Six of Crows #1 (Leigh Bardugo)

A Saturday Update

Six of Crows is a story of six bandits coming together to pull off a heist.

The story is written in third person objective with each chapter in one of the 6 bandits point of views.

NO SPOILERS

It’s actually pretty hard to spoil this book when the book’s synopsis really has everything you need to know.

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.

Okay but I’ll spoil one thing: the name of the six bandits (not much of a spoiler).

Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina, Matthias

Click here for my review on Crooked Kingdom

22 Feb 2018, pg64

I started on this book with no inkling of the Grisha world which is the setting for this book. And trust me, the sheer number of characters and otherworldly things that are introduced in the first two chapters distressed me. And the fact that everyone and everything have names that are hard to pronounce made it so much more difficult to get into.

But damn did I like Kaz from the moment he surfaced. The only thing that’s bothering me is how he’s 17. Hm. And he’s not the only one. It does feel like too many prodigies of 17-years-old all congregated at the same location. But Kaz 🙂

He’s a grey character that relishes being black.

23 Feb 2018, pg334

Look, I can’t put this book down. This book is great. I love every freaking chapter of this book. It’s so wonderfully planned, plotted and executed. But I’m not going to lie, it was quite hard to get into until pg 153 out 491. Up until pg 153, you just have to trust the characters. You don’t know where the plot is going, you don’t know much about these characters other than they are all hiding something and have something worth sticking around to find out, you’re also bit iffy about the whole heist thing but just trust the characters. I implore you. Just trust the characters. Cause these are characters that are pretty nice to read! Their backstories are interwoven so seamlessly into the plot. I don’t think the reveals are plot twists but the reveals about the characters are really worth it. Every reveal is something so important yet so seamless because it’s always been there and I just didn’t notice. Damn. And god I love all the relationships in this. Everyone is the main character. The six people involved in the heist, they are all such well-developed characters. I’m really loving the unlikely relationships and friendships in this book. Ohmygawd. I can’t begin to even. Gah.

Nina and Matthias. I didn’t like either of them at their introductions because you see them for what they represent themselves as and I don’t like them. These characters and the rest are all not likeable at the moment you see them. They’re only slightly understandable when you get to know them. And as you get to know them – you don’t have to like them, you won’t, but – their character traits are all very understandable. And I do love Nina and Matthias hate/love relationship. I actually love Matthias. He’s an honest character. You can definitely read Matthias by his face, I’m sure. And I love his name too. Matthias Helvar. ‘Helvar’ just has a nice strong ring to it. I just can’t picture him as the blonde that he is. Hah. And Nina. Nina reminds me of Queenie Goldstein from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but just more femme and a hell lot more fatale.

Inej and Kaz. C’mon kiss already. Hahaha. No. I kid. I actually don’t want these two to end up together. I can see that they have a connection. But I don’t want them to be together. They need each other sure, but they can’t be with each other. It’s not good for either of them. I’m going to say it: Kaz does not deserve Inej. I mean I like Kaz but I don’t know. I know he likes her and he trusts her more than anyone else in the world. But I also feel like he’s waiting for Inej to backstab him. You know? Just to prove that he shouldn’t have let his guard down with her, that everyone is the same. But yes, I love why Kaz chose Inej to be his trusted aide. That was so smart and so Kaz-like.

But a special shoutout to Kaz. He is one slick, smart son of a gun. I hate him. I mean in no world do I think he’s a good guy. In no world, do I think he deserves sympathy because whatever he chooses to do, is something he CHOOSES to do. He chooses the dark side. He knows it too. All of these characters are not good guys. But these guys know where their loyalties lie. They know what their goals are. So even though they’re trash people, they have principles, they have goals, they have causes to fight for. Hence, I can actually root for them even if I don’t like them. Is Kaz’s goal money? And I know I’ve mentioned time and time again I hate villains whose cause is money, but Kaz’s goal just feels like trickery to me. I think he wants to prove that he’s the best conman in the world and especially after we find out what happened in his past, it seems probable. Yea. People paying him to do jobs is just to inconvenience them.

But Kaz does get very evil at some point. Or at least at some point in the book there’s a gory torture/murder scene by Kaz that I was not ready for. I literally said out, ‘oh fuck, wait, woah, I was not ready for this’ and I had it annotated. I mean it does set the tone for Kaz. He is trash. But a fine piece of trash that sticks to his own wayward principles. The person he is allows the group to function. As trash as he is, he is honourable amongst thieves. He keeps his word. That’s why everyone looks up to him. And although he keeps his word, I also find that Kaz will always put himself first which is why he keeps secrets despite the high-risk heist.

And I’ve also been looking at the negative reviews for this book. And I can get why. Someone pointed out the fact that they are all around 17. I get it. But as the story goes on, as you start to understand the fears each of these bandits in this group of bandits have, the way they talk, the way they feel, you start to see the 17-year-old in them peeking out. For example, when Inej is hurt and Kaz goes to see her and they start talking and start bickering, Inej asks why Kaz even bothered to talk to her and Kaz thinks to himself ‘…been looking for an excuse to talk to you for two days…’ this is such a YA thing. A confused adult who doesn’t know what to do with his feelings would say this out. A confused teen who doesn’t know what to do with his feelings keeps it in (in my opinion). There are so many short exchanges that would have been ridiculous if they were adults. But I have to agree. There are many long exchanges where these guys sound much older. Will I accrue it to their pasts that have been filled with war, poverty, crime, betrayal?  To some extent yea. But I’d like to think, these guys talk very mature when they are with older people in the room, when it’s just the six of them, they delve into their 16/17/18-year-old selves. And that makes it understandable, in a way. But also every one of these youngsters are prodigies at 16/17/18, it does require some level of suspension of belief. But I do believe youngsters are getting smarter nowadays. I see all the younger than 10-years-old prodigies on Ellen Degeneres. Not impossible. So I let it pass. It might have helped if some of their antagonists were their own age too. Sure the antagonists for our band of bandits had an army that employed 17/18-year-olds but the story didn’t have actual real 17/18-year-old antagonists who plotted antagonism on their own which just makes our band of bandits just more unlikely.

The other concern I saw was with the descriptive nature of this book. Not going to lie, much of this book’s settings were lost on me. It was really descriptive. And plus the fact that there are a lot of Grisha terminology I can’t pronounce… The places are quite hard to imagine. I created my own settings based on the description that I could understand. I don’t think I was far off. But anyway I feel the story is in the characters. As a plot-driven reader, I swear, the only reason I care about the heist is because I care about what these characters are going to do when shit hits the fan. I care about the characters more than the heist.

There are others that say the characters and their backstories are mundane and don’t make them feel anything.

giphy6

Lol. I have nothing to say to this. Hahaha. Sad. I feel like the characters backstories are true to their characteristics, so it just works for me. They might/are stereotypical in a sense. I can see it. But their characters are true enough. (Except for the one time Nina just dumbed down for a chapter nearing the end)

24 Feb 2018, pg491 (finished)

Hi. Okay. So I was in the beginning stages of the heist yesterday, today I got to the middle. And damn, I don’t like the heist much. My visualisation skills are so terrible. I don’t understand. I got the main things down. Like what’s going to blow, who has to do what. But I don’t understand how it’s done. The group gets split up a lot and they come together a lot and I can’t comprehend how. I just have to let go and enjoy. Well, I did exactly that. What I loved all throughout the book was the changing point of views but when it got to the heist, I’m not going to lie, I just felt the changing point of views at some instances were a little jarring. Because the different point of views is description of the same instant. I would have rather, one person’s point of view and their point of view of someone else’s action rather than having everyone’s point of view of everyone’s action during the same duration of time. But that’s just me. There were a couple more reveals nearing the end that I liked. I won’t call them plot twists. Because it’s really just information that’s always been there. It’s like what Kaz says “The easiest way to steal a man’s wallet is to tell him you’re going to steal his watch. You take his attention and direct it where you want it to go.” So what you really want to know is how the steal is done. And the reveals are nice. It adds depth to the plot. I like it.

But the heist did get a little tiresome. And I have a personal pet peeve with how Nina trusted the Fjerdan Commander so quickly. I don’t understand why she wasn’t more cautious. I wished it was part of her plan. I wished she saw through it.

I loved Inej’s climb in the hot place. I loved all that she was feeling.

I also did love that tank scene! That poetic closure with the flag on the tank!!! And the tank fight scene with the army. I wished it went on a little longer.

I loved Jesper’s internal conflict nearing the end of the book. Damn. That was just… Damn.

I also ship Jesper and Wylan together by the way. They’re hella cute.

The final doublecross was nothing unanticipated. Even Kaz would have anticipated it. But I like the way it flowed. I like how the doublecross happened.

And the novel did end on a good cliffhanger.

Can’t wait for the Crooked Kingdom!

But I must say, I don’t feel that invested. I feel like more crazy things are going to happen. But because I have a grasp of the characters involved with all the backstory in this book, I can’t say I’m that eager to read the sequel immediately. Sure, I’d like to know how everything plays out in the sequel cause I’m sure there’ll be good reveals. But….. I know these characters. Unless you tell me, Kaz will actually lose, then I would be really invested in reading Crooked Kingdom. With this, I realise I might never get around to reading a trilogy or a series, maybe even a duology. Standalone FTW.

But I went back to Goodreads. Gahaha. And I didn’t realise until someone pointed out, one of the six bandits did not have a chapter in his point of view. I guess it might have affected the finale to have his point of view. But that’s still sad. I actually like his character. Hahaha. But it’s okay.

One Goodreads user suggested that this book is good for a beginner but not for someone well versed in the high fantasy market. Well, I can’t argue with that. I actually don’t like high fantasy. I don’t like the length of high fantasy novels for the most part. I didn’t read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy which builds the Grisha world which would have been ideal before picking up the Six of Crows duology mainly cause it’s a trilogy and I won’t be picking it up in the future just because it’s a trilogy. I’m sorry. But yea, I’m not a high fantasy reader.

Also, I guess people went into the book wanting the heist story. How the characters are going to pull off an amazing heist. I guess that might cause some people to be disappointed. I went in wanting the characters’ stories. I went into this book for the unlikely friendships and relationships. So there’s that.

All in all, 4.5. Although I have issues with what happened near the end of the heist and just really how the heist went in general, I still love the characters, I just really love the way their backstories flowed into the main plot. I am pleased.

giphy7

Over and out.

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