Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows book 1)
I. Loved. This. Book. I really went into it thinking it would show a different perspective from where the Grisha trilogy left off – a darker tone of writing, life in Ravka, etc. – but Six of Crows was completely different. It’s a combination of impossible heists, curious backstories, surprises upon surprises, and just a touch of magic. There are so many subtle details and connections that if you’re not paying attention or have developed your own plot theories, you’ll be surprised. Hats off to you, Leigh Bardugo – this was a great story!
The ragtag Dregs crew was written so well! Each character had their own distinct history, their own set of necessary skills. Honestly I was surprised that there wasn’t more tension in the group, but it was clearly implied that this was also not the first job they had done together. Also, having different narrators throughout the journey was a great way to see into the inner workings of each character. (I loved reading Kaz’s scheming – “scheming face?” – and desire for revenge, but Inej’s steadfast belief in herself was so beautiful and made her such a likeable character.) They each had a distinct insight into the plan, small and inaccurate as it sometimes was, that each narrator shift was exciting to read and refreshing. Believe me, I’ve read some books where the narrator changes and I groaned, “Do I really have to suffer through his/her chapter?” That didn’t happen here.
Another great piece of this was that no one was ever fully informed. There were so many moving pieces that involved a few while excluding others. And each time someone gained insight or there was a revelation, it really did come as a great surprise. The fact that the reader doesn’t know all the elements in play created suspense and kept me flipping pages madly waiting for the grand reveal.
My quick reactions to the characters: Kaz – the sneaky, devious, Dirtyhands; I loved that through all his toughness you could really see the serious chinks in his armor while he hid them to try to maintain his leadership position. Jesper – the gambling sharpshooter with a twist; I think he might have been one of the more complex characters because he had so many little quirks that slowly came out over the story. Inej – the Wraith; from the Suli proverbs to her determination, I loved every piece of her character. She was sweet even with her haunted past, and somehow that made her all the more likeable. Nina – the Heartrender; man does she have the backstory! Living in Ravka to meeting Matthias to her ever-changing moods and powers…! Matthias – the druskelle; cut off from his home and surprisingly in love with his enemy, I greatly enjoyed watching him warm up to the others and find his real purpose. And Wylan – the merchling; he provided a great twist in who he is and what he can do, and it was so freaking cute reading his and Jesper’s interactions!
While this doesn’t follow right after the ending of the Grisha trilogy, there were a bunch of great nods to the previous story – particularly, the naming of Inej’s knives and Nina’s past. Of course, the main plot focuses on Grisha, but this perspective, of “normal” characters accomplishing the impossible, was an amazing extension of the previous story. Loved, loved, loved this book.