Note: This review contains spoilers from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.
Since this book came out I have seen it everywhere, in shops, suggested to me online and when I started my blog, I saw loads of bloggers saying great stuff about it too. That whole time I was determined that I was going to read it ‘at some point’ and, thanks to some free time and encouragement from fellow bloggers, that time finally came around. Thank goodness it did, because I love this book (and by love I mean the second I finished it, I got online and ordered the sequel…I need more of these guys in my life!).
I’ll start by saying that I do not read much fantasy. By fantasy, I mean books set in different worlds (as a general rule of thumb, books with maps at the beginning). In all honesty this might be why Six of Crows kept getting kicked to the bottom of my TBR. As usually happens though, when I finally did read it, I loved everything about it. I think there are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, even though it is a different world there’s no huge exposition dump. I felt dropped right into the action and as the novel went on, and I got more information I felt like I could piece it together, using the map (the beautiful map) at the front of the book. I haven’t read Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series so I’m not sure if I would have known more going into Six of Crows if I had done, but either way I quite enjoyed getting to know the world through the course of the novel.
Secondly, was of course the characters. Oh my goodness, do I love these characters (I’m going to have be really careful that I don’t start gushing here!)
Nina – No lie, Nina has shoved her way onto my favourite characters ever list. I love her to bits. She’s so strong and fierce and even when she’s scared she’s incredibly brave. Nothing more to say…I just love her.
Inej – Another strong female who I absolutely adore (also Nina and Inej’s friendship is gold). She’s independent but still cares deeply her friends and I love how through the course of the novel, she comes to believe in her own self worth. One of my favourite parts of the whole novel, is when Kaz tells Inej that he wants her, but aware that he can’t offer all of himself, she decides that ‘she would not settle for so little, not after all she had been through’ and she tells Kaz “I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.” Inej knows what she deserves and she’s not willing to settle for any less. This scene is also so refreshing because so often, the female in this situation would have blindly accepted anything the male would offer, so to see Inej not settling for less than she wants, needs or deserves is a really nice change and feels really empowering!
Jesper – I’ll say now, find it difficult to articulate what I feel about these characters without it turning into an Ophrah situation where I’m just like ‘I love you! I love you! I love you! I love everybody!’ complete with pointing! Anyway, back to Jesper. Again, he’s a great character, who I loved finding more about as the story went on. The only tiny bone I had to pick with Jesper’s character was when it was revealed that he had feelings for Kaz. It just felt a little cliché. But, it wasn’t dwelled on at all and his growing relationship with Wylan made me forget about it really fast. I though the revelation that he was a Grisha was really clever because I wasn’t expecting it at all. On the subject of Jesper being a Grisha I found the moment where he potentially killed two Grisha really emotional, especially because it seemed to take so much out of him – throughout the novel it’s pointed out that he can’t stop moving and is really fidgety but following the conflict between him and the two Grisha he is still and has to force himself to move.
Wylan – Wylan really sums up why I love the character’s in this novel so much – because each of them has such an ark throughout the novel. As it turns out, Wylan is strong and smart and I like how he find’s his place within the group and in his relationship with Jesper. In terms of character moments, I love when Jesper tells Van Eck that Wylan is ‘smarter than most of us put together, and he deserves a better father than you.’ It really cements the relationship between them that I really enjoyed seeing progress through the novel.
Matthias – I should point out that Matthias is 100% my type. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a strong sense of decency. Literally, that is my type summed up in a sentence. Suffice to say, then, that by the end of the novel, I was completely in love with Matthias. At the beginning I wasn’t so sure, like when he said Nina was too much (how dare you insult Nina in front of me Matthias!) but he comes to his senses by the end of the novel. I will admit, I had a moment of doubt when he appeared in the window of Nina’s cell (my heart literally plummeted!) but by the end of the next chapter my heart was soaring when Jesper turns his back on the druskelle and heads towards Nina, his self proclaimed ‘something more’.
Kaz – Ok, Kaz. Before I start, I just want to say I loved this book and everyone in it (within reason obviously, I did not love Van Eck or Brum…) so this is a minor, minor thing which did not impact my enjoyment of the novel in the slightest but…I expected slightly more or perhaps slightly less from Kaz, especially in terms of Inej. While everyone else is very group oriented towards the end of the novel, which makes them probably my favourite literary crew, Kaz just sticks out with how fixated he is on Inej. This, of course, reaches a head at the end of the novel where Van Eck catches Kaz looking at Inej and therefore targets her. My first issue is that, personally, I just don’t see the Kaz we have come to know throughout the novel being that foolish. Secondly, I feel it does sometimes make him an outsider within the group. I think all of this is highlighted even more by the fact that Inej is not so caught up in Kaz. We know she cares for him but she still manages to have beautiful and meaningful relationships with the rest of the crew, where I sometimes felt that these relationships were lacking with Kaz. There’s obviously a point to be made that this is self inflicted; Kaz doesn’t want to get involved with everyone else and even initially struggles against his feelings towards Inej, but, with the rest of the crew coming together so much at the end, I just find it a little odd and sad for Kaz.
Disregarding the manifestation of his feelings for Inej, though, Kaz was another great character. The slow revelation of his backstory; how he’d lost his brother and why he always wears his leather gloves was fantastic, I found it much more emotional than if all this information had been dropped on me at the beginning of the novel. (On that note, I loved how all of the character’s stories were revealed slowly, bit by bit). He struck me as quite Sherlockian (from the BBC adaption, Sherlock) in the way he figured things out and came up with his plans. And it was nice to see his vulnerability come through, for example when Inej notices him faint in the prison wagon. I really did love elements of his relationship with Inej, I just felt it came at the expense of his relationship with other characters.
Aside from all that, this novel was just really beautiful and enjoyable. There were moments when I squealed with joy, when I opened my mouth in shock, where I had to take a breather because what I was reading was just so good. I can not wait to read the sequel (thankfully it should be arriving tomorrow so I don’t have to wait too long!) and get back into this amazing world with these incredible characters.
Thank you so much for reading, I know this was a long post but I just have so many feels about this book!
As always, happy reading!
We are all someone’s monster – Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows