Recommendation: If you are into YA and you like books with heists and roguish characters, you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t really enjoy a lot of YA, this book will seem too simplistic for you. I recommend a borrow from the library on this one.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a young adult fantasy book that focuses on a group of 6 people that take on a heist job. This is a multiple point of view, third person story where each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character. The story follows a gang headed by a teenager called Kaz Brekker. Kaz is approached to do a job, rescuing a scientist that is being held in one of the most guarded facilities. This scientist has created a lethal drug that turns Grisha, magic wielding individuals, into much more powerful and dangerous people. The side effect of the drug is that it is highly addictive and harms the user. Kaz brings together a group of individuals that have some serious personality and ideology differences together to do this job. Can this gang of unsavory people pull off this most difficult heist and not kill each other?
If the above seems rather formulaic, that is because it is. This is a rather simplistic book that has been done many times in the past. Heist stories are extremely popular at the moment but I still enjoy them. Watching a good heist movie is a lot of fun and reading a heist book can be fun too. There were moments in this book where I was having a good time. I thought that some of the backstories of the characters, interwoven into the narrative was interesting, albeit oddly placed. There were some fun scenes where Inej stole the scene and became my favorite character. Her acrobatic hi-jinks and backstory was my favorite part of the entire story and the only character I cared about.
Overall though, this was just too easy for me, and for the gang of thieves. Things just went really well for everyone. Kaz is set up as this mastermind thief but he had a lot of help from the author. I don’t mind reading books where the main character can never make a mistake but it bothers me when it is obvious author intervention that gets a character out of a tight squeeze. There are just too many coincidences and easy resolutions for Kaz. Even though I liked his backstory, he just was too perfect of a character. I think that there comes a point, about half way in this book, when the author could have decided to make things more realistic, or just go all “everything works out Fast and Furious on us,” and she chose the easier story to write. I guess I can’t fault Bardugo for staying with a system that works and sells but I’d like to see some YA fantasy author actually take some risks.
I do want to mention that I just didn’t care for her writing style all that much. There was a lot of fragments thrown together with commas that made reading the book awkward. It was so bad that I actually realized that I do this often and need to work on my writing some. The first chapter, which should have been a prologue, was unneeded and a waste of time to read. I have never read a first chapter that was so insignificant to a story before.
I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t really care about it either. I probably will not be reading any of her other books.
7/25 Possible Score
Plot – 2(O.K.)
Characters – 2(O.K.)
World Building/Setting – 1(Weak)
Writing Style – 1(Weak)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 1(Weak)