No Mourners. No Funerals.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Fantasy | Young adult
Published by Henry Holt & Co
Released September 29, 2015
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Six of Crows is a young adult fantasy heist novel that takes place in the same world as Leigh Bardugo’s previous Grisha Trilogy. Kaz Brekker and his team of five very mismatched people attempt to break into a prison called the Ice Court that no one has ever broken into or escaped from.
The characters in the story are from all over this world and each has a very different past:
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
As their mission progresses, they encounter extreme conditions, violence, betrayal, love, and so much more. These six people have to learn to trust one another in order to survive.
The Six of Crows duology can be read on their own without having read the Grisha Trilogy.
This novel was so much fun to read. I’ll preface this review by saying that this is the first Leigh Bardugo book I’ve read, so I didn’t know anything about the Grisha universe going into it. Thankfully, this novel and its sequel can stand on their own, so it’s not necessary to know anything about her previous trilogy.
The best part of this book for me was the diversity, history, and relationships of the characters themselves. Each character is unique and completely different from anyone else in the story, which serves to make them seem so real. My favorite characters in the book were Inej and Kaz because they are both immensely difficult characters. Kaz closes himself off to everyone but is also just a badass of epic proportions. As the story progresses we learn about the brother he once had and the tragic story of their coming to Ketterdam, the city where most of the story is set. Inej is a talented acrobat that is also a spy known as The Wraith and has a tragic history. I loved the part of the story that delved into the love between Inej’s parents:
“Shall I tell you the secret of true love? her father once asked her. A friend of mine liked to tell me that women love flowers. He had many flirtations, but he never found a wife. Do you know why? Because women may love flowers, but only one woman loves the scent of gardenias in late summer that remind her of her grandmother’s porch. Only one woman loves apple blossoms in a blue cup. Only one woman loves wild geraniums.”
The rest of the characters are just as interesting, however. Matthias is an incredibly complex character who struggles with his upbringing and prejudice as he helps these people that he looks down on. He’s particularly troubled about helping Nina, who he feels betrayed him and is the reason he was thrown in prison. Matthias was raised to hate Grisha and fear their power.
Nina had wronged him, but she’d done it to protect her people. She’d hurt him, but she’d attempted everything in her power to make things right. She’d shown him in a thousand ways that she was honorable and strong and generous and very human, maybe more vividly human than anyone he’d ever known. And if she was, then Grisha weren’t inherently evil. They were like anyone else – full of the potential to do great good, and also great harm.
The novel is told from the perspectives of five of the six characters, allowing us to understand their innermost thoughts and their own perspective on the difficult journey they’ve undertaken together. I wish we had gotten Wylan’s perspective at least a tiny bit, and I’m hoping that when I read the sequel I’ll see that there.
I’m definitely going to be reading Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy soon because I want to know more about the Grisha themselves and the different powers they have. I especially want to see more of the Etherealki, those that can control water and weather.
I literally could not put this book down. I work in a call center, and I kept the book open in front of me on my desk so that in the seconds between calls I could read another sentence or two. It was a roller-coaster ride that didn’t stop surprising me with its twists and turns. I cannot wait to read the sequel, Crooked Kingdom!
Have you read Six of Crows? What were your thoughts on it? Leave your comments below.