Six of Crows reads like Gangs of New York does Oceans Eleven sprinkled with magic!
Set in the Amsterdam-inspired city of Ketterdam, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is part of the Grisha-universe. I personally haven’t read the Grisha-trilogy but the premise of a fantasy heist novel wasn’t one I was gonna pass up – and Six of Crows certainly delivers on this initial premise!
The story goes as follows: Kaz Brekker is hired to break into the most secure structure in the land, The Ice Court, and to do so he needs help! So he assembles a mitch-matched crew and from there it’s a fast paced journey to get a plan together, infiltrate The Ice Court & break out a valuable prisoner – and when things don’t go exactly as planned to make adjustments. And quick!
The fast paces story is matched in in the narration, as the event are told from the shifting close third-person viewpoints of the six main characters; Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Matthias, Nina & Wylan. This always-shifting point-of-view not only helps keep up the pace of the novel, it also allows the reader to get better acquainted with the six main characters as we move through each POV, as well as, through a series of well placed flash-backs.
At first I thought I ought to have read the initial Grisha-trilogy as the magic of the Grisha was a bit confusing, however, I was hooked by the 4th chapter and everything was eventually explained. A tactic I imagine wouldn’t seem too repetitive for fans of the Grisha-trilogy but still let newcomers (like myself) get a full understanding of the universe.
The way author Leigh Bardugo weaves the story together is truly beautiful, and in true crime-fiction style she tells the reader only just enough to keep us reading yet still guessing. Combined with a lovable set of truly interesting and diverse set of misfit characters, it’s hard not to love Six of Crows. Personally it had me feeling like I was reading a YA fantasy version of Oceans Eleven the way the characters tell you one thing up front but then, as the action kicks into gear, their plan, their actions and their motivations almost always diverge a bit from what you thought you knew! A true page turner.