Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating for Both:
1) Plot & Pace
Here is a simple plot synopsis from Wikia, “Set in the same world as the Grisha Trilogy. The story focuses on the exploits of six characters: Kaz Brekker, a feared and respected member of The Dregs with an ax to grind against another gang’s leader; Inej Ghafa, a former indenture with a formidable talent for stealth and knife-wielding; Jesper Fahey, a serial gambler and sharpshooter; Nina Zenik, a Grisha Heartrender with a gift for languages; Matthias Helvar, a Fjerdan prisoner and former witch hunter; and Wylan Van Eck, the son of a wealthy mercher with skill at demolition. The plot of the first novel, Six of Crows, is driven by a heist into the impenetrable Ice Court, and the second, Crooked Kingdom, details a con against wealthy mercher Jan Van Eck and crime boss Pekka Rollins.” The pacing of these books is amazing. I honestly was never bored. I was constantly on edge and wondering what was coming next. This crew and their lives have been one bad thing after the next. You can’t help but root for them even if they are technically not the greatest of people (they are great to me.) The plots of both books are unique and a wild ride.
2) Writing & World-Building/Setting
Bardugo is truly a wonderful writer. She completely sucked me into this world and the lives of her characters. I was so invested so that ending really ripped my heart out. I became so immersed that I 100% need to read her other trilogy and anything else she writes. Ketterdam and this Grishaverse, in general, is so unique and stunning. Every place she described, even the ugly parts, were so vivid. I was transported to this world and I can’t wait to go back.
3) Characters & Development
The characters are some of the most lovable. They are all my favorite. Kaz is the love of my life. He is smart, ruthless, tough, and just the greatest. This is also really good disabled rep because Kaz is the leader of this ruthless gang and also disabled. Inej is my queen. She is so smart and Kaz is the biggest softie for her. I love her whole story and how far she’s come. Nina is just amazing. I can’t stand when fanart depicts her as a thin girl because Nina is all about her awesome curves and flaunts that body. It is so beautiful to see the body positivity she holds. She is bisexual and does not let anyone tell her what to do. Jasper my son can’t sit still. He has a problem with gambling but he is so loyal and one of the funniest people along with Nina. I don’t remember if it was stated that he was gay or bisexual but I think it was gay. His precious sunshine is Wylan and he is the CUTEST. Wylan is so shy and blushes a billion times and I want to pocket him. Matthew my dude deserved better (I am still heartbroken.) This man is a rule follower through and through but over time this group of people opens him up and he comes to care for them. They all had such great character development. Every one of them honestly grew as people. Kaz became a bit more open, for me, Inej came into her self more, Nina grew into her powers and became a strong woman, Jesper let go of his mistakes, Wylan learned to stand up for himself, and Matthias, as I said, learned to trust.
I love that the romance didn’t take over the story. The three couples were there but they were well paced and only came at moments that were necessary. It can be a pain when the romance overtakes the plot. That was not the case here. It was a backdrop to the story. Kaz and Inej were super slow burn to the point that we really didn’t even get a kiss is I remember. But it was just perfect because if you know both of their histories then their ending was just right. I shed a tear or two because it was perfect and I can’t wait to see how they are doing in that possible third book. Jesper and Wylan my sunshines. They were so cute and not as slow but not super fast either. We got a lot of flirty Jesper and blushing Wylan until it all exploded in beautiful bliss. Nina and Matthias were sexy and fun. She is outgoing and flirtatious and he is so serious and guarded. There was a lot of banter and angry flirting (they have a bit of bad blood.) Seeing his wall come down for her and the ending we got just hurt so much more. Bardugo really knows how to cut my heart open.
Six of Crows
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
““No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”
“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
“She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”
“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”
“Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.”
“What do you want then?”
The old answers came easily to mind. Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You.”
“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.”
“Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”
“I’m going to get my money, Kaz vowed. And I’m going to get my girl.”
“Brick by brick, I will destroy you.”
We’ll be Kings and Queens, Inej. Kings and Queens.”
“I’m the kind of bastard they only manufacture in the Barrel.”
“Matthias knew monsters, and one glance at Kaz Brekker had told him this was a creature who had spent too long in the dark – he’d brought something back with him when he’d clawled into the light.”
“You may still die in the Dregs.”
Inej’s dark eyes had glinted. “I may. But I’ll die on my feet with a knife in my hand.”
“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”
“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”
“She smiled then, her cheeks red, her cheeks scattered with some kind of dust. It was a smile he thought he might die to earn again.”
“How many times have you told me you’re a monster? So be a monster. Be the thing they all fear when they close their eyes at night.”
“I don’t hold a grudge. I cradle it. I coddle it. I feed it fine cuts of meat and send it to the best schools. I nurture my grudges, Rollins.”
“You don’t look like a monster.”
“I’ll tell you a secret, Hanna. The really bad monsters never look like monsters.”
“Suffering is like anything else. Live with it long enough, you learn to like the taste.”
“I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way.”
“They don’t know who we are. Not really. They don’t know what we’ve done, what we’ve managed together. So let’s go show them they picked the wrong damn fight.”
“My mother is Ketterdam. She birthed me in the harbor. And my father is profit. I honor him daily.”
“How about I bite your lip?”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.”
“That’s the laugh,” he murmured, but she was already setting off down the quay, her feet barely touching the ground.”
“He knew exactly what he intended to leave behind when he was gone.
“I promise, Matthias. I’ll take you home.”
“Nina,” he said, pressing her hand to his heart. “I am already home.”