The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

BLOG“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.”

Six of Crows was one of those books that sat on my bookshelf for a while. Purchased amidst the praise and rave reviews, and even though I was eager to experience the story for myself, the reading mood was never quite right. Recently, however, when I saw that a friend was going to read it, I finally grabbed it off my bookshelf and dove in. I do love a good heist story, so the premise of this one completely had my attention: Kaz, a leader of one of gangs of the city of Ketterdam is offered an opportunity that would bring him immense wealth, but the deadly and near impossible heist requires a skilled crew of individuals. Being a skilled and resourceful criminal himself, he knows just the people he will need to achieve the impossible. What we get is a team of compelling characters that makes this such a page-turning read:

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.


Each chapter represents a different character perspective, so we get to know almost all of them really well, learning about their background and their personality. Only one of the six main characters does not get a chapter all to himself, that being the “runaway with a privileged past.” However, we do get to know him in the second book Crooked Kingdom, which follows the events that result from those that take place in Six of Crows. Considering how the story evolves, it is understandable that he remained as a fairly background character in Six of Crows. I was interested in all the characters, and did not find myself caring less about chapters that were from one perspective or the other. All are well developed and with endearing personalities. Which brings me to my absolute favourite part of this duology, the humour. The quick, witty dialogue made me smile numerous times. This is present in both books and, for me, a highlight of both books.

Having not read The Grisha Trilogy prior to this duology, I had no knowledge of this world, therefore it took a few chapters to fully get into the story of Six of Crows. There are a lot of names and terminology that I simply was not familiar with, which made it somewhat confusing initially. I am glad I stuck it out and kept going because I truly loved these books. It does help immensely to have prior knowledge of this world, however having now read The Grisha Trilogy, I know that if I had read those books first I never would have read The Six of Crows. I did not care for that trilogy, and was not even able to finish it all the way through. Luckily, I read this duology first. 🙂 And the only drawback of Crooked Kingdom was that I found the heist storyline in the first book slightly more interesting.

I can say that this makes it on my list of favourite fantasy novels. The characters are so compelling and well-developed that I was happy to follow all and any story they were a part of. I look forward to reading more books set in this world, and hopefully meeting more amazing characters.

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