My full review is reprinted below!
Have you ever read a book that was so delicious that you were torn between tearing through it at break-neck speed and savoring it slowly because you don’t want it to be over? Yeah, that was Six of Crows for me.
I would liken this book to Ocean’s Eleven meets Lord of the Rings. It is set in the rough and tumble world of Ketterdam, more specifically, the Barrel: Ketterdam’s dirty, gritty underbelly, full of casinos, thieves, con-men, and prostitutes. The beginning premise fell a little flat for me: the characters must break into a high-security facility at the other end of the world to rescue a scientist who has the recipe to a deadly new drug…but the execution was excellent, so I was swept along for the ride regardless.
The characters make this book. Kaz Brekker, leader of the crew, is the ultimate anti-hero. Sure, he’s a thief, runs a gambling den, and is as friendly as a porcupine, but you love him even more for it. You wait with delight for his moments of sly brilliance, heralded by the other characters as Kaz’s “scheming face!” Inej, the Wraith, is his mysterious and illusive second in command, who can scale any wall or disappear into the shadows in a moment. Nina is a sultry heartrender who can manipulate the human body with magic, and she has a messy past with Matthias, a foreign soldier who is charged with hunting down and killing anyone with magical ability. Add in Jesper, a fast-talking gunslinger, and Wyatt, runaway/hostage with a specialty in explosives, and you have a cast of characters that will suck you in from the first pages.
Even the best laid plans go sideways, and so as the heist unfolds, the characters are forced to improvise on the fly. As the action progresses so do the characters, as Bardugo explores each character’s past, revealing little by little what made them into who they are today. The romantic interests between the characters adds another layer of complexity and intrigue without being forced.
It’s not often that you find a book that does both fast-paced plot and character development well. But Six of Crows does. My only gripe is the epic cliffhanger at the end of the book, and the fact that the sequel, The Crooked Kingdom, doesn’t come out until September!