Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is the next pick from our book club. It is a beefy tome, but the story is engrossing. It overlaps genres, having elements of fantasy, heist, and a little bit of a steampunk vibe.
The story follows a group of teens who are part of a street gang. They each have unique skills, and they are commissioned to break into an impenetrable fortress and steal something. The leader, Kaz, agrees to take the job because they are being offered an immense sum of money, and they each have a pressing need for their share of the funds. They believe the money will give them power, freedom, or agency.
The story is violent. These teens are part of a gang, and they fight other gangs and get involved in other physical situations. There are two young women in the group, and they have both spent time in a brothel, though what goes on behind closed doors is not explicitly decribed that I recall. It is all implied, but it is not that difficult to connect the dots. What does stand out is that both girls are able to get out and, to some extent, choose their own path. Characters are also beaten up and shot. The world that they live in is not sugar-coated; characters kill and are killed.
As the adventure unfolds, readers learn a lot about the backstory of each character–what brought them to this place and time. Their childhoods are not easy; Kaz, in particular, goes through some serious trauma as a child that affects his ability to connect with other people. Characters are kidnapped and trafficked. There is bias and prejudice. In that sense, it isn’t that different from our own world–just much more gritty.
But the story rises above all of that. There are some slow spots, but when the action is high, it moves along really well, and you have to keep reading to see how it unfolds. It is definitely a young adult book, given some of the content, but adults can enjoy it too.
And now for Phoebe’s review!
Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, was an amazing book. It had been recommended to me before, and I had seen it several times in the bookstore, but I only just got around to reading it when it was selected for my book club. The story follows six characters, Kaz, Nina, Inej, Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan, through their journey to the Ice Court to commit a seemingly impossible crime.
The one thing that might be difficult for some readers is that each chapter is narrated by one of the characters. So, it is always switching point of view. I was familiar with the style from Rick Riordan’s series, so it wasn’t as hard to follow, but at times I did get a little lost.
I really enjoyed the girl power in this story. There are only two female characters, Nina and Inej, but they are very important to the story. Nina is a healer. She heals her friends when they are wounded, but she could also do the opposite, give people wounds. For example, at one point in the story, she snaps someone’s ribs. She is more trained in doing damage than healing, but she does heal at times in the story. Inej was probably my favorite character. She was known as “the Wraith.” She is Kaz’s (the leader of the group) secret gatherer. She is also stealthy, making her important during attacks.
The only negative thing that I have to say is that a good portion of the book is spent on a boat, the Ferolind. They are traveling to the Ice Court, and they spend a little too much time on the boat. I got a little bored with the story then because they couldn’t do much on the boat, and I just wanted them to get to their destination!
Overall, this was a really great book, and I am happy that I finally got to read it. This book doesn’t fall into one genre, it’s a little bit of steam-punk, a little bit of fantasy, and even a little bit of mystery. I think I will definitely read the sequel, and the author’s other books.