book review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt & Co, 2015

I was so afraid that I was going to dislike this book and that I’d be ostracized from the bookish community, but my trepidation about Six of Crows was all for naught. This was just as awesome as everyone says it is.

I’ll have to admit, I had a slow start with Six of Crows. Here’s where I clarify for those who are not familiar with my reading habits: I do not read a lot of fantasy. So when I’m thrown into a world with all sorts of new vocabulary to learn with such a large array of characters, I’m a little unmoored, to say the least. Leigh Bardugo integrates her invented vocabulary seamlessly into the narrative without pausing to explain what everything means – you’re able to discern the meaning through context, and it’s expertly done. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been thinking ‘wait, I’m dumb, though, can’t you just explain it?!’ on more than one occasion. It probably took me longer than it should have to figure out just what a Grisha is, exactly.

But I think at about 20% it really began to hit its stride, and my confusion finally abated. Before I knew it, I was completely sucked into this fast-paced, exciting adventure, and I fell in love with this group of flawed yet compelling characters. Notable to me were Kaz and Inej, two of the most complex and intriguing and heartbreaking characters that I’ve ever encountered in YA lit, Kaz in particular. He’s the first character who really grabbed me in this story, and I just fell more and more in love with him as his devastating backstory was slowly revealed.

The twists in this book were all kinds of exciting. Bardugo keeps the tension high, and every time it looks like things are finally, finally going to turn out okay, another obstacle arises. It never gets monotonous, though, because the stakes are high enough that you’re constantly holding your breath for a positive outcome.

4.5 stars just because of my difficulty getting into it at the beginning (but again, that’s more down to my incompatibility with this genre than Leigh Bardugo’s storytelling, which I admit was technically very well done). I ended up loving this, and I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom.

13 thoughts on “book review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. I knew you’d love Kaz! That backstory of his is BRUTAL. Tbh when I started the book I was like…”who does this guy think he is?? He’s a great character but no way is this book going to get me to like him.” And then by the end I was like …….KAZ 😥 😥 😥

    I always think of that part when he gouges out that guy’s eye on the ship and Wylan starts gagging- because first: same, Wylan. And second, WOW. I think that’s when I realized Bardugo was going to be merciless with these books and it’s so great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god that’s so funny because I loved him immediately and I literally had the thought ‘this is not the sort of character that I’m supposed to love at this point, is it. Oops.’ I’m laughing at you and Hadeer both saying you knew I’d love Kaz, that’s amazing. I’m so predictable!

      AHH HIS BACKSTORY SLAYED ME like every time you think the whole story’s been told IT JUST GETS WORSE

      Omg YES I loved how merciless this book was! You know me, I’m all about that dark fiction. Even the ending, like, I was SO upset with the cliffhanger but I also secretly love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kaz is like the Ultimate Angsty Mastermind and I love him so much hahaha. And I wasn’t surprised that you liked Inej so much either!! She’s one of my favorites.

        One of my only criticisms of Six of Crows is that I do wish the characters were a bit older, at least in their later teens or early 20s. I always forget that Kaz is only 17??? And Inej is 16 I think?

        I think you’ll really like Crooked Kingdom, that book stressed me out so much omg. SoC seemed bad and then I started reading CK and basically screamed my whole way through the book.


  2. I don’t know if you know that Six of Crows follows Bardugo’s other trilogy that takes place in the same world, but anyway, what I wanted to say is having read all of her work you can just see how much she’s improved from her first series to this one, in terms of both writing and plotting. The way she planned the heist and the way she kept upping the stakes was so clever!

    Also, I totally agree that the book started off a bit slow! It definitely takes some time to build itself up, especially for someone who is coming into this not having read Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. But hooray, I’m so happy you like this! I knew you’d love Kaz! He is such an incredible character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH yes I meant to acknowledge that in my review and say that I hadn’t read her Grisha trilogy before this, but I think that’s kind of obvious from what I wrote, haha. But that’s great that it was such an improvement! I’m kind of tempted to give those books a try at some point but I also just have a feeling they probably won’t really be my thing.

      Ohhh that’s actually great to hear that you also thought it started slow! I really chalked it up to my unease with the genre, but yeah, the plot didn’t really start happening for quite a while there.

      OMG I’m laughing at you and Stephanie both saying you knew I’d love Kaz. I am so goddamn predictable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was in the same boat as you, but I’m so glad I finally bit the bullet and read it. My advice is just to power through the first 20% – you’ll probably think ‘what have I gotten myself into??’ but after that it is SUPER entertaining!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was like you in that everyone in the bookish community had read the Six of Crows duology…bar me. And when I decided to read it I was afraid the hype would hold it back, but I totally agree that it is AWESOME! I loved it and I ended up reading both books this month as I just had to read Crooked Kingdom.
    P.S. it gets better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh I still haven’t started Crooked Kingdom, I’m trying to catch up on a couple of things I need to read more urgently (from Netgalley etc) but I am dying to get to it! I’m so excited to hear that it’s even better. It was so fantastic to read a book that exceeded my expectations even with the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I get that haha!
        Absolutely, I think this has been the first book that has exceeded my expectations despite the hype. Have fun reading Crooked Kingdom when you get around to it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, I admit that I too often approach hyped books with unrealistic expectations and end up thinking ‘what, that was it?’

        Thanks! I’m hoping to get around to it in the next couple of weeks – I’ll most likely post a review once I finish!

        Liked by 1 person

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