Archive

BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh BardugoCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

 

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

It’s been so long since I’ve really sat down and wrote a review about a book that really mattered to me. Since I’ve had all this (all day)(endless) morning sickness, I’ve been pretty bleak about my outlook on reading and if I’d ever want to again-I know, right? Ridiculous. As if I’d ever give up my one true passion. But it’s been a long road…and when I saw Kaz on the horizon, I knew it was my time to reintroduce myself into the book community.

“Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch, Brekker. You have to be the craziest bastard I ever met.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

As everyone knows, Six of Crows has been my favorite read this year (yes I was late to the party). No, I haven’t had the longest, most prosperous reading year of my life (that was last year, boo), but when a book truly stands out, you simply don’t forget it. And so here was my baby boy, his final book coming up at the speed of light…and I knew I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But with that comes a lot of expectations.

Kaz had tapped his crow’s head cane on the flagstones of the tomb floor. “Do you know what Van Eck’s problem is?” 

“No honor?” said Matthias.
“Rotten parenting skills?” said Nina.
“Receding hairline?” offered Jesper.
“No,” said Kaz. “Too much to lose. And he gave us a map to what to steal first.”

For one….this is Kaz. You fuck up Kaz? I fuck YOU up. So…this author had a lot of hype to live up to in my pathetic world of nausea and the occasional regurgitation of Blue Raspberry Mr. Misty Floats from Dairy Queen. And not only did I have that larger than life hype in my head, but this was the FIRST BOOK to bring me out of my endless woes of re-reading and missing out on countless new releases. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

Jesper tapped his fingers restlessly on his thighs. “Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?” “So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”


So. Was it worth the hype? Was it everything I ever dreamed of and wished it would be? Was everything as perfect as the first? No. I’m sorry, but the answer is an absolute no. And I keep asking myself, if you didn’t love it as much as the first, if you have qualms about the integrity of the novel and all of the characters…why the 4.5 stars? Are you rating this so highly because you love Kaz more than you love the air you breathe? Or is it simply out of loyalty to your love of the first-Possibly your favorite book of all time under Hunger Games? And the truth of the matter is, I can’t answer that question. I really can’t. But what I can answer is this: No matter whether I believe this wasn’t what it could have been or whether it was and I just missed the party…I always, always rate with my gut. And my gut won’t let me rate lower than 4.5.

Kaz had rescued her from that hopelessness, and their lives had been a series of rescues ever since, a string of debts that they never tallied as they saved each other again and again. Lying in the dark, she realized that for all her doubts, she’d believed he would rescue her once more, that he would put aside his greed and his demons and come for her. Now she wasn’t so sure.

And every single one of my best friends, ask any of them (Harriet, Anna, Jenny, Jen, etc.) will tell you I do NOT lie on my ratings. They come from deep in my heart and I wouldn’t be able to stand it if I rated something less/more than what it deserved. So, I think I made it clear that, while I’m a tad confused on what made this click for me, I am set in my rating. If anyone is even still around I guess I’ll get to my thoughts on the book now.

“If you don’t care about money, Nina dear, call it by its other names.”
“Kruge? Scrub? Kaz’s one true love?”
“Freedom, security, retribution.”
“You can’t put a price on those things.”
“No? I bet Jesper can. It’s the price of the lien on his father’s farm.” The sharpshooter looked at the toes of his boots. “What about you, Wylan? Can you put a price on the chance to walk away from Ketterdam and live your own life? And Nina, I suspect you and your Fjerdan may want something more to subsist on than patriotism and longing glances. Inej might have a number in mind too. It’s the price of a future, and it’s Van Eck’s turn to pay.”

This book…..this book was not what I expected-both good and bad. Because, really, what did I even expect? I knew the first was out of this world creative, that nothing could compare….yet I longed for it to. Second books and third books are almost never my favorite…but I yearned for something better. And, while I didn’t get that, I did get a lot of things I was missing in the first. They weren’t as beautiful, far-fetched, as magnanimous as I had hoped, but they were there, and they were flawed…and how can I complain when I got my (cough) sweet Kaz to show his barest emotions, his most broken self to the only one left in the world he loved. I mean….Jesus. My heart couldn’t take any more. No, I didn’t get a full page proclamation of love-sorry to disappoint those who wanted that-but we did get the Kaz flair, the Kaz way of showing how much he cares, how loyal he is. And, frankly, despite what I had thought before…it was more than enough for me. This book was flawed. The crew was flawed. And Kaz was flawed….and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Around Pekka, he lost the shape of who he was—no, he lost the shape of who he’d fought to become. He wasn’t Dirtyhands or Kaz Brekker or even the toughest lieutenant in the Dregs. He was just a boy fueled by a white flame of rage, one that threatened to burn the pretense of the hard-won civility he maintained to ash.


 photo 4259-Flying-Crow_zpsqnubfnui.gif

The beginning started out just as I’d hoped it would-right where it left off, give or take a week. They have very little time to get to Inej and free her from that bastard Van Eck, and Kaz (just a warning, this review is centered around Kaz so….yeah, sorry) is a man on a mission-A deadly mission. Everyone is battered and bruised, dedicated to the cause of getting their Wraith back, no matter what happens. After all, she has saved their lives countless times.


 photo f1835ae1e99f9c8dc67d3b74d164067d_zpsxmkff2or.gif

But, here lies my largest issue: The POVs at the beginning. I’m sorry, but why do we have to wait one billion chapters to get into Kaz’s twisted head??? That pissed me off-No, the story wasn’t bad without it, but, for me, this felt odd. In the first book, he and Inej were the main POVs and I, quite frankly, liked it that way. In this one, it was all Wylan, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, etc..and THEN Kaz. And THEN Inej. I didn’t like that and it immediately put a sour taste in my mouth-NOW, I will just say this…it didn’t effect that much, I just was a pissy pink elephant about the whole thing. And, frankly, I thought the pairings at the beginning of the book were odd. I can’t explain it…it just didn’t feel right. Everyone was around, but I definitely was missing something. (TO HARRIET-Don’t worry, Kazzy bestie, he was not missing from the story, don’t misunderstand me).

“My mother is Ketterdam. She birthed me in the harbor. And my father is profit. I honor him daily. Be back by nightfall or don’t come back at all. Either of you. I need crew, not sentimental nubs.”

Now, while it didn’t effect the story…I do think it effected the intensity of Kaz’s character. This is why I LOVE him, okay? So when he is stifled by A) too much action (am I really stating this as a problem?) and B) No time in his mind I definitely noticed it. Which I guess brings me to the negatives, since this seems like the appropriate timing of both my review and the book: The middle. So many books effect me this way, even some of my absolute favorites, and I guess I just hoped that since book one had literally no slow parts, for me, that it would be the same here. But it was almost an opposite effect: There was literally so much going on at one point, that my mind couldn’t take it. Anna said it best: We missed the strategizing, the camaraderie, the banter, the scheming, and there was literally no time to do that. The weakest point for me, and where I lost interest for about 7%, was part three: Brick by Brick. This happens in many books, like I mentioned before, but I was hoping it wouldn’t here. And it ended quickly-it won me back almost right away-but it took a minute, and that scared me. I will say, though…it had one of my top three favorite Kaz quotes in the whole book-EEPS. That has to count for something!!


 photo gZfNhxv_zpsmfvp4ryr.gif

So, with that doubt in my mind, which saddened me greatly that I had to consider that gap at all, I was suddenly more apprehensive of the rest of the story. Would it even out? Would I get my big declaration? Would I get the Kaz I had loved from story one? Well…not everything was what I’d expected, but there were some parts that were more, and that excited me so much I could barely contain my giddy glee. There are literally so many moments I could touch on, so many scenes I’ll never forget…Brutality, courage, loyalty, respect, love, betrayal [by the author] (sorry lady, but you definitely tried to pull a fast one on me I don’t know if I’ll ever agree with-at least how it happened).

He reached out and took Nina’s hand. Wylan suddenly felt he was intruding on something private. “I am grateful you’re alive,” he said. “I am grateful you’re beside me. I am grateful that you’re eating.”
She rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”
A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love.”

You think you have it all figured out, that everything is finally going to go as you had hoped from the very beginning, and then out of nowhere there’s yet another curveball thrown your way. And while that worked extremely well for the last half of the book, I must say it was sometimes a misfire in the beginning parts of the book. Like I said, I LOVE this series, but it wasn’t without it’s flaws and I feel the need to talk it out on this page. Yes, I’m rambling, but it’s how I’ve always done reviews so…

His eyes scanned her face as they always had, closely, hungrily, snatching at the details of her like the thief he was—the even set of her dark brows, the rich brown of her eyes, the upward tilt of her lips. He didn’t deserve peace and he didn’t deserve forgiveness, but if he was going to die today, maybe the one thing he’d earned was the memory of her—brighter than anything he would ever have a right to—to take with him to the other side.


 photo tumblr_inline_o03wkmnPXn1tk44bq_500_zpsslpyou4a.gif

Okay, forget it, I’m just going to touch on what I care about most and then I’ll end the suffering that is this repetitive review: Kaz. Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz Kaz KAZ. How do you like me now, computer??? I swear, it keeps putting that damn red squiggly line under his name and, since I’ve mentioned him like 100 times, my screen is completely reddish-IT’S A NAME, DAMN IT. LEAVE ME ALONE. Anyway, I digress. Kaz has stolen my heart completely with his brutal truths, cutthroat way of life, ABSOLUTE LOYALTY, his cunning, his scheming face, his cane, his gloves, the phobia he was stuck with because of his unfortunate circumstances…..the list goes literally on and on. And that’s why I was so angry that he was such a small part, I felt, in the beginning. Wasn’t he the main character? He and Inej, mostly? Wasn’t he the reason they even existed, this crew? Well, I didn’t care about them, any of them, like I did him, so that was hard for me to swallow. So when he got back to normal (and his chapters came more frequently), perhaps even more brutal than before…it was like coming home.

The silence between them was dark water. He could not cross it. He couldn’t walk the line between the decency she deserved and the violence this path demanded. If he tried, it might get them both killed. He could only be who he truly was—a boy who had no comfort to offer. So he would give her what he could. “I’m going to open Van Eck up,” he said quietly. “I’m going to give him a wound that can’t be sewn shut, that he’ll never recover from. The kind that can’t be healed.”
“The kind you endured?”
“Yes.” It was a promise. It was an admission.


 photo 6fb340e165924b1b5db1376cc5aa2c4d_zpsfv5rsry2.jpg

It’s true that most of my expectations centered around Kaz, Kaz and Inej, and him getting everything his poor heart deserved (revenge included), but I still know what a good, COMPLETE story is so shhh. I am happy with his chapter closing the way it did, with more to come for him and his eventual (I hope) complete happiness…and I do believe Bardugo finished his story in a way that was completely believable. I did want bigger, grander things for him-But the story ended in the way I think it was meant to, mostly. There’s plenty more I could wish for and plenty more I could say…but I’m happy leaving his story here. I love him. I adore him. No one compares to him. End of story.

Inej thought of Kaz’s pale trickster hands, the shiny rope of scar tissue that ran atop his right knuckle. Van Eck could break every finger and both of Kaz’s legs and he’d never say a word, but if his men stripped away Kaz’s gloves? Inej still didn’t understand why he needed them or why he’d fainted in the prison wagon on the way into the Ice Court, but she knew Kaz couldn’t bear the touch of skin on skin. How much of this weakness could he hide? How quickly would Van Eck located his vulnerability, exploit it? How long until Kaz came undone? She couldn’t bear it. She was glad she didn’t know where Kuwei was. She would break before Kaz did.

This book was far from perfect…but it made me happy. It had pain and torture and brutal moments that any sick bastard like me would lap up happily in each and EVERY story….but it also had its moments I wish were better. It’s a fine line between obsession and sanity, loving a book and its characters too much for my own good. So I will take this as a win-I just know it could have been even better. Less plots upon plots, a little less confusion around the middle because so much was going on (not always a good thing), and the fact that all this made me care less about certain things…these are the issues I had that I wish didn’t exist. But the fact remains: Bardugo rules. Her characters will stay in my heart forever. Kaz can literally get out of ANY situation….and I am at peace with where this story went. I could be happier….but at least this isn’t one of my final book Chelsea fails that happen so frequently. No Mourners. No Funerals.

***************


 photo Anna image Kaz 1_zps1fvkijmo.png

Buddy Read with my LOVELY SNAKE-YAY!! We’re BACK! Well…at least for Kaz 😛


 photo Anna image Kaz 3_zpstfqtwbi2.png

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW – Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh BardugoCrooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

One day later, I still can’t believe that I didn’t love this. I still can’t believe that I’ve waited a year, seen all my friends adoring it, and ended disappointed and alone in my shameful corner. I still can’t believe that I almost wish I didn’t read it, because I can’t forget that while I did like it, Crooked Kingdom :

Yep, that’s Kaz. Hear me out : it’s no secret that I have a soft spot for cunning and ruthless thieves who may or may not be hiding their vulnerabilities. As much as I do realize that it’s a complete cliché, I strive for it, okay?! Hence my intense fangirling about Kaz in the first book. I LOVED HIM. In the first part here? He was GLORIOUS. Sadly, I fell out of love as I grew fed up of his ability to outsmart ANYONE. The guy’s a Gary Stu, okay? A ruthless, cunning, unapologetic one, but a Gary Stu all the same. When does he freaking FAIL? Why is he the only one who doesn’t have to fight against his demons? More than 3 pages, I MEAN? Nope. I don’t believe for one second that the “growth” he showed in Crooked Kingdom was handled smoothly. It wasn’t. Perhaps I felt that way because he was BARELY THERE? Or because most of his interactions consisted of orders like the commander in chief he is? I won’t lie, some of his repartee made me really happy (because I’m a psycho), but I can’t brush away the feeling that he was the shell of himself. As far as I’m concerned, Kaz was present, but not alive. Hate me now.

I know that many readers loved her, and I’m glad for you, I really am, but for me she was transparent. That’s why I didn’t care for her relationship with Kaz either. Boo.

– Can we have such things as too fast-paced novels?
– Yes, I think we can.

(don’t mind me, I answer my own questions – sorry it’s a teacher thing, oops)

You’re free to disagree with me. Take Fitz for example : a non negligible number of readers would find his stories boring and I can definitely see why. Yet I’m never bored because the slow pacing contributes to multiply my feelings exponentially when something shocking happens. Crooked Kingdom, in another hand, flourishes in never-ending action and for most readers, it means the destruction of all boredom – I can also see why. Yet for me, a story that is too fast-paced, where action never stops, fails to reach that upper level when it comes to my FEELINGS. Perhaps I don’t like heists as much as I thought I did. Perhaps it was the multiplication of cons that did it. Perhaps the novelty ran out, in that aspect. Perhaps I didn’t care about Van Eck’s fate as much as I should have. I do think that my reaction (*cough* underwhelmed *cough*) had something to do with the way the villains were handled : I’m sorry, but I don’t know them. For me to feel engrossed, I needed something more than a one-dimensional, twisting moustache villain I barely interacted with. Sue me.


THIS IS A REAL SPOILER. DON’T READ BEFORE FINISHING. OBVIOUSLY.
View Spoiler »

YET. I wouldn’t have rated Crooked Kingdom a three if there weren’t slices of AWESOMENESS to balance what I didn’t like :

His chapters were, shockingly, part of my favorites. There’s just something so interesting in following the sidekick, okay? Also, he’s adorable and a red-head. It counts. As for Jesper, he was more fleshed-out and the added complexity made for one of the best character development, as far as I’m concerned. His flaws and fears felt so real to me. THEIR RELATIONSHIP BROUGHT ME LIFE.

I loved her spirit, her wit, her strength, her doubts, her fight against withdrawal – everything. AND SHE RAISED THE DEAD. HOW AWESOME IS THAT.

“Matthias smiled broadly and boomed in a singsong voice, “Hello, little friend!”
The woman went from wary to baffled. Nina decided to call it an improvement.”

HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THEM??

Now, I wouldn’t take my word on it if I were you, given that everyone on earth loved it. I can’t even say that I’m in the minority, because for that a minority would have to EXIST? I don’t know? AM I ALONE? And it didn’t influence my rating, but I will never understand why this book is YA. In which world are these characters teenagers?! (in the Grisha’s world, I know, smartass) Trying to picture Kaz or Nina or MATTHIAS as 17s years old makes my head ache.

BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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.

It became a declaration. There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken. The cane became a part of the myth he built. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he came from. He’d become Kaz Brekker, cripple and confidence man, bastard of the Barrel.

Sometimes enjoying life is as simple as loving something so hard that it makes everything in the world disappear: Your worries, your troubles, your horrible workday (yeah, that was today)…it all just vanishes from the moment you start doing what you love. For me?? That’s reading. Nothing clears my mind more than picking up a book. It’s best when it captures my soul-my very being-and doesn’t let it go until I choose to put it down. Nothing makes me happier, nicer, or more compliant than an excellent story. Days like today show me just how much reading is a crutch for me-even writing reviews. I had a horrid end of the day today….and here I am now, writing this review (and hanging out with my husband and two pups-my other crutch), and it’s like all is right in the world.

He grinned at her, his smile sudden and jarring as a thunderclap, his eyes the near-black of bitter coffee. “We’ll be kings and queens, Inej. Kings and queens.”
“Hmm,” she said noncommittally, pretending to examine one of her knives, determined to ignore that grin. Kaz was not a giddy boy smiling and making future plans with her. He was a dangerous player who was always working an angle. Always, she reminded herself firmly.

 photo 9685581_zps94cccatn.gif

But it’s not as simple as that-not really. Sure, we can pick up a book and like it and say, ‘Yeah, that was a good one. What’s next?’ But that’s just going through the motions. In that scenario I’m happy, complacent. I’m glad I spent my time reading but…once I put that book down it was simply over. Poof. Gone. Finite. Onto the next guy, story, victim, whatever. And just like that, that world ceases to exist-it vanishes the moment I shut down my iPad. Those books are great to pass time-they really are-but what’s the point of reading if you aren’t consumed, body and soul, by it?

“…You’re a blackmailer-“
“I broker information.”
“A con artist-“
“I create opportunity.”
“A bawd and a murderer-“
“I don’t run whores, and I kill for a cause.”
“And what cause is that?”
“Same as yours, merch. Profit.”

And I never even knew I was going through the motions with books. I loved them all and they all loved me. But then I found books like these-Rare gems that if you are so lucky as to find them, they are woven into every fiber of your being. You can’t eat, sleep, breathe, think if you aren’t near them. If you aren’t reading them, you are thinking about them and when you will get to immerse yourself in that world again, because you can’t stand knowing they exist in another realm while you are stuck in your own. These characters are your friends, they are the people you care about most-above all real things, for the time being-and you are just an utter and complete mess until you can find out what happens to them next.

Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.

 photo tumblr_n1rxvrQqmB1stnm5no1_500_zpstvezp9j0.gif

If you hadn’t already guessed, this is that book, and I am here to tell you that it is worth Every. Bit. Of the hype. If you have read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, then you are no stranger to her writing and ability to create worlds that blow your mind. However…I think she more than outdid herself here. This world, these hard-edged characters that have the ability to melt the ice around your heart…they are unlike anything I’ve read by her before. And if you haven’t read anything by her, you’re none the wiser. But this is a terrible, terrible thing-You NEED to read her wonderful stories…but this book is my favorite of hers, by far.

“We enter from the north as planned,” Kaz said.
Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”
Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.

Why, you ask?? Well, anyone that knows anything about the hype that surrounds this author’s work knows that she pulled some of the same parallels between her two series-I couldn’t explain the inner workings of the Grisha world back then when I read her first series, and I can’t even begin to now, but what we have here is so much more my speed (Even though, if you take the time to look, that series was a favorite, as well)…which comes as a complete shock to me.

 photo liar_zpsazmqpehd.gif

“Do you know the secret to gambling, Helvar?” Kaz brought his good foot down on the butt of the fallen soldier’s rifle. The gun flipped up. Kaz had it in his hands and pointed at Matthias in the space of a breath. He’d never been in any danger at all. “Cheat.”

Some people said this was slower-They wondered why it was so popular. And I can’t necessarily say why it worked for so many people-I can only say what worked for me, and it’s probably the simplest thing you could ever imagine: It’s not about blitz or glam or being more than it needed to be….it simply was. The writing was out of this world amazing. Indescribable. The characters were complex, fleshed out, and flawed. And the plot….it’s appeal was in its simplicity: 6 misfits trying to break into the most heavily secured prison in the world. Simple, right?? But it was done so wonderfully, so beautifully, so vividly…that it became so much more than that.

He’d even dubbed her the Wraith.
I don’t like it, she’d said. It makes me sound like a corpse.
A phantom,
he corrected.

Didn’t you say I was to be your spider? Why not stick with that?
Because there are plenty of spiders in the Barrel. Besides, you want your enemies to be afraid. Not think they can squash you with the toe of one boot.
My enemies?
Our enemies.

 photo tumblr_o0uthnUTjR1tz8qg0o2_r1_500_zpsoa8hkbir.gif

Each character had something that made them twisted, something that made them the misfits that they were. Inej, the wraith. Nina, the Grisha. Matthias the former soldier, now a covict. Jesper, the Gambler. Wylan, the runaway….but they would be absolutely nobody without their cunning leader, and my personal favorite character-Kaz, the thief.

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”

 photo tumblr_ms6tr7ZCey1rbvz5fo1_500_zpseggje792.gif

And this, ladies and Gents, is where I lose my shit. Kaz, the cunning, the cruel, the wounded, the ruthless street lord dubbed ‘Dirtyhands.’ With a pronounced limp, an affliction for wearing gloves, and a phobia of being touched…Kaz is what we can call a flawed character. He isn’t nice. He isn’t forgiving. And he sure as shit doesn’t get one upped by anyone. The rumors run rampant about him, people know he isn’t to be trifled with…until someone takes it upon themselves to nab him off the street and strike a deal-Break into the most heavily guarded prison, bring the mark….and make it out alive. Death is almost a certainty-no one makes it out alive. But when 30 million kruge is put on the line….Dirtyhands can’t help but to accept.

Geels looked at Kaz as if he was finally seeing him for the first time. The boy he’d been talking to had been cocky, reckless, easily amused, but not frightening-not really. Now the monster was here, dead-eyed and unafraid. Kaz Brekker was gone, and Dirtyhands had come to see the rough work done.

 photo tumblr_myjaf78D101s8d5weo1_500_zpswphhwrls.gif

It’s dangerous, success unheard of, and, like I just said, death is imminent. But with Kaz’s gang, he knows they have a chance. These thieves, liars, gamblers, cheats, etc are in deep, one way or another, and a cut like what they are offered is enough to set them free. But at what price is the cost too high?

Maybe Matthias was wrong about the White Island. Maybe the shears would snap in Wylan’s hands. Maybe Inej would fail. Or Nina. Or Kaz.
Or me [Jesper]. Maybe I’ll fail.
Six people, but a thousand ways this insane plan could go wrong.

 photo breached_zps03aucvgf.gif

I just…I adored Kaz. I mean, from the moment I opened the book I felt an instant connection-That much I can’t lie about…but when I first met Kaz??? My heart stuttered. My breath faltered. My eyes widened and became glued to the page. I knew, in that moment, that I was not going to have a want in the world. Dirty bastards are so far and few between, but even farther and fewer between is a dirty, conniving bastard that I can fall in love with. He is ruthless, hell bent on vengeance, unbeatable-No one gets over on him-and he is cruel when he needs to be. He had a rough past, something we get to see with multiple flashbacks (YOUNG KAZ EEEEEEEEPS!!!!), and it begins to form and shape the broken seventeen year old we see today. But throughout the story we begin to see his façade falter, his iron clad will crack, and his weaknesses emerge. But by far his largest weakness…is a young spy girl, Inej, he doesn’t even realize he has began to lean on.

“I don’t want your prayers,” he said.
“What do you want, then?”
The old answers came easily to mind. Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You.

The romances (YES, ROMANCES) in this story are heart-stopping, all consuming, and without a doubt some of the best fantasy romances I’ve come by in a long time (I have found quite a few this year, but just saying!). Do you know why??? The simplicity. The baser emotions. The guttural and raw and new-found (and some not so new) feelings that began to control many of their icy exteriors, slowly melting them from the inside out (Okay, okay, I really just mean Kaz, LOLZ)…well…as much as Kaz can melt.

Kaz had heard them, too. Brekker’s hands were stained with blood. Brekker’s hands were covered in scars. Brekker had claws and not fingers because he was part demon. Brekker’s touch burned like brimstone-a single brush of his bare skin caused your flesh to wither and die.
“Pick one,” Kaz said as he vanished into the night, thoughts already turning to thirty million kruge and the crew he’d need to help him get it. “They’re all true enough.”

 photo giphy 69_zpsoqskbviv.gif

I don’t know. It was just…it was all so perfect. From the beginning to the end. From the first fucked up showdown to the final, resolute resolve of the next big job to come…these characters and their struggles, their lack of perfection chiseled their way into my heart. This author’s words struck a chord deep within me, making me a slave until the very last page….and for the last two days after I’ve finished this book. It still lingers in my head when I have a free moment, clouding my vision as I sit and stare at my work computer, wishing I could read just another page, find another hidden chapter…if only to escape for a little longer in a world where the beautiful, broken, limping, cane-reliant Kaz exists. I’d do just about anything to be in his head again…ahhh the torture. My poor, poor, broken boy. AGH. SO. MUCH. LOVE. I can’t even. Whoops.

******************

“Not just yet, Inej.”

I’m sorry. So very very sorry…

because I ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK, so now you all will have to suffer through another Chelsea fangirl pre-review, and then eventually review….because there is just SO. MUCH. FUCKING. WIN.

KAZ KAZ KAZ I fucking ADORE YOU and I obviously have a canal rat mouth because I CANNOT STOP cursing because I JUST LOVED YOU AND YOUR ASSHOLE-ISH AND CUNNING AND RUTHLESS WAYS-AND YOUR HIDDEN LOVE FOR INEJ-just TOO DAMN MUCH. And Inej-YOU LITTLE BADASS! I ADORE YOU, TOO!!!! I just…I can’t…..ah fuck it-

I. CAN’T. EVEN.

Seriously, I want to stop saying that, but what’s a girl to do when she just can’t even think of any words to describe her obsession.

There are none. Sorry…But not really.

RTC.

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

BOOK REVIEW – Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

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.

© 2018

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: