Six of Crows -- Leigh Bardugo
Book 1 of The Dregs
**Scroll down past all the fangirl squeeing for more coherent thoughts.
And, FYI for anyone wondering:
**This book takes place in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse, during a different timeline, but does not really require that you have read The Grisha trilogy first. There are certain references, but they wouldn't deter you from enjoying this book and are merely weaved in as part of the history and world building of this timeline and setting.
Right after finishing the book: (before I got some sleep)
And about the characters and the storyline:
The overall book experience after giving it some thought: (still haven't gotten to sleep yet)
The one year I have to wait until the next book comes out:(show spoiler)
Official Story Blurb: (Because I can’t even begin to do justice to summing up what this book is about.)
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.
Actual Coherent Thoughts: (a few hours after I got some sleep)
I think I might have liked this one even more than I liked The Grisha trilogy. It took a little while, but once the story got rolling, everything was just full of AWESOME and FEELS and so, so much WONDERFUL!
This book was sort of tagged as being a YA High Fantasy Ocean’s Eleven, which was what got me so excited in the first place, because: OCEAN’S ELEVEN. But being that I did love Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, it’s not like my anticipation had no ground to stand on.
And boy did this book deliver. This book is about an impossible heist, but this book presents to you so much more than just that.
I have to admit, however, in terms of atmosphere, Six of Crows DID have a darker one than what I would relate with Ocean’s Eleven, though not by much. As evidenced by the reveals and the histories of our characters and of how the Grisha world has become in this timeline, things are tragic, dark, and quite depressing; but at the same time, things are intriguing, gritty, and very intense.
There’s a certain amount of risk when compiling a large number of characters into one story, as well as using a changing POV between each of these characters, even if that POV is still third person. I admit that in the beginning I’d felt slightly overwhelmed as each character was introduced, but the way in which the author handled it was excellently done.
While our main story line breezed along, little snippets and small reveals were given to us through each character: about their personalities, about their histories, about their lives, about their thoughts, about their ideals, and about how they relate with the world they live in... it was actually better than I’d expected... and then some.
Six of Crows was just plain awesome. It’s a great introduction to this new series in a familiar world that fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy will appreciate. And while there is a massive amount of world building and character setup and story outlining, it never feels like a prologue of information dump at all. And despite the fact that the book takes place in an already established world from a previously written series, it doesn’t feel reliant on that series at all to comprehend the goings on of this one. There is enough reiteration of the Grisha world to understand it, but not so much that it feels unnecessarily tedious; and there is even more to learn about this new era in the Grisha world, expanding from what we may already be familiar with.
For me, there were few moments of drag and sometimes the characters felt like they were a little more detached from the goings on of their own story than I would have liked. But in the end, Six of Crows was simply an amazing new story with a well thought out plot, and colorfully created characters, easily likable and relatable.
Kaz Brekker is the infamous almost anti-hero who gives off an unrelatable persona at the beginning, but who has so many layers and so much complexity that you can’t even begin to decide whether or not you like him.
Inej was so freakin’ kickass that I don’t even care that she’s the typical girl with a heart-of-gold, but a sad, tragic past, who is trying to figure out where her place is in this world. Her reputation is the “Wraith” and she dispatches seasoned warriors before they even realize she’s standing right beside them. And then goes on to save everyone’s asses even while staying hidden in the background.
Nina and Matthias were a little bit harder to like, but that’s only because they spend so much time tangled in their own drama of hate between two large groups of people. They represent what has become of the Grisha world after the events of the Grisha trilogy, as well as an all too familiar and real conflict of the real world: hatred of two peoples due to the persecution of one based on fear and differences. It’s thought-provoking… but I wasn’t too drawn to either of these two characters or their problems.
Though Nina certainly grows on you and comes off quite endearing with her sarcasm, her boldness, and her unabashed presentation of herself in honest form. It’s quite refreshing actually.
Matthias is a stick. In the mud. With random quips.
Jesper and Wylan may have only been sort of, kind of side characters beside the other four, but they were tons of fun with their own brand of complexities and so much more potential to build on their characters. I expect to see even more of them in future books and learn more about them.
May I sum up this review with this particular gif once more?
I half read and half listened to the audiobook of Six of Crows, and to be totally honest, while it was narrated rather well by a nice group of voices, I couldn’t help but wonder why we didn’t just utilize each voice for their proper character portrayals. It was a little distracting at times to try to figure out who each narrator was trying to portray in each of their versions… and then you had one guy who didn’t even try to give each of the characters a distinctive voice.
Anyway… I still enjoyed listening to most of the audio, but I have the distinctive feeling I might have been in even more awe if I’d just read the book traditionally. Not that that’s much of a concession since I’m giving the book several “AWESOME”s and a 4.5 Star rating anyway. So who am I trying to kid?
I loved this book, audio or not.