Friday, September 25, 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date - September 29, 2015
Publisher Website - Raincoast/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  480 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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 a story that feels both completely different than Leigh Bardugo's previous series and yet is entirely familiar. This daring heist novel uses the captivating world Leigh created in a new and exciting way while widening the scope of her world. It's a thrilling start to a series that will leave you wanting a heist squad of your very own (minus any illegal activities, of course).

The magic of this world that Leigh Bardugo has created was the central focus of her previous series. It had a fantasy tone and feel. Six of Crows has this magic. That same world is found within the pages of this novel, but it feels more like a brush stroke than the focus. It certainly drives the politics, and some of the characters are capable of using the magic that exists in this world, but the feel is more of a heist/spy novel than a fantasy one. This story could be the same without magic, but it's better for the inclusion of it. The action sequences are more daring, the consequences more dire, and it allows for some plot twists that add to the fun of the story. The fact that you could turn this into a novel without a speck of magic just showcases how talented Leigh actually is. She's combined these two genres into one seamlessly written narrative.

The plot may be enthralling but it's the characters that win over your heart and soul. These characters will linger long after you've finished their story. You'll ache to return to them and bemoan the fact that the sequel is so far away. These characters are the definition of damaged, but you love them for all their damaged beauty. You'll experience a large array of emotions for each of these characters and that is what makes them so special. They make mistakes, they do things that cause you to hate them, however they are always just on the verge of redemption and that makes all the difference. The group has an interesting dynamic that is just as complex as the people within it. They're a dysfunctional 'family' that doesn't always like each other, and betrayal is always an acknowledged possibility. Loyalty among thieves is not something that typically happens, and Kaz's group is no exception. The added danger of their group self destructing mixed with the outside threats while pulling off the heist only adds to the tension that courses through the novel.

The potential for romance, and the romantic entanglements that are part of this plot are deliciously subtle but cause quite the emotional reaction. This is a book that will leave you desperate to have certain characters together and Leigh creates tension and obstacles that feel natural and not forced. Those who like their romance as subplots will be happy to find that here, but know that even without it being the focus it makes quite the impression.

The heist part of this novel is extremely well executed. Filled with heart stopping moments, fun twists, and whiplash pacing, this book is simply fun to read. It's enjoyable and engrossing in the best ways. It's one of those rare books that hits the sweet spot of being well written and entirely commercial. This will appeal to pretty much everyone because of it's ability to pull you into the story and the thrill ride it takes you on.

Leigh Bardugo has created a crime caper that is brimming with unforgettable characters, delicious pacing, and a world that feels both familiar and unknown all at once. This is the start of a series that has proven to be even more stunning than Leigh's previous work, and I cannot wait to follow Kaz and the gang into their next high octane adventure.

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