By: Mary Wetterer, Staff Reporter
This week one of the books I read was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Of course I had to reread it for the umpteenth time and needless to say, it’s still a wonderful read. From the catchy repetition of “no mourners, no funerals” to the incredibly complex character development (which, in case you were wondering, only gets more complex in the sequel, Crooked Kingdom), this book has something for everyone.
Let’s introduce the crows, shall we. Let’s start with the description on the back of the book:
“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 Brekker. “A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.” Bastard of the Barrel. Dirty Hands. The man who is whispered about like a spindle-fingered monster that hides under children’s beds. Does he have claws for hands or are they perpetually covered in blood? No one knows, he always wears gloves. But he certainly has his hands dirty, and that’s something everyone knows. (and I have a charm of him hanging from my purse!)
Inej Ghafa. “A spy known as the Wraith.” Inej is the moral compass of the crows, or Dregs as they’re known by mostly, she has an amazing personality that is unique and inspiring. She is who we all should strive to be. (I have a picture of her hanging on my wall!)
Nina Zenik. “A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.” And the perfect introduction to the amazing magic system of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse! She is a pure and utter icon. That’s it. She’s amazing. Read the book. If you read it while eating waffles Nina would approve.
Jesper Fahey. “A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.” He is such an icon, also. He’s a gambler but it’s not treated as a “wow how cute and quirky” it’s treated like an actual problem and gets dealt with accordingly. His personality is fun and flighty and overall he’s someone I’d love to be friends with.
Wylan (last name not included for spoiler reasons). “A runaway with a privileged past.” The cute soft boy who is also a complete murder boy. Described by Kaz as someone who "looked like a child—smooth-skinned, wide-eyed, like a silk-eared puppy in a room full of fighting dogs." When I first read the book I ate that description up, and I still love it.
Matthias Helvar. “A convict with a thirst for revenge.” He is a very interesting character, one of the most complex yet entirely simplistic characters I’ve ever read about. His story arc mainly consists of him overcoming his prejudices and coming to terms with who he’s become. Even though Inej is the actual moral compass, Matthias likes to think of himself as the moral compass.
With the combination of these six developed characters and the rich world of the Grishaverse, this book is simultaneously character and world driven. But wait there’s more! It’s also plot driven! For the first chunk of the book, Kaz is gathering his team to take on the previously quoted “impossible heist.” Why, you may ask, is he doing this? Money, of course. If you need to know one thing about Kaz it’s that he loves money. There’s a bit of Kaz in all of us, I think. Especially with the overbearing college debts. The world is well-developed and begging to be explored. If you enjoy complex worlds and characters with intense backstories.
Bardugo gave her characters believable traits that made them feel real, thus further immersing the reader into the story and giving them the opportunity to connect with the characters. I never want to leave this world and these characters have affected my life in many ways.
For example, throughout this duology the inclusion of mental illness is not cast in a negative light as it often is. Within our society, there is demonization, over-exaggeration, and even fetishization of mental illnesses, especially within movies and media. However, Bardugo crafts realistic characters that go through realistic symptoms of trauma. The fact that, even while most of them are killers, Bardugo never fell back on the classic “mental illness is just like that, man” attitude. This should be something regularly practiced in society but the fact that it is not causes me to give fantasy authors that do this All The Props.
Six of Crows gets twenty out of ten flowers. And Crooked Kingdom (which I have also read multiple times) gets a preemptive infinity out of ten flowers.