I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published: 2015 by Henry Holt and Company
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
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Six of Crows was one of the most eagerly sought ARCs at Book Expo America this year, and it definitely lives up to the hype. It is the first book in a new series set in the same world as Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. I must confess that I haven’t read the Grisha Trilogy yet, so I won’t be comparing the two, but even without having read it, I was immediately sucked in to Bardugo’s world.
The story is set in an alternate version of Eastern Europe, where there are magic-users known as Grisha. Now, I love a good rule-based magic system, and the Grisha are no exception. There are several types of Grisha who can each do specific types of magic, but their powers are limited–up until a new drug called parem jurda is discovered. Parem jurda makes a Grisha nearly invincible for a brief amount of time, but then causes a withdrawal so severe it can kill. The Grisha becomes a slave to the drug until he or she is destroyed by it. So of course, in the wrong hands, parem jurda could wreak havoc on society.
The person who invented parem jurda is currently imprisoned in an icy fortress that is deemed impenetrable. However, a powerful merchant offers one hell of a lot of money to a gang of urchins called the Dregs (our protagonists) to do the impossible and break him out. Kaz Brekker is the ringleader, and the brains behind the operation. Inej, the Wraith, is good at gymnastics and making herself scarce. Nina is a Grisha, and Mattias is a Grisha hunter. And that’s just an introduction to a handful of my favorite characters. One of the things I loved about Six of Crows was getting to know each of them through their point-of-view chapters, because they all have such complex backstories and motivations. At the beginning of the story, they are a group of almost-strangers, but by the end, they form an unstoppable team who learn to trust each other and themselves in order to beat the odds.
The only thing that I didn’t like was the ending, mostly because I felt like the cliffhanger would have been better as the start of Book Two than as the end of Book One. But that’s mostly just me grumping because I know I won’t get to read Book 2 anytime soon, and I’m dying to know what happens next.
Six of Crows reminded me a bit of a PG version of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series mashed up with The Breakfast Club. It’s unputdownable, and easily one of my favorite books of 2015. Read it as soon as you can get your hands on it!