BOOK REVIEW – Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
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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.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

*Buddy-read with my fellow fantasy lover, Kat*

One word before I start : I don’t I’m not sure I trust you, Leigh Bardugo. You let me down before, and ice isn’t forgiving. You taught me that. This said, you wrote a hell of a great book here. Here I am, caring for all these characters, and I’m not gonna lie : I’m scared to death now. Well done.

*bows*

What Six of Crows offered me is a plot that kept me guessing, in a Locke Lamora fashion (By the way, Kaz does remind me a lot of Locke, but as I absolutely adore Locke, I won’t hold these reminiscences against him. More for me. Yum). If the beginning was slow-ish, with a writing, albeit good, that didn’t hold my interest for long spans of time – I needed to pause every few pages – from 25% I was fully invested : once the team was constituted, the characters dynamics just exploded and damn. I enjoyed the hell out of this.

Fantasy readers won’t be surprised by the alternative POV and the big cast of characters and – surprise, surprise – it is really well done, the transitions between the different characters being ones of the best I ever read. That is to say,
✘ No rehearsing of everything but a plot that flows smoothly.
No multiple retelling of the same event over and over again.
No confusion and “who the fuck is talking right now” syndrome : I’ll come to the characters later, but I can safely state that they all have their own voice, thank you very much.

This being said, the success of Six of Crows definitely lies in its complex and interesting characters. Frankly, I feel like everything has already been told about them, so I’ll only put my highlights here :

➊ I say YES to the banter and wary trust between Kaz and Inej (Inej chapters being my favorites). The development of their relationship was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of them together. SHIP SHIP SHIP.

Inej is a female lead I could adore. She wants everything, and she doesn’t settle for less. YOU GO GIRL.

Kaz is relentless in his scheming and planning, and just at the moment you think that you finally get his personality, he takes a decision so ruthless that you stand there, wide eyed. Of course he’s my favorite character, what do you think. PSYCHOPATHS FOR THE WIN.

Jesper’s tendency to have the last word was hilarious. Also, as my adorable buddy-reader pointed it, he spreads J.C.’s vibes (Legion) that I couldn’t ignore. Bahahaha. Guns. TELL ME I CAN SHIP HIM WITH WYLAN. PLEASE.

➎ Matthias and Nina made me feel instantly – these two have a well rounded love/hate thingy going on and it was a pleasure to follow their fights (because I’m a masochistic like this XD).

GIRL FRIENDSHIP! To see Nina and Inej making fun of the silly men was the BEST. Finally female characters that have something else to do that slutshame and hate each others. THANK YOU.

➐ I truly enjoyed Matthias…. lag between his “morals” and the team’s lack of them. It made for the funniest thoughts and interactions.

Not to mention that the interactions between them were fully enjoyable, sometimes hilarious, sometimes meaningful but never lacking depth.

As I loved the characters, the flashbacks, bringing slices of their previous life, interested me a lot. In my opinion they gave a most needed background and above that, LAYERS to the characters and helped me to understand their reactions. This is the purpose of flashbacks, and not to drown the reader under useless details like some books do.

The language may have been stripped out of Dutch but frankly? I don’t care. I read too much REALISTIC and HISTORICAL books massacring French culture to feel really annoyed by this in FANTASY. I mean, what’s the big deal? Is she saying that it’s Dutch? Nope. So yeah she took words and altered them and blablabla, here’s the sound of the fucks I give

ZzzzzzzzzzzzZzzzzzz

So what? She didn’t create a whole new language? I don’t need another Tolkien. Please not another Tolkien.

This said, I can see how it can be annoying for Dutch speakers. No, really. I read books that did it in French and it WAS annoying. Like a private joke that isn’t remotely funny. I’m sorry for you guys :/. It remains that for me, as soon as she’s not selling some colonialist and white woman saving crap like Tiger’s Curse did, I don’t find it offensive or insulting. But you’re definitely free to disagree with me on this^^

Also, I find the need to point out that I usually read more adult fantasy and that YA fantasy hardly comes closed to it (in my eyes) but I genuinely thought that she did a great job at her world building. Before people complain about the fact she took Dutch settings – In my eyes, world building isn’t only about settings and words. World building is also about magical systems and gang organizations and power and traditions. I need to feel invested and believe in a world. I did. End of story. (or, there are Grisha in Amsterdam and I need to plan a vacations there ASAP. JUST TELL ME)

Oh, about the names. Many readers pointed how ridiculous they sounded and I won’t deny that fantasy books usually offer us better names for their characters. Like Kettriken, from my beloved Robin Hobb. Or is it Rheyn? Oh, and do not forget Froi, Finnikin and Evangeline from Melina Marchetta. Kelsier and Elend from Brandon Sanderson. Not to mention my favorite little cutter, Jorg. And don’t get me started about Jezal, Logen, and Glokta from Joe Abercrombie‘s First Law trilogy.

Oops. It seems that I do deny it. Really, fantasy names never fail to make me roll my eyes. As Francesca would say,

“I’d read fantasy if they had simple names like Jane and Bob from Wagga,” I said. “Why does it have to be Tehrana and Bihaad from the World of Sceehina?”Saving Francesca

(The girl is definitely onto something.) Truth is, I don’t care, I just roll with it. It certainly won’t spoil my enjoyment.

*shrugs*

► All in all, Six of Crows managed to do something I didn’t think was possible after Ruin and Rising‘s disaster (for me, again) : making me invested in the Grisha world again. Well done.

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