Six of Crows By: Leigh Bardugo
The young adult fantasy genre tends to fall back on some familiar tropes: white, heterosexual teens have some great responsibility thrust onto them and they, along with a ragtag gang of one-dimensional sidekicks, must defeat some evil. Well, that’s not Six of Crows. The title comes from six members of a gang (an actual, deadly, well-organized gang) in the fictional port city of Ketterdam. Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker, the second-in-command and criminal genius of the Dregs, takes up an offer from merchant Jan van Eck to break into a neighboring country’s palace-the Fjerdan Ice Court-to capture a scientist whose inventions would be extraordinarily dangerous in the wrong hands. In order to pull the plan off, he needs the best team he can find. There’s Inej, the spy known as “the Wraith” whom Kaz rescued from a brothel and can move around with the stealth they need to break in. There’s Jesper, the dark-skinned sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a bet. Nina is a grisha corporalki, one who has the ability to control other people’s bodies, and Matthias is a Fjerdan boy who’s been trained his whole life to hunt people like her. Wylan, who’s a demolitions expert, joined the dregs to escape a privileged past but might need to confront his darkest secret. If the six of them can manage to pull off Kaz’s nearly impossible plan without killing each other first, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams.
My favorite part of this book is how well Bardugo developed each character. She tells the story with a rotating point of view, which lets the reader truly get to know them, along with the entire world of Ketterdam and the Ice Court. And even though the early plot follows the typical “heist novel” structure, it ends with wild twists and turns that lead in perfectly to the sequel. Oh, and also? If you’re looking for your next Netflix binge, it’s being turned into an original series with some of Bardugo’s other works, coming out in April.