A dark exciting adventure in the fantastical land of the Grisha, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows holds nothing back, brimmed full of daring heists, complex characters and most importantly, dastardly deeds.
I was not prepared for how gripping and dark this book was going to be. In warning, if you do not like graphic violence and grey morality, this novel is not for you. However, if, like me, you are fed up with two-dimensional, ‘I must save the world or die trying’ characters, then Six of Crows is your calling.
The novel follows the exploits of six miscreants who are hired to free a prisoner from an unbreachable prison and deliver him to their employers, while not only avoiding capture, but also racing against other competing criminals. The structural plot is quite simple and linear, however, the true backbone of this novel are Bardugo’s characters. Each one is utterly distinct, and dismantles every stereotype, so much so that that they feel real: Kaz Brekker, the gang’s leader, is a positively ruthless and black-hearted crook — think Thomas Shelby from ‘Peaky Blinders’ but without ties to family; Inej Gafa, our spy and thief, defies not only gravity but all her enemies with her bravery and determination. The other members of these delinquents are equally intriguing and individual, but it is Inej and Kaz that drive the narrative forward.
As the plot is fairly linear, Bardugo expertly keeps the story fresh by providing intermittent flashbacks, allowing the reader to delve deep into the characters’ past. It is these that allow the characters to really substantialise, for not only are we seeing their development through the present narrative, but how they have changed from their previous selves. The representation Six of Crows provides is another great aspect: people of colour, strong women and homosexual relationships are discussed freely. A breath of fresh air in a genre saturated with straight, white characters.
But it is Bardugo’s writing that steals the show. It is so beautifully crafted, I would compare it to poetry. Though she uses simple sentences, her writing is so pure and evocative that I feel moved at points.
I know I have waxed lyrical about this book, and trust me, I want to come up with some bad points to balance out this review, but I truly cannot. The only negative point I would say is that you also have to fork out money for a sequel, but one that is just as amazing!