Six of Crows (2015)
Author – Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows is the latest branch on the Grisha tree from Leigh Bardugo. I will note straight away that the first Grisha trilogy is not a necessary read to pick up Six of Crows. I love a story of vengeance and the beating heart of this book is revenge. Set in the same universe but with a whole host of different and new colourful characters, Six of Crows is essentially the fantasy version of Mission Impossible. It’s almost like Ocean’s Eleven but replaced with flawed, crazy teens. One is a convict with a greedy need for revenge, a sharpshooter with a gambling addiction, a well-to-do gent who left behind his life of luxury, a spy that can crawl along the walls known as the Wraith, a wayward Grisha capable of controlling the heart and blood in the bodies of others and a thief with a knack to escape any situation. Falling into the young adult category, this novel falls on the older end of the spectrum, facing issues such as prostitution, gang violence and racism. Some scenes really are brutal and I loved this book all the more for it’s bloodthirsty attitude.
I found myself particular taken by the leader of the Crows, Kaz Brekker. Kaz never shows his hands, always veiling them in leather gloves and when we find out why it’s truly a moving and disturbing story. The non-linear tale that jumps from one characters perspective to the next can at times get a little difficult to keep up with but never the less, it’s necessary to feel a connection with every character involved and to learn about who they are and where they come from. The motley crew of unsavoury folk each have a different tragic tale to tell of survival and the overcoming of loss that has resulted in them becoming part of Kaz’s mad scheme to break in and out of the Ice Court to spring out a prisoner creating a drug to enhance the powers of the Grisha for a large sum of cash that would change all of their lives. During their travels we explore the relationships between the characters and who they are to each other, the extent of their connections is just as gripping as their personal tales of woe and the main story at hand.
I’d recommend Six of Crows to fans of fantasy and fans of a good ol’ heist. There will be more to come in this series too, so it won’t be over when you finish the last page.