Six of Crows
By Leigh Bardugo
Published by Henry Holt & Co.
I had been hearing a lot about Six of Crows, and since it was all good I decided to give it a shot. I was apprehensive at first because it was based on an already existing series known as The Grisha Trilogy. I was worried that I would be picking up a story in that world, but somewhere in the middle. Boy was I wrong. This book, although set in the fantasy Grisha world, is not part of the Grisha Trilogy. In fact, not only does it stand on its own from the trilogy, it looks like it’s going to be the first in a new series. And I’m very excited about that.
This book is awesome!
Now I could just stop here, and tell you to just go read it – cause I think it’s that good – but I’m not. I’m going to tell you why I think this book is so darned good.
First, let me tell you a bit about it.
It’s a CAPER story! And I just love a good caper. If you’re not sure what I mean, here is a definition from Wikipedia:
“The caper story is a subgenre of crime fiction. The typical caper story involves one or more crimes (especially thefts, swindles, or occasionally kidnappings) perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader.”
So what’s the “caper”? Six kids (teens around 16-17 years of age) need to break into an impenetrable prison, kidnap a prisoner, and then break out of the prison. And if all goes well, they will be very, very rich.
From the very first page this book is one big adventure with a strong cast of characters that I just fell in love with. The story is strong, the dialogue is smart and sassy, and the action is non-stop. It moves very quickly and never lags. And it’s funny! There is so much wisecracking between characters that I actually found myself chuckling out loud. Oh, and there’s magic!
Now let’s talk about the “kids”. Almost immediately you understand that this is about a group of teens, but as you learn through their own memories and back stories, they’ve been dealt some pretty bad cards. Their stories are harsh and heartbreaking – but they have not been beaten. They’ve survived in some pretty crappy surroundings.
Kaz is a thief and the leader of a gang known as the Dregs. He’s the brains behind the plan. As a young child he faced a tragic loss that forced him to grow up way too soon. He knows who caused his troubles, and he’s determined to make him pay.
Inej is known as the Wraith. Once an acrobat that walked the high wire, she’s now known for her stealth and her skill with knives. Kaz took her out of a bad situation and she owes him her unfailing loyalty. She acts as his spy.
Jesper is the wisecracking gambler that loves guns, and is a crack shot. He left his family farm for an education, but the cards called his name, and he never left the gambling houses. He can be counted on to provide the comic relief and to never miss his target.
Nina is Grisha, which means she practices magic. She’s a heartrender and can drop a man with just a twist of her hand. She’s also very beautiful and pretty sassy. She needs to right a wrong, and it’s her hope that she can make amends. Her guilt drives her to join this team.
Matthias is a former soldier who was accused of a terrible crime. He’s worried that his part in the plan will brand him as a traitor to his country, and he struggles with not only that guilt, but his thirst for revenge on the person who cost him so much.
Wylan, the poor little rich boy rebelling against his father – is very good with explosives. He could be the weak link in the team, but he’s determined to prove himself.
This is a great cast of characters, and I love how Leigh Bardugo highlights each one of them by alternating chapters specifically focused on each one. This is where you get their back stories, and how you keep up with each member of the team as they move through this wild adventure.
For anyone who likes a good old fashioned action adventure, this one will fit the bill. It reminds me of two of my favorite TV shows, Leverage and Firefly, which also had the crackling dialogue and wild capers that I love so much in this book.
Check this one out, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more information, check out Leigh Bardugo’s website at: