Monday, September 5, 2016

review: six of crows, by leigh bardugo

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
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.

5 Stars
When my friend first recommended this book to me, I thought her ardor was a bit exaggerated. See, I read Bardugo's previous novels, the Shadow and Bone series, three years ago, but ended up dropping the final installment out of disinterest. Don't get me wrong, the first two books were relatively good, but to be blunt I don't have any feelings associated with them.

So despite my friend's extreme enthusiasm, and despite the unanimous positive reviews flooding the book's Goodreads page, I began Six of Crows with a critical attitude and low expectations. (Because if there's one thing you learn as a book reviewer, it's that you should never believe the hype.) I'd say within the first chapter, this attitude disappeared. I found myself savoring every page, every chapter of this compulsively readable novel.

The plot was so intelligently crafted. There were twists and turns in every chapter, and I didn't find myself zoning out once because I was just so engaged in the heist. Nine times of ten, I dread reading books with alternating POVs, especially not ones with five point of views, but I quite liked how it was handled in Six of Crows. I didn't once feel the urge to skim a character's chapter because I preferred another's POV over theirs. This probably lends itself to the fact that I loved each and every member of the Dregs; Kaz (insert gross teenage swooning here), Inej, Matthias, Jesper, Nina, and Wylan. Each had their own little charms and weaknesses and stories. You'd think it'd be a bit overbearing with such a large cast of main characters, but Bardugo juggled them exceptionally well.

My memory of the Grisha trilogy is a bit fuzzy, but I do recall not caring for the writing style. Not the case in this book. Bardugo has evidently matured as an author and has mastered the art of storytelling; and for that she has my utmost admiration.

ALSO: CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE FEMALE CHARACTERS SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I JUST ADORE THEM SO MUCH. PROPS TO THE AUTHOR FOR CREATING FEMALE PROTAGONISTS THAT AREN'T DEPENDENT ON A MAN, NOR ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO PROVE THEMSELVES TO OTHER MEN. Sorry for the bold and capitalization, but I just feel so passionate about this. Writers tend to lean towards two extremes when writing female characters in fantasy novels; they either make them extremely badass and shove this badassery down the readers' throat, or make them pawn after a love interest for 90% of the narrative. Six of Crows does not fall into either category, and that elicits a hallelujah from me. Inej and Nina are two amazingly written heroines who are neither dependent on the male cast, nor are they so unrealistically "badass" that it is their only notable quality. They are individuals of Kaz's crew, treated as equals, with their own talents and roles. Nina is outspoken and feminine. Inej is reserved and extremely strong. Together, they have a friendship that is wholesome and one of mutual support. t must add that I do not love them merely because they do not fall prey to character tropes, but also because they are such talented and intelligent women that I cannot help but adore them.

As you can see, I cannot hold myself back from singing praises for this book. And all those five star reviews? Not exaggerating. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of fantasy (heh. Fan, FANtasy. No? Okay.) read this book; you won't regret it. It is a book with a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, and considering my mindset prior to reading Six of Crows, that's quite a feat. Overall, very well-deserving of the hype, and I'm itching to read the next installment.

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