Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

9:40 PM

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Rating: ★★★★★

We are all someone's monster.

First, you should know that I am severely hungover from this book and its final pages and I need to get my hands on the second one immediately. A-ha! Just kidding, I have it right next to me and I am going to dive into it literally the second after I finish my review for Six of Crows. So. What to say, what to say, what to say? Where to begin? Besides, "No mourners..." Let me just take a moment to praise Leigh Bardugo's ever evolving Grisha Verse. I could go on and on about how luscious and darkly intriguing Bardugo's world is but the fact of the matter is that no words can do it, or the author, justice.

There's so much depth in the way that Bardugo has gone on to develop the world we met originally in Shadow and Bone. Although Six of Crows is set in the very same world, and readers will be happy to spot various references to favourite characters of the past, it is undeniably a story of its own. Everything about Six of Crows was frantic heartbeats and tense curiosity. Think: the thrilling fantasy of Grisha Verse, the original trilogy's magical twists of smoke, all of that world building and romance and intrigue, mixed with a cast of new characters who are fleshed out beautifully. Add in a sprinkle of a high-stakes heist that all but spells disaster from the very beginning and you have the formula for one of the best YA fantasy novels, ever.

Because I loved the previous trilogy so much, I knew I was going to at the very least enjoy this one. I hate to admit this--and perhaps it isn't 100% so--but Six of Crows is far superior to Shadow and Bone. While I am certain I will be rereading both in the future, I think that, already, Six of Crows is on the brink of obsession for me. When you hear fans whispering about how much Bardugo's writing has improved, you are still not prepared for it. She was already a phenomenal talent within the first introduction to this world but Six of Crows is, without a doubt, her best yet.

As per usual: the magical setting is pure fire. I loved that we explored some new grounds. I loved the new characters (and the brief mentions of Zoya, too, and the familiar terms of this world) SO MUCH. I especially (unsurprisingly) loved Kaz, Inej and Nina the most.

While Shadow and Bone had so many fantastic characters, that were developed beautifully, there is just something about Six of Crows gets under your skin in the best ways. It is superior to the previous series set in this world, which is rough to say because I still adore them and their stories too. But in the case of Six of Crows, it's all the more breathtaking. You love these characters. They come to life before your eyes and are developed so intricately, you're left feeling as though they are your friends.

I can't wait to learn more about the group--the crew--more in the concluding novel. I loved hearing about Nina and Matthias' backstory; Nina as an individual. I felt a little let down by Matthias at times but he wasn't altogether insufferable, though he is my least favourite as of now. They certainly have a lot of chemistry that is equally confusing and appealing.

Let's talk Kaz. I wasn't expecting to flat out adore him, mainly because I had an idea in my head of who he was going to be. Mainly because fandom has been gushing over him since the book was first released and I was like, "Oh. I'm sure he's just going to be another Darkling." (As if there would ever be another Darkling.) but boy, boy, boy. I was wrong. I'll admit it. I loved hearing the pieces of his backstory and learning about the drive he has to seek out revenge against the man who wronged him and his brother years prior to the novels events.

All it took was the first moments we meet him--seeing him in his natural way, seeing how his mind ticks and how quick he is to manipulate a situation, seeing all his moral grayness and still, somehow, knowing all his goodness, really made me love him INSTANTLY.

And his connection with Inej? Literally, the driving force of the books romantic corner. There's some flirtation between two other characters (!Wylan and Jesper!)--and Nina and Matthias have their own little backstory--but the main attraction (ha!) is between Kaz and Inej. How can I ship two characters so much? Well, if you've read Six of Crows... you just know. Especially after that ending.

I love Wylan, by the way. My smol child deserves better than that POS father of his and I won't get into his plot line really because it's a smaller part of the novel and definitely one you should live out in reading it. I want more of his relationship with the crew and of course with Jesper (who, as it happens, I'd like to know more about too) and... well, just more of him.

I can't say I have ever read a book like this before.

In theory, all stories follow a similar outline or bounce between the same archetypes, but there's something undeniably unique about Six of Crows and this is what makes it so striking against its genre-mates.

There is so much to be seen and said in the novel; it makes the story go by quickly and feel less than its actual length.

You go quickly through the motions--embracing each of the character's tense moments, drowning in their thoughts and interactions with one another. It's not unlike going on adventures with people you truly connect with. Which sounds cheesy in theory, but it is what it is. The second you put it down, you just feel this heavy interest tugging at you and saying, "Want to know what happens next?"

Yes, book. I want to know what happens next.

Six of Crows is a force of nature that will stay with readers long after they finish. Perfect for fans of YA fantasy. Checklist for reading the book: settle in for the night, because you aren't moving until you finish.

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