Synopsis: Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done - and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first.
Sounds interesting right? Well it is. I really loved this book, not only was it really well written but the characters are wonderfully unique and the story incredibly exciting. I will admit that I wasn’t sucked into it immediately though and I can’t quite put my finger on why. The first chapter is incredibly exciting, the author drops us right in the action and gives us a great sense of who our main characters are, but for some reason, I put the book down after two chapters in and had a hard time picking it back up. I’m so glad I did though as the story only gets better from there. This story offers unique characters, rich world building, and well placed action scenes but it is definitely a character driven book. If you are looking for a story that’s character focused, this is the book for you.
One of the main reasons that I was excited about reading this book is because I knew that Bardugo had a cast of six characters that I’d heard were incredibly well loved by her fan base. As I have a group of five characters in the book that I’m writing I wanted a good example of creating unique characters while balancing spotlight time. Leigh Bardugo does this fairly well; my only complaint was that she would sometimes break into long flashback scenes that got a bit tiresome. Those were the moments I felt the book slowed down to almost a screeching halt. Though relevant to the story, as the reader, I just wanted to keep with the forward momentum instead of continuing to get dragged to the past.
I found there was a big difference in character development between Six of Crows and the Grisha trilogy. Perhaps Bardugo was a young writer when she was publishing the Grisha novels but honestly Alina and Mal are cardboard cutouts compared with our Dregs gang. Each member has their own quirks, flaws, and strengths that set them apart from one another. In reading each of their perspectives, you could easily tell who was talking, their voices were so clear. Though this was written in third person vs first (like my book) a great takeaway here is character voice. You can tell that the author went to great lengths to develop back stories and cultural background/belief systems on each of her characters.
Overall, this was superb writing. Everything about it was so well crafted it was almost too perfect, if that makes sense? One thing I will say is this book falls solidly in the YA genre in regards to adult content. It’s very clean even though our characters are a bunch of low life thieves and scammers. There is next to no sexual content and very minimal language though there are a fair share of bloody battle scenes. I’m interested to see how the story progresses in these areas in the next book, Crooked Kingdom. As a writer, I don’t think I’ve read a better crafted YA novel than this one, so go check it out!
Until next time, here’s a quote from the book to get you through:
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows