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Friday, November 6
Six of Crows
My rating: ★★★★★
Publisher: Henry Holt
Date of publication: September 29, 2015
Age: Grades 8 and up
Themes: thievery, camaraderie, revenge, science/magic
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. His recruits his crew carefully: a convict with a thirst for revenge; a sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager; a runaway with a privileged past; a spy known as the Wraith; a Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums; and a thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
It's like Ocean's Eleven in a kick-butt fantasy world. But SO MUCH better. This may all come as a surprise, given my less-than-stellar review for Bardugo's other series, The Grisha Trilogy. Technically, I liked her writing, just not the story. And I was a little skeptical of this, because it's technically a companion novel. So imagine my happiness at discovering a down-right fantastic story.
First, the format: Bardugo tells the story through alternating points-of-view each chapter—switching between five of the crew members. Five different POVs could get confusing, but in this case, it works wonders. Not only does this narrative provide intimate depth and detail for each character, but actually moves the plot along quite rapidly, making it hard to put down.
Speaking of characters, they're EXCELLENT. Each have their history recalled through various flashbacks during the story, providing needed depth and understanding without detracting/distracting from the story in the least. Kaz Brekker is my favorite hands down because he is simply fascinating. Multi-layered, talented, scarred, cruel, broken, and just believable. I don't want to say too much because it will give stuff away, but man, he is a beast.
Also, can I just say that the romance in the story was spot on. Which is to say, there are hints of it, due to shared pasts between characters, but none of the insta-romances or random love scenes that seem to pop up in other YA books. It acts as a motivator in a believable way, not a reader pleaser.
Finally, and what I probably appreciate the most: the ending wraps up enough but leaves the reader wanting the sequel. It's not a total drop-off cliffhanger (which seems to be the trend nowadays, UGH), but not a perfectly tied up package either.
It's just brilliant.
There, it's all summed up in three words. Go and read; it is extremely well done. I can't even think of a good readalike. So you'll just have to read this and understand.
Warning: Explicit Content
Find it at your library or on Amazon