor. I simply love Inej.
Nina Zenik: I love that she’s a Grisha soldier first and foremost. I know there’s Matthias who is patriotic but it’s to Fjerda so… I don’t care what Zoya says, Nina has the best and biggest personality. There’s this charm that she radiates. Plus she’s a tall girl. I’m sure she’s 5’10” or something. I love.
Nina teasing Matthias every chance she got was hilarious. He could be so incredibly dense and serious sometimes (always). They are two opposites and it’s so cute!
Matthias Helvar: Our model Fjerdan, except not at all. Matthias is a very flawed person. Ok, they’re all flawed people. But I’m singling out Matthias because he is probably the most hard to love.
Brainwashing and manipulating a child into joining your horrible cause by using his family’s deaths as motivation is what an actual demjin would do. Matthias’ final realization that the druskelle was wrong, and his betrayal of Brum was literally one of my favorite scenes. His and Nina’s relationship progression was true enemies-to-lovers. The animosity was strong in these two.
Jesper Fahey: Oh Jesper, my gun-toting friend. The ADHD rep was amazing! I don’t see it often. And he’s also bi! I see you, I see you. Now why didn’t Leigh give you more scenes? He got some time to shine during the heist (ONLY) when he was separated from the rest, but I wanted more. I know the other four had much more extensive backstory told so is that why? He was a total third wheel to Kaz and Inej (and Nina and Inej that one time). He was sidelined way too much, even in his own chapters! My one complaint is that Jesper was basically pushed off the page a lot of the time.
I wonder what’s gonna happen later with him being a Fabrikator, though. Is he going to visit Ravka? I would love that!
Wylan Van Eck: Wylan, the teen that actually acts like an actual teen. Although this is Ketterdam and I see why the rest aren’t your average teen. They’ve gone through hell and back. Jesper can pass as 18-19; Nina and Matthias: early 20s; Kaz is an old-man who runs the greatest gang in Ketterdam and who eliminated Pekka Rollins long ago. Actually, I think Kaz would be 20. He’s a determined young person who knows how to act big. Plus his descriptions mention he ‘looks young’ so I got to stick with that. And Inej, the actual person who seems wise beyond her years, or are those the Suli proverbs? I give her 20, because they have to match up. And oh… this is Wylan’s alotted section?
Ok that is actually how Jesper’s chapters largely went for the most part. Wylan didn’t actually get his own pov. So even more sidelined. He was the newbie but he had many ‘hidden depths’. Examples include singing the Fjerdan national anthem acting as a drunk (impressive distraction), creating a drill out of a diamond, winch, and screw (improvising at its finest), and the kid’s basically an architect. And he has a pov in Crooked Kingdom, so excited for that!
Now for Jan Van Eck: how could you say those things about your own son? And have no hesitations over killing him? I can’t wait until Kaz takes him down.
THE ONLY SHIP THAT MATTERS: Kaz and Inej. But really, the only thing I’d ship Inej with is the seas. Actually what I want more than anything for these two is for them to be happy and to heal. They’ve gone through the worst, traumatic experiences out of everyone and as much as Kaz needs Inej, Inej needs to be free. And Kaz needs to find peace.
Sometimes 1+1 doesn’t equal 2.
Now that concludes my Six of Crows review. If you read this entire review, no you didn’t. Actually thank you if you did, and if you read even some of it thank you, too!
Questions for you: Who’s your favorite character? And what’s your favorite scene from Six of Crows?