Review of KINDLE Ebook Six of Crows – Book 1 of the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo #Brainfluffbookreview #SixofCrowsbookreview


Yeah – I know, I know… Everyone in the galaxy has read this book and most of them – except the aliens lurking on Io – absolutely loved it. So I hesitated – partly because I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it and partly because I wasn’t sure I’d have anything meaningful to say about it when I came to review it, given all those folks in the galaxy got there before me…

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…

I’ll be honest – criminal underworld fantasy heist adventures aren’t my go-to genre. I’ve enjoyed the likes of Scott Lynch’s The Gentleman Bastards Sequence – the first three and a bit, anyhow – and Daniel Polansky’s Low Town series is one of my all-time favourites – see my review of The Straight Razor Cure here. But I’ve begun too many books in this genre, only to abandon them when the filth, abject poverty and violence got too much. However, something about this one – including that amazing cover – was calling to me and I’m so very glad I gave in and eventually listened. It takes technical skill to keep this number of protagonists as viewpoint characters without one of them being skimmed, yet Bardugo pulls off this feat, so that we get to know each main member of the gang – why they’ve ended up as part of Ketterdam’s criminal underclass and what their particular role is supposed to be.

Inevitably, the plan put in place by the cold, calculating Kaz doesn’t run all that smoothly and under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have cared all that much, but I fell for Inej, or the Wraith, which is her gang nickname. I wanted her to be able to move on and resume a better life for herself. And then, once we are pulled right into the heart of the story, Bardugo reveals hidden layers of the main character in the middle of plot – ‘Dirtyhands’ Kaz, himself. It’s very well done. The character development throughout the story is masterfully handled – you only have to read a handful of reviews to realise these characters matter to readers.

And I haven’t even started on the plot, yet. Because for a book in this sub-genre to really work, we need to have a clear idea of what’s at stake, what the plan actually is, how it goes wrong and what happens next… There are any number of places where an author can slip up during the delivery of a novel in a criminal underworld fantasy adventure – and I’m not particularly forgiving of a lot of them. I don’t like it when the plot wanders, or one character takes over, or a romance blossoms right in the middle of what should be an action adventure story, or the major climax isn’t so major after all. So I regularly abandon books which have committed these crimes, unfinished and of course, unreviewed.

Six of Crows deftly skips around all these potential pitfalls as if they don’t exist. Every single requirement is triumphantly nailed such that this one became increasingly difficult to put down. And once I finally finished it, I suffered from book hangover so that I struggled to find something else I wanted to read – this hardly ever happens to me! So, at the risk of sounding like everyone else in the universe, except for those embittered, six-legged critters on Io, this is an excellent read and very highly recommended to… well – anyone with a pulse, really.

30 responses »

  1. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy Crooked Kingdom if/when you get around to it.

    Polansky is one of my favourites. I need to read the rest of his books (only read ‘The Straight Razor Cure’ and ‘The Builders’). Will check your review of Straight Razor Cure out.

  2. I’m officially the last person who hasn’t read this! I’m glad you loved it, I have a copy on my shelf somewhere, so I’ll have to prioritize it at some point😁

  3. I was so excited to get a copy of this and yet it still sits on my kindle. After your thrilling review and rating, it’s now been added to my read soon list! It will not get buried again! LOL

  4. Everyone’s read it , except me . 😓 I must find another planet to inhabit , where I won’t be the only one not read this book

  5. Finally! a book one of something. Your review is very compelling, and after your recommendation of the Broken Earth series by Jamisin, I trust your taste completely–and a 10 out of 10, oh my! I am about to start the third book of Broken Earth as the “R” in my Alphabet Challenge continuation soon. Thanks many, many times for recommending this wonderful author whom I would have never found without your direction. Am going to look into this series as well. TY, Friend.

    • I very much enjoyed it – and as I’ve mentioned, it isn’t my go-to genre. Hope you manage to get to it at some stage – though I know only too well about the teetering TBR pile…

  6. If it makes you feel better, I have not read this book – yet – despite the fact that it’s been sitting on my reading queue since… well, forever: I kept moving it down the queue when some other title looked at me pleadingly 😀 😀 And I’m so easily distracted….
    But now, thanks to your review, I want to make amends – and a good heist story is exactly what I might need in the very, very near future. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, well I’m like you were and haven’t managed to read this although I plan to read it. It is on the current audible sale but also available at the library although only in ebook. I especially like fantasy on audiobook; it makes it easier if the narrator is good for me to sink into the world. Excellent review!

  8. I also haven’t read this one, I think I have one of the author’s other books on my shelf tough. It does really feel like one of those series almost everyone has read. The character development sounds really well done and that’s great the story avoids all the pitfalls you normally look out for in a book like this. Great review! I might pick it up eventually.

  9. Apparently, I’m one of the few who haven’t read it yet, and to be honest, I likely won’t. Back when the book came out, my friend made me aware of issues with logic of the story which would likely be a deal breaker for me, so I’m steering clear despite glowing reviews. But I’m glad you enjoyed the book :).

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