Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers (Macmillain imprint)
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. 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. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
Six of Crows is high stakes, high tension, and full of twists. There's danger at every turn. Danger at their backs, waiting around the corner, staring them square in the face. Danger inside themselves, waiting for the right moment.
Kaz, Nina, Inej, Wylan, Matthias, Jesper. Each of the six has qualities that make them compelling, interesting. Each one has flaws. Each one has a reason for doing what they do, for saying yes to this impossible mission. Each Their personalities rub against each other and clash constantly, sometimes getting along and sometimes preparing for battle like cats in an alleyway. Their interactions and reactions, their comments and movements, make for amusing banter and frustrating conversations.
Heists are complex. They're nearly impossible to get away with, and being able to predict each and every action and decision of those you're planning on stealing from is just as impossible. But there has to be a way. It's up to the author to know all the ways is could go right or wrong, or even horribly wrong, and make sure the reader is always guessing. It's like it has to be both possible and impossible at the same time. There are moments where, because of certain characters' motivations or actions, or because of the setting, or because of the room they're breaking into, you're never quite sure if everything will work out. If Kaz and the others will pull it off or if they'll fail in a blaze of glory and foolishness.
There's much more world-building that goes beyond what was introduced in the previous series. Post war, post Darkling, the Second Army is slowly rebuilding. But times are hard. Other lands, other countries, are pushing back in this new time. Countries like Fjerda and Kerch, pushing back at Ravka and its Grisha army, pushing for their time, for their customs and beliefs to be told. For their fears and desires to be in the forefront.
This feels so much like a fantasy version of Ocean's Eleven, except the stakes are far higher. It's life and death for some of them. This is a thrilling mix of plot-driven stories and character-driven adventure. A combination of plots and plans and tricks. Each character has a reason for agreeing, each one has memories and moments that made them who they are now. Knowing how this book ends, knowing what happens to certain characters, I can't wait for the second book.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)