Jan 5, 2016

Six of Crows (Six of Crows 1)

NAME book cover

by Leigh Bardugo
book review rating 4.5 out of 5

“I HAVE BEEN made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.”

Wow and damn! Rarely have I been so enraptured by a story that I’m completely taken by my want/desire/need to read it. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is one of those books that demands all of my attention—consumes my every thought. I couldn't stop reading it. Responsibilities could wait; everything must wait.

The truth of the matter is that I had no intention of reading Six of Crows—ever. I know! The hype surrounding this book was insane, and I tend to have poor experiences with buzz books, so I avoid them. Unbeknownst to me, the Grishaverse had other intentions.

As I was perusing through my local Barnes & Noble, I “happened” to find myself in the YA section of the store. Total accident, truly. ;) My eyes panned across the floor of all the beautiful books on display when it stopped abruptly at Six of Crows. This book stood out amongst all the rest. It looked rather sinister with its black, ink-stained paper edges. The high contrast serif font with its loopty-loops against a black background whispered (queue the Gollum voice), “Take me home...my precious.” I didn’t intend to buy it but it was visually so stunning that the designer in me thought, If anything, it’ll look good in my library. Silly me…for within these pages will be one of the greatest stories I will ever read.

In the bustling trading city Ketterdam, criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker—Dirtyhand—is offered a chance that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. There is one catch, however. He must extract a Shu scientist with the knowledge to destroy the world from the Ice Court—an impenetrable system no one has accomplished…yet. But, Kaz cannot do this alone. He recruits some of the deadliest villains: Inej, the Wraith; Jesper, a sharpshooter; Nina, a Heartrender; Matthias, a warrior turned convict; and Wylan, a runaway with a privileged past. Can Kaz and his team of thieves and thugs save the world from destruction? Or will they end up killing each other first?

I was captivated by the unique world that Ms. Bardugo created. It’s rich and imaginative, with an unsettling and haunting vibe that is quite appealing. It’s a dark world that breeds complex characters with even darker pasts. Namely, Kaz Brekker, he is an anti-hero and an enigma, with a vulnerability that only one person has been able to touch—Inej. She is the Wraith; she is his compass. This is the start of their exciting story full of danger with hints of an attraction. I wanted so much more from them, preferably hot flaming passion, but their affection is rather cool and reserve in this first installment.

The characters are phenomenal and the storyline is written to match. There is enough plot twists to make the brain scramble to catch up. Six of Crows is a fast-pasted and thrilling page-turner. The small victories that were achieved when Kaz and his team managed to outsmart and outmaneuver their enemies were so entertaining and gripping. Though, there were still plenty of misfortunes and miscalculations to keep me on the edge of my seat and thirsty for more. I couldn’t tell which way the tide would flow.

I absolutely love this book and am sorry I’m unable to give it a 5-star. I want to. Unlike ARCs, which I can look past writing errors, this is a verifiable purchased book à la B&N. And like all purchases, I like it to be in mint condition. To encounter errors such as “Jesper must have already raised the the signal,” was something I couldn’t overlook.

Other than this technicality, Six of Crows is epic! It does end on a cliffhanger that is not totally unexpected, but the climax was so riveting that my heart landed in the pit of my stomach. One thing is for certain; I will be eagerly waiting for Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows 2). In the meantime, I will be devouring The Grisha trilogy.

LET'S HAVE A CHAT: Do you think an attractive cover is crucial in the overall reading experience? What is your favorite cover art?

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