Six of Crows Book Review

Anushka Kale

Six of Crows, the first novel in the Six of Crows duology, is a young adult/fantasy novel written by bestselling author Leigh Bardugo. This novel has been nominated for several awards, including Best Young Adult Fantasy and & Science Fiction from GoodReads. In the story, there are six main characters, each with a different background, but all having ended up on the streets of the Barrel in Ketterdam, the fictional world where the story takes place. Kaz Brekker – notorious leader of  his gang,  and nicknamed “Dirtyhands”. He is called such due to his unique traits of being cunning, reckless, and for always wearing his signature black gloves on missions. Inej is a wraith, thin, pale, and with the ability to scale any surface and move soundlessly. Nina and Matthias, a duo meant to hate each other, learned to appreciate each other again over the course of the story. Nina is a Grisha Heartrender, meaning that she can control the internal organs of another person’s body, and Matthias is a Fjerdan, a group of people known for hunting Grisha. Jesper is a shooter with stunning accuracy, and an uncommon addiction to gambling and getting into trouble. Lastly, there is Wylan, a runaway with a special talent for demolition. 


The story follows the six teenagers, who have been assigned an impossible task to break into the most guarded military base in the world, the Ice Court. They have been trained all their lives as spies and sleuths, but this is still the most dangerous mission of their lives. If they succeed, they will receive a large sum of money from a strong businessman in Ketterdam. If they fail, they will likely never leave the Ice Court again. The goal of the heist is to smuggle out Bo Yul-Bayur, who is the scientist responsible for the creation of jurda parem. Jurda parem is a highly addictive drug which enhances the abilities of a Grisha, but is lethal to humans. Kaz and the team must make it out of the Ice Court alive, and with Bo Yul-Bayur in order to receive their reward. 


My absolute favorite part of this book was the characters. Each character was written so well, and each is so different. The book is written from the point of view of each character, and over the course of the book, each character’s backstory is slowly revealed and explained. Each character has such a unique background and childhood, and yet they are all connected to each other in some way. I think telling each character’s backstory was so necessary in this book, because they are such a big part of the character’s personalities. I loved that the book was written from multiple perspectives because the reader gets to learn about each character individually, and what each character’s separate motives are. One of my favorite characters was Jesper, because he always makes a big show of pretending to be funny and careless, but on the inside, he is a very resourceful and sensitive person, whose loyalty to his team takes precedence over anything else. 


Another thing that Leigh Bardugo did really well in Six of Crows is character development. In this book, Kaz Brekker changed so much over the course of the story, going from an independent, stoic leader, to a more gentle friend and teammate. This happens when Kaz begins to experience many events that bring back some of the more painful memories from his childhood. It was at this point that Kaz learned that it’s okay to rely on his friends and teammates for help when he wasn’t at his best. I think Kaz was by far the most interesting character, because of how many different facets he has. Because of this, I always found myself wanting to keep reading to find out what Kaz would do next. Despite Kaz being ruthless and independent in the beginning of the novel, he made his decisions off of what would benefit his team.


In this book, Leigh Bardugo told this story with amazing skill. Each part was so well thought-out and was incredibly detailed. The heist and mission itself was so well described and told by the author, and it never ceased to interest me. Bardugo took the story from a slow introduction to the characters to a riveting adventure story in the space of a chapter. The story is told from many perspectives, yet it blends together so well as the story brings each character closer together. I also liked how the book could be very diverse, ranging from dark and tense moments, to lighthearted and simple. There is one phrase that is said a lot by the team, which is “No mourners, no funerals.” This is used as a way to say good luck among them, but it refers to the fact that if one of them was to die, there would be no expensive funeral, no plaques, and no recognition, because none of them have anyone mourning them. I found this saying particularly touching, because it really shows that all they have is each other and how much they care about each other.


Six of Crows has received a 4.9/5 stars overall, and is similarly well reviewed on many sites. Fantasy Book Review said, “Bardugo does a fantastic job of differentiating the characters and making them seem like real people with real pain, hopes, dreams, and nightmares.” I definitely agree with this quote, as this is one of my favorite things about the novel. Anyone who loves an adventure novel full of backstabbing should definitely read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.