So I posted last week about the Grisha trilogy, and how I liked it, but didn’t love it. I thought it was interesting, and the world was well-drawn, but the main character was kind of… boring and not really interesting enough to support a trilogy on her own.
In Six of Crows, though, Bardugo returns to the Grisha-verse in a new style of mission. A team of six misfits club together to pull off the biggest heist in history – as long as they don’t kill each other first.
I really, really liked this book. I think Bardugo evolved hugely as a writer between the Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows, and it really shows. All the characters in Six of Crows are interesting, fully fleshed out, and their interactions are so much more captivating than Mal and Alina’s snoremance in the Grisha trilogy. This is a massive step up from what came before it.
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.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
There were so many things I really liked about this book. Rather than trying to save the entire country, like Alina, this crew are just out to make bank. They’re seedy, their motivations are questionable, they’ve all got their own issues to deal with from the past, and they’re a whole collection of damaged, broken, angry young people. But they’re so compelling. The scale of the book is smaller than the Grisha trilogy in some ways, but in others much bigger, and there’s no definable villain the way there was with the Darkling in the Grisha trilogy. But the murky underworld of Ketterdam and not knowing who to trust – or whether they can even trust each other – just adds to how compelling this story is.
Six of Crows was a five-star read for me until the very last chapters. It ends on a massive cliffhanger, which I hate. It is impossible not to read Crooked Kingdom after this, because the story isn’t resolved at all. As I was coming to the end of the book I knew that there was more still to come (mostly because I knew Crooked Kingdom had been published, but also because none of the larger character arcs had been resolved), but Six of Crows ended with an event which I really disagreed with. It was a cheap trick to force people to read the next in the series.
On its own, Six of Crows was definitely good enough that I would read Crooked Kingdom without being manipulated into it by a massive cliffhanger which sets up the events of the next book. It’s the kind of thing that could easily have been left for the first chapter of the next book, with Six of Crows having a proper conclusion, but I just really don’t like the way it was done.
Once I’ve read Crooked Kingdom – and it’s next on my list, I can’t wait to see what happens – I might be more satisfied with the duology together, but if I had read Six of Crows when it was published, and had to wait an entire year to find out what happened next, I would have been absolutely sickened.
For that reason, and that reason only, Six of Crows lost a star for me, which is a pity, as it really was excellent.
PS – If you pay any attention to my posting schedule, you may have noticed that I usually post between 1-2 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Last Friday I didn’t post. This is because I post on my lunch break from work, and last Friday I was at a book launch by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. It was awesome, but since it was during lunch, I didn’t get a chance to write a post. There’s your explanation, if you were wondering.