10 June, 2016

REVIEW: SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genres: YA, Adventure, Fantasy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Source: Physical copy / Kindle Edition
Pages: 462

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SYNOPSIS: 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.
Grisha world! I adore it! So I was more than excited to read Six of Crows, I was literary running to the door when postman came with my copy of the book!

THE WORLD: Well that was the first problem I saw in this book. Leigh Bardugo said that Six of Crows will be based in Grisha world. Well yes, I guess in theory it is. But we are so far away from Ravka and actual Grisha world I do not even have a comparison right now in my head. The book is based in Ketterdam, some city in the middle of nowhere. Grishas there are used as slaves or end up in pleasure houses. To be honest, the book focuses on the slums of the city so it's all about thieves and whores. Then we move on to Fjerda, the country which hunts Grishas for their power as witches. Rings a bell? Yeah, another story of middle ages witch hunters and religion. 

CHARACTERS: As title already suggests there are six characters in this book, each has their POV at some point. But main character is really Kaz, the leader of some gang in the slums.

Kaz - it was literary torture for me to read his chapters. He is annoying and just plain boring. I really hate Kaz.

Inej - again another boring character. Some religious girl once stolen into slavery and ended up in the pleasure house. Kaz then saves her and makes a super spy. Again, boring. Inej chapters were just unnecessary to me.

Nina - the only Grisha we get, well not in theory but the one that actually practices her powers. And for me she was also the only reason to read this book. But my problem was really with Nina that she was not original. She was just a crossing of Zoya and Genya from Grisha Trilogy.

Matthias - omg help me here. Like Mal was not enough torture already now I got to go through Mal 2.0 all over again.

Jesper - He was okay to be honest but there wasn't much of him in the book so you sorta just read through and forget about it.

Wylan - again same as Jesper. 

LOVE: There is some seriously messed up love between Mathias and Nina. Unfortunately, it is not really explained and just in the end seems unnecessary. And then Kaz and Inej...waste of pages.

MINUS: I feel very cheated now, if I wanted to read a story of thieves going to steal some treasure I would have picked some classics. I expected Grisha, I expected power and lovable characters! What I got instead? Some forgettable story about characters who are just boring. You could say there was action in this book but when you think about it....everything was so confusing that sometimes you had no idea what is happening and why. Just a huge disappointment to me. I want my money back. I don't know if I am going to continue with the series.

Some explanations... I first read The Grisha Trilogy last year and I really loved the first book and the concept. I didn't like how they ended, it really annoyed me but then Leigh announced this book and I was like "Yes! More Grisha, more awesome worlds, more more!" and then HannahCassie read it but she didn't like it... so I was boomed about it but I just got my hands on it and I decided to read it. The only thing I did was adjust my expectations so that I was not going to be disappointed. It worked!

THE WORLD: We're back at the Grisha world but focusing on other countries. We are in Kerch, a tiny island in the middle of the True Sea which lives off of trading with the mainland. Afterwards we move to Fjerda, neighboring country to Ravka (where the other trilogy takes place) that hunts Grisha because they consider them to be witches and wizards. Very medieval indeed.


 You all know how much I love maps so here I go again:

Hold on to The Ice Court map because it will become relevant. Also, the rest of the places and countries in the map are mentioned but are not as important to the story right now.

CHARACTERS: I would say the main character is Kaz Brekker, aka "Dirtyhands", although all 6 characters share the spotlight. He came to Kerch with his older brother as a child but a tragedy happened and Kaz ended up growing up a ruthless thief, a liar, a manipulator, etc. you can imagine... at age 17 he is now the lieutenant of The Dregs (a powerful gang of Ketterdam). I consider important to mention that Kaz is disabled, he cannot move a leg and limps though he has the help of a cane. Representation for very able disabled people, yes! I approve. Through him we get introduced to the rest of the gang, we have Inej Ghafa, aka "The Wraith" who was basically a pleasure slave before Kaz rescued her and saw the potential she had. She is an acrobat and can spy on anyone because she's silent as a cat. Then we have Jesper Fahey, aka "The Sharpshooter" and you guessed right, he's the best shooter. Nina Zenik is the Grisha of the group, a Heartrender (remember those are the ones who can control the body and thus can kill and heal people). I have to say that I also thought she was a crossover of Zoya and Genya from TGT. She was okay but not new. Next, we have Matthias Helvar, who was formerly a Drüskelle from Fjerda... meaning that he's a Grisha hunter. A confused one. Finally, we have Wylan van Eck who's the son of a rich merc from Kerch. He's too pure for this gang.

And now you wonder... how did such a group come together? Well, friends you must read the book in order to answer that question.
I will just say that the mission they have to complete... the impossible heist... holy gods this book would make an awesome movie (or limited series?). I swear if they ever do a movie or limited series and do it well I would watch it without any doubt.

LOVE: Thankfully there are no triangles and all pairings are pretty much straightforward. Since all characters are odd, their love dynamics are also odd... I personally like all pairs but I don't consider any to be OTP. Well, maybe a little.

PLUS: First thoughts first, representation. I loved that Leigh included a couple disabled characters (in one way or another) and a few POCs, and I also love that she didn't use them as bait or for the shake of the plot only. They have a purpose, they're important, and valuable.

I also liked the mission! Oh man I am all for impossible mission, fights, adventures, etc!

But what I loved the most most... was Kaz. I don't particularly agree with his morals or ethics and he's as rough as sandpaper (this is a Spanish saying, not sure it makes sense) but he's also very smart! Intelligence, wit, and cleverness are the new sexy. He's no Darkling but I love him anyway. My babe must be protected. I also liked Inej but not as much as Kaz.

MINUS: The first 100 pages dragged a bit. Of course, it was all the introduction to the book so I didn't mind it. Once the story picked up I really enjoyed it.

Hmm I didn't like that some characters were left a bit flat and one-dimensional but Leigh could still correct that in the second book, Crooked Kingdom, so I won't hold it against her (yet).

OVERALL: 4.5 stars. I believe, and correct if I'm wrong, that once you get rid of the expectations and the hype coming form TGT this book gains points quickly. I was disappointed still that it is not as interesting as the Grisha world but the promise of an impossible mission kept me going through it. I heard a lot of people giving bad reviews to TGT because they read SoC first and then they were surprised of how different the trilogy was. I would say that TGT's strength was on the world building, the war, and The Darkling (dayum!) while SoC's strength is probably more on the characters themselves, their group dynamics, and the mission. If I don't compare this with the trilogy and just consider it as a brand new book I have to say that I loved it :)

What do you guys think about SIX OF CROWS?