“She wouldn’t wish love on anyone. It was the guest you welcomed and then couldn’t be rid of.”
By the time I finished the Grisha trilogy by the wonderful Leigh Bardugo I had already heard a lot of the Six of Crows duology and the felt the hype around it. The books were already on my wishlist for some time and I just couldn’t resist buying them. I hoped to race through them but my life thought otherwise and put a lot of stones in my path. So I needed quite some time to read Six of Crows – but none of the reasons was because of the book itself.
What made me especially happy was not only the fact that some of the characters of the Grisha trilogy were mentioned throughout the story, but that I got to see more of the territories around Ravka. I got a wonderful insight in Kerch and Fjerda and this is exactly what I wished for in an earlier review of the trilogy. The world-building was simply amazing. I loved how Ravka of the trilogy was built after the Russian culture and Shu Hun was based on China. But Ketterdam reminded me strongly of European – particularly the Netherlands – and Fjerdan of the northern countries like Sweden or Norway. The world is well imagined and I simply love to dive right into it. I loved how Bardugo took places of our world and modeled them into high fantasy ones. And the map was amazingly drawn. I already knew Ravka and the eastern part of this world through the trilogy but seeing the new parts grow around the already known ones was beautiful.
When the main characters were introduced, I felt like jumping up and down. After reading other books with a lot of main characters I fell into the expectation to always read about a bigger group with thoughtfully written characters. And Six of Crows gave me exactly that. The crew around Kaz Brekker is full of individuals that seem to be nothing alike. From time to time it reminded me of the Ocean’s Eleven of the Grishaverse – don’t get me wrong, I meant this in an all positive way! More or less they’re all able to survive on their own, but when they come together they form a formidable group.
The characters were hands down the best part of the book. I just got chills on so many different occasions and I cannot describe how much I loved all of them. There was so much diversity going on – powerful women, proud people of colour, non-heterosexual love interests and not-so-skinny women who love how they look. And let me tell you – these are all the main characters. I loved how Bardugo wrote her characters and even the couples – while not really bonded by now – made me weak in all the good ways.
I shipped Kaz and Inej almost instantly after reading the first few chapters and I cannot even explain why. Kaz is the one everyone in this fandom seems to love – yes, me too. You know how much I love this dark-haired witty characters?
I definitely need to write a list about that! – and well … he is the absolute best! While his demeanour is mesmerizing, his back story had me in tears and wanted me to hug Kaz. But I probably shouldn’t do that … considering his back story. And Inej. What to say about Inej? She is Kaz’ Wraith and the one who keeps all of the other characters grounded. While she is strong an empowered, I also loved to see how much she longed for her family and to be with them. And oh my, the end of the book. I still cannot get over that. I just want to take both of them and gently smash their heads together.
When it came to Nina I was positively surprised. Not because she is a Grisha, but because she is a woman of curves and well-built with a love for eating while knowing how beautiful she is. I rarely read about these kind of women as most of them are skinny or simply perfectly formed when it comes to descriptions. As a Grisha in Ketterdam she tries to keep her head up and fight for herself. It was devastating to hear that she was still young when the civil war hit Ravka and she now misses her home country so much. Nina is my precious and if anyone hurts her, I’m going to tear the world down. But gladly there’s Matthias. As a former drüskelle – a grisha-hunter – he was originally to hunt down Nina and bring her to trial but they found that each other aren’t as bad as they seem. The circumstances under which they met are extraordinary and I love it even more that they’re so inseparable even if they tried to stay away from each other at the beginning.
Jasper Fahey is the easiest character of the six. He hasn’t as much secrets as the others – even if there are some really surprising ones – but still he is absolutely loveable. He has an undeniable love for both his guns as well as gambling and has some serious problems with the latter. He is the kind of character who can’t sit still and need something to do all the time. Luckily he not only gets grounded by the mother hen aka Inej but by Wylan, the angel of the group. As a runaway son he joins the crew out of different reasons but proofs himself more important than initially thought. Even if he is oft teased because of his heritage – mostly by Jesper because of playing the flute *coughs* or dancing – he finds true friendship among the others and forms a bond with Jesper that definitely needs to deepen in the second book!
maybe you realized by now that I absolutely loved all of the characters, but the plot was also remarkable. The story was fast paced and had a lot of action in it. There were lots of twist that I never expected to happen and that almost made me throw the book against the wall. Bardugo is a genius when it comes to plotting and scheming – I already loved the Grisha trilogy to pieces and I thought it couldn’t get better. But she did it again and fascinated me with the duology. I strongly recommend reading the original Grisha trilogy before the Six of Crows duology simply because it gives a better overview over what happened with the Grisha and the countries before. There are some important political decisions which should be known if you ask me. Also there are some spoilers which are only revealed at the end of the trilogy. So if you don’t want to spoil yourself, you should listen to me.
All in all I enjoyed reading this masterpiece of high-fantasy and everyone who loves this genre should being reading this. You will fall in love with the characters easily even if the book will show you that the morally questionable don’t necessarily need to be the antagonists of the story.