BOOK REVIEW – SIX OF CROWS & CROOKED KINGDOM -By Leigh Bardugo

RATING – 5/5

The Six of Crows duology is one of those rare series which have the perfect amalgamation of character development and plot. Seriously! These books have everything, nail-biting suspense, slow-burn romance, daredevil action, exhilarating adventure and more. Heist fans, this is a must-read for you. 

The books will hook you in from the beginning, they were so engrossing. The world-building was vivid and tangible and the character development was the best part of this series.  ‘Six of Crows’ and ‘Crooked Kingdom’ tell the story of an epic impossible heist, it’s after-effects and another even more epic impossible heist to counter them by a crew of six anti-heroes

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.

From left to right – Wylan, Nina, Jesper, Kaz, Inej and Matthias

Kaz, the mastermind behind the heist and the most morally black and complex protagonist I’ve ever read. He is the anti-hero you want to root for while getting disturbed by his manipulative ways. He is intelligent and street smart and ruthless. He has a disability (a limp) and instead of letting that deter him, he embraces it in his persona with his formidable cane with a crow’s head. You will love reading about his thoughts, his history and crave his POV chapters. I will eat my words if you don’t get a tingle every time he has his scheming face on!

Inej , the best spy in Kaz’s gang and probably the only character he trusts completely. She is known as the wraith for she can sneak into any place, climb any rooftop without a sound to gather information for Kaz with her amazing acrobatic skills and prowess with knives. She is wise and tenacious with an amazing back story. She was a pleasure slave before Kaz bought her indenture and now hopes to put a stop to slave trade one day.

Jesper the witty sharpshooter with a gambling problem. You will love the chapters from his POV, he introduces the right amount of levity to the story so that you don’t end up getting heart palpitations as you read through the nail biting plot. He is confident, sassy, loyal with an amazing sense of humour and very real flaws. He is his own worst enemy and it is amazing to see his character mature and develop as the story moves forward.

Nina, the grisha heartrender will absolutely delight you, she is beautiful and courageous and an effortless flirt. Her love for waffles and cake is extremely relatable. Everything she does is with fierce passion be it fighting, loving or just being a friend.  Her skills as a heartrender make her formidable as do her witty comebacks. Her ability to be bright and positive in the darkest of situations will really endear her to you.

Matthias is a Fjerdan witch hunter, believed to be dead by his people while he was actually in Hellgate prison serving time for crimes he didn’t commit. He is full of honour and patriotism which makes him hate himself for helping these despicable thugs break into the Fjerdan court. He has a complicated history with Nina and as the plot develops, you will see him unlearn years of prejudice and find honour in his actions.

Wylan doesn’t actually have pov chapters in six of crows but does so in crooked kingdom. The puppy of the group, he is a rich merchant’s son, disregarded by his horrible father for his inability to read ( he suffers from what sounds like severe dyslexia) He is the demolition expert of the group with a knack for science. Thrown in unfamiliar surroundings with a group of street rats, he truly comes into his own and finds the family he never had.

I loved how we slowly learn each of the character’s past as the plot progresses at a nail-biting pace. You slowly get to know each of them and learn of who they are and what drove them to be at the bottom of the barrel of an already deplorable place. It is also one of the most diverse and inclusive groups, with a cast of protagonists from different ethnicities, LGBTQ characters and characters with a physical as well as a learning disability. I wish this wasn’t just two books, I am very hesitant to part with these amazing characters.

The books definitely live up to its hype and I am glad I read Six of Crows after Crooked Kingdom was already out, because there is no way I would have been able to wait between them. Even though they are in the same universe as the Grishaverse Trilogy. You don’t need to read the trilogy before you dive into this duology. I didn’t. But now that I got a taste of I can’t wait to read more.

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