Book Review: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Ever wondered what a magical heist would look like?

Six of Crows was published over 6 years ago, so you might be asking yourself: why is Sarah talking about it now? Has she lived under a rock the past few years? I might as well have, as I didn’t pay much attention to the books until most recently. I read the first three books in her Grishaverse (being the Shadow and Bone trilogy) in 2019, and though I had intended to read the Six of Crows duology before the books were adapted to a Netflix series, I didn’t get around to it in time. I finally read both Six of Crows and its sequel, Crooked Kingdom, and I just adore those books so much that I have to review them.

The Plot

In case you haven’t read Six of Crows yet either, here’s a breakdown of the plot: Set in the fictional world of Ketterdam, the story follows Kaz, a street-smart teenage boy who is best known as Dirtyhands. When the opportunity arises for him to make a lot of money, he recruits five very unlikely allies. Fellow pickpocket Inej, sharpshooter Jesper, Grisha-in-hiding Nina, ever-so-serious Matthias, and merchling Wylan. But how hard can it be to break into the most secure places of all?

Official Art by Kevin Wada (Six of Crows Collectors Edition)

The Good

In her first trilogy, Shadow and Bones, Bardugo already proved that she knows how to build a world that feels authentic and yet different from our own. In the Six of Crows duology, Bardugo ensnares with her captivating world and characters, and at times scenes are so vivid, as if one is watching the story unfold on the big screen. Both the worldbuilding and writing make this duology easily one of my all time favorite book series. Personally, I am always a bit wary of books with multiple main characters. Having several points-of-view might hinder the reader to form an equal connection with each of the characters. Additionally, if the voices of each character are too similar, it can be challenging to keep them apart. In Bardugo’s case, it helps that she writes from a third person perspective and prefaces each chapter with the name of the character whose perspective it is from. But even setting that aside, each character has a distinct voice and they all get plenty of screentime (apart from Wylan in Book 1, which first upset me, but by the end, I thought it was a genius idea). Over all, the Six of Crows duology focuses heavily on its characters and their relationships, which makes both books an enganging read.

The Bad

That there’s only two books in the series? Or that Wylan, my favorite character, gets less screentime than the other crows? In all seriousness, I believe that Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are among the best books currently published in the YA fantasy genre. I might think that these books are without flaws, but not everyone has the same taste in books. Some readers might prefer a single main character; some might be interested in more story-driven books. But in my humble opinion, this duology deserves all the love that it gets.

Personal Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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