Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

How pretty is the cover of this book, in a bleak, gothic sort of way? I actually bought Six of Crows before I read The Grisha trilogy, but it’s another book that got a bit lost in my recent house move. I really need to organise my bookcases. 

From the blurb:

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.

I didn’t realise it until I started reading, but Six of Crows is set in the same fictional world as the Grisha trilogy.  Luckily there is a summary of the different types of Grisha at the beginning of the book, but to be honest keeping the different sorts straight in my head takes a lot of effort, and I’m still never sure I’ve got it right. I personally could have used a more detailed explanation.  Maybe that’s just me. 

There is also a map of the characters’ world at the start of the book. For some reason I could not get my hands on a hardback version of this book, and my pre-order for the sequel Crooked Kingdom is also only available in paperback.  Maybe a hardback of this novel just isn’t available in the UK. It’s a shame, as the cover and diagrams are beautiful, but the paper and cover are not very good quality.  I take really good care of my books and the cover to this book is wrecked already.  Probably not a priority for most people, but if I buy a hardcopy of a novel, rather than the ebook, I want it to look good on my shelves and be able to survive a re-reading. 

The premise of this book is quite unique; it’s a crime novel set in a fantasy universe.

A new drug has come onto the market which affects the Grisha (witches/ sorcerers/ manipulators of the natural elements, depending on the different regional beliefs) by increasing their powers exponentially, and also making them addicted to the substance from the first use. 

The drug is called Jurda Panem; Grisha who can naturally manipulate water, when introduced to the drug, are somehow able to walk through walls, or can hurt people in terrifying ways (for example by draining their blood), without touching them or seeming to care. Can you imagine a drug addict mid-binge being given supernatural powers, having had their ability to think rationally removed? Scary. 

The council of merchants at Ketterdam are worried about the effect this drug will have on their indentured Grisha, and want someone to stop it being produced. 

The scientist responsible for creating Panem is being held by the Fjerdans at the Ice Court. It will require a master criminal to get into the Fjerdans legendary stronghold and out again with their captor. 

Enter Kaz Brekker: orphan, conman, cripple, Dirty Hands (that’s his nickname BTW). Kaz is the leader of the Dregs, a gang who control crime around the harbour at Ketterdam and owner of the Crow Club.  All of the gang members are teenagers.  

Inej was stolen from her family when she was fourteen and sold into prostitution. Kaz bought her contract and turned her into the Wraith – a super stealthy spy/ cat burglar. 

Jesper is a crack shot, but the thing he never misses is the opportunity to waste money at the card tables. 

Wylan is a rich man’s son, with secrets of his own. 

Nina is a Heartrender, a Grisha with the power to save lives or take them, who just wants the chance to put right a terrible wrong.

Matthias was falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit (I know, its redundant to add that bit, but it felt deserving of the drama). He wants nothing but revenge. 

Kaz will need the whole crew to capture the scientist and prevent Panem from being used across the continents, but first they must free Matthias from prison. If they succeed they will earn the biggest payout of their careers. 30million Kruge. 

I really enjoyed this book and the mash up of the 2 genres.  I was a little irritated by the fact that all of the gang were 16-17 years old. Nina and Inej in particular behaved as though they were far older in my opinion. The novel kept referencing the knowledge and expertise the characters had in their specialist areas. I mean, really. Seventeen? I suppose Bardugo was aiming for the age of her target audience, but it did feel a bit silly to me. Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age. You know, compared to someone who is SEVENTEEN.  Moving on…

I liked the way the novel kept twisting, very much in the way of a traditional thriller; it kept you guessing as to whether they could pull off the plan, if the characters loyalties were torn, and if they would turn on their friends right until the end. It’s a big chunky book, almost 500 pages, which seems quite daunting when you start reading, but it’s divided into parts of around 100 pages, so you can split the book into more manageable sections.

I personally can’t wait for the sequel , which is out 27th September 2016.

Six of Crows is available priced £9.99 from Orion Children’s books.  

Let me know what you thought of Six of Crows in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephanie Xxx 

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4 thoughts on “Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

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