this week i read an ARC called "Six of Crows" and oh, sweet baby Jesus, it was glorious!
let’s all just start worshiping Leigh Bardugo because my, oh my, has she written something so wonderful, so amazing, that she must be a book god.
seriously, guys, she has outdone herself. (how??! i loved her Grisha Trilogy so much already!) she blew me away. how do I even begin to share my love of this book with you guys? i had so so much fun while reading this book. i laughed, i cried, i got anxious, i panicked, i swooooned!
first, lets get some background! if you didn't know about, or you haven't read (how could you?!), the Grisha Trilogy, i will recommend you do. (it is so incredibly awesome!) the Grisha Trilogy takes place in Ravka and "Six of Crows" takes place in another country called Kerch but in order to grasp some of the characters (Nina!) i think you should read the Grisha Trilogy first. ofc you don't need to but hey, you could be missing out.
also, just a fyi for those who have read it, no we don't get to see our beloved characters but i didn't mind at all because we got SIX NEW AND INSANELY GOOD ONES!
so let's talk characters!
the convict! oh, Kaz Brekker. guys, you're gonna be head over heals for this little demjin! he is just the perfect batch of everything. the good, the bad, the sexy, the raspy voice, the sexy leather gloves, the cleverness!
"The boy they called Dirtyhands didn't need a reason any more than he needed permission—to break a leg, sever an alliance, or change a man's fortunes with the turn of a card."
Kaz is the leader of the Dregs, a gang in Ketterdam. he answers to his boss, Per Haskell, but basically, since the age of twelve, Kaz has been building himself a reputation as the most badass, scariest shit ever. He comes off with a very familiar vibe as another Bardugo character we love. . . but wait, i may love Kaz more! SAY WUT? yeah, i know. he also reminds me of Sherlock Holmes. he's clever and blunt and very careless towards other people's feelings. he's very much the anti-hero.
"A liar, a thief, and utterly without conscience."
then we have Jesper, the sharpshooter! oh, what a charmer! he was witty and a total stud. besides being very, very good with guns, Jesper is also a gambler. and he has his own problems, poor baby, but he sure does look at everything half full! basically he's another badass. then there's Wylan! aw! i adore Wylan so much. he was a bit nerdy and a total fish out of water. he comes from a wealthy family and trying to fit in with the Dregs is a bit hard for him! it was also hilarious for us!
"Why did you move out of your father's house?" Jesper asked.
"It was time," Wylan said tightly.
"Idealist? Romantic? Revolutionary?
"Idiot?" suggested Nina. "No one chooses to live in the Barrel if he has another option."
which leads me to Nina! ahhhh, my wonderful Nina! i love her so much. she's a Grisha, a Heartrender <3 her backstory is my favorite (right next to Kaz's) and what she's been through, i think, will have everyone falling in love with her. Nina is sexy, beautiful, and loves to eat and is a serious sweetheart! she was a part of the Second Army, um hello! can we say badass! she's fierce and loyal and so strong! basically, everything a great female character should be.
"Nina loved her country and loved her people. She still believed in the future of Ravka and in the Second Army."
and Bardugo does give us our fair share of strong female characters. Inej is just as magnificent as Nina <3 Inej is the spy of the group. deadly and beautiful. the Wraith, they call her. she is the retriever of secrets. and she's such a well-formed character (and i can't say more because the way Bardugo slowly lets the story unfold is an experience itself) but Inej is battling many demons on her own, past and present ones! i also love that she has a strong sense of faith! even though life has not been generous with her, Inej has a strong hold of her beliefs<3
"Tonight her Saints were kind—two men were firing on the docks with their backs to her. She dispatched them with two quick thrusts of her blades. Six bodies, six lives taken. She was going to have to do a lot of penance, but she'd helped even the odds a bit in the Dregs' favor."
AHH! bless Bardugo for female empowerment! and lastly, my sweet baby: Matthias! and i can't really say much because his entire reveal was SUCH a shocker. i just want to say he is the most purest, saddest, complex, sweetest character Bardugo has created. my poor, poor baby! every chapter of his was like a needle to the heart! small, excruciating, pins stabbing you. he went through such a inner fight from the moment we meet him! i love him so much!
"In the good dreams, he slammed her to the ground and throttled her, watching the life drain from her eyes, heart full of vengeance—finally, finally. In the bad dreams, he kissed her."
*starts sobbing* so there you have our six wonderfully diverse outcast! now onto the story!
in the very first chapter, we meet a Corporalnik, a Healer. she is forced to heal a little boy after his arm was intentionally cut. she heals him and everything is okay, but then she is forced to take a drug called jurda parem. and the little boy is cut again and this time she heals him faster than before—thanks to the drug. except that the drug also does something more than just amplify her powers! she gets new ones and then things go bat-shit crazy!
Kaz is then contracted by the Kerch Council (rich merchants and stuff) to infiltrate the Fjerdan's Ice Court! but ha! Kaz is all like, "i dont think so!" because the Ice Court has never ever been breached before and to try to break into it would be a suicide mission because the Fjerdan's are some scary ass people and all around seem freaking intimidating!
but the Kerch Council make an impossible to pass in the form of 20 million kruge, which is a ton of money! so Kaz, being the greedy bastard he is, accepts.
"He'd need a very specialized team, a desperate team that wouldn't balk at the real possibility that they'd never come back from this job."
so boom! the heist is set! things go the way they're planned, things don't go the way they're planned. there is a BUNCH of surprises and twist! oh so many clever, clever twist.
and there's romance! oh! the romance, the ships! i loved them allllllll! everything fell perfectly together. and every ship was beautifully developed, i think that may have been my favorite part.
the world building was marvelous. i feel like i can walk the streets of Ketterdam and tell you all about the coffeehouses, the taverns, the gangs, the Barrel! i was mesmerized by Fjerdan and their culture and their rituals. the druskelle were crazy but i liked learning about them very much.
i kept having dreams that i was in this world and it's because Bardugo's writing is impeccable. it all felt like a film playing inside my head. there is so much beauty in this book!
so, there you have it! if you haven't pre-ordered it already, what are you waiting for? i swear you're going to enjoy this baby.
you can read the first two chapters here!
thank you to Fierce Reads, Molly Brouillette, and Henry Holt and Company for the advance copy!<3