My Experience Reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is book that I have seen mentioned a lot on TikTok. All I know of the book going into it is that Kaz is a morally grey character, and a lot of people like him. Apparently The Grishaverse which is a combination of Six of Crows Duology, The Shadow and Bone Triology (on my TBR/Amazon Wishlist), and The King of Scars Duology (also on my list to read) is coming to Netflix as an original series in the future. So, I plan on getting to all of these books before that happens.

Similar to when I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I’m going to share my thoughts on Six of Crows as I read the book. So, there will be spoilers.

Book Details

  • Title: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
  • Originally Published: September 29, 2015
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
  • ISBN: 978-1522609735

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.

Thoughts While Reading

I’m going to break each section up into the parts from the book for organization sake. So, I’m forcing myself to pause at each of these points to write something down. Versus just continuing on with the story as I probably would’ve.

NOTE: There may be spoilers. I’m going to try not to share too many but considering I’m talking about specific thoughts during these sections some might be mentioned in order to share those thoughts. If you don’t want spoilers, go to the OVERALL THOUGHTS section of this post as I will not have any spoilers in there.

Part One: Shadow Business (Chapter 1-6)

The first part of the book introduces us to most of the main characters: Inej, Kaz, Jesper, Nina and Matthias. There’s only one that hasn’t been introduced yet which is the runaway. Unless their name was just mentioned, but I don’t believe it was at this point. Or I didn’t recognize them as the runaway based off the descriptions we were given so far.

Kaz gets offered a job to break into the Ice Court of Fjerda (an impossible task according to Kaz) and rescue Bo-Yul-Bayur. A scientist that created a drug for Grisha that allow them to achieve things that normally they wouldn’t be able to depending on what type of Grisha they are. We’re also shown what each type is roughly able to do while under the effects of the drug. Kaz agrees to it for 30 million kruge.

Initial thoughts on the characters:

Character illustrations by Kevin Wada
  • Inej: Interesting character, reminds me a bit of Lysandra from Throne of Glass since all we really know about her is she started out in the brothels as an indenture servant and now works for the Dregs as a spy. Which is kind of similar to Lysandra. However, their personalities are different. Inej is like a wraith in that she is very reserved, skeptical, and quiet.
  • Kaz: Overconfident and mysterious, but I like his character so far. We don’t know too much about his background, and most of it is rumors that he neither confirms nor denies. I’m really curious what his thing with gloves are and what caused him to have a bad leg so soon in life.
  • Jesper: A character we haven’t had a POV from but have had interactions with through Inej and Jesper. Seems like a nice guy to have on your crew for an impossible mission, since he is a sharpshooter. Also, he looks out for Inej which she does Kaz’s dirty work. Can’t wait for more from this character as they seem easy-going.
  • Nina: She’s the heartrender (an individual who can manipulate the body) that is in love with Matthias and feels insanely guilty over the fact her actions resulted in him going to prison. Other than her connection to Matthias and “small science” as the book refers to her abilities as she doesn’t seem like an individual for the stomach for the mission that Kaz has signed up for. At least, I don’t get that impression right away from her.
  • Matthias: We’ve only seen him in the fighting pits in a prison and haven’t had a chapter from his POV yet. So, the only real things we know is he ended up in prison because of her, cherishes wolves though he had to kill three, and is hella pissed at Nina.

Part Two: Servant & Lever (Chapter 7-15)

The final main character Wylan is introduced, he was mentioned in the first section but didn’t really become a player until now. He’s the son of the Councilmember that hired Kaz for the job. So, insurance… figures. The crew makes their plan or a rough idea of an in and out strategy, but I have a feeling Kaz has the whole thing figured out and just holding back until the information is needed. Which I like because then there’s an element of surprise for how it will work out.

We also get more information regarding Matthias and Nina. She had betrayed him after he rescued her, and got him arrested for slave trading. Which wasn’t the truth. So yeah, if I was him I would be pissed at her. Especially if I had been the one to rescue her from potential execution. Granted, in her position she was a prisoner that had been captured by him. So, I wouldn’t trust him either. I have a feeling there’s more there between when she got captured to her eventual betrayal that landed him in prison.

On the start of their journey to Fjerda, a rival gang was paid by Rollins (individual responsible for Kaz’s brother’s death and other hardships early in life) to kill the crew. They manage to survive and get out of the harbor, but Inej is severely injured. Kaz saves her claiming he’s protecting his investment, but from his actions during and after I would say he likes her. I’m predicting it now, they are the romantic interest in the book. Unless it’s Matthias and Nina with the whole enemies to lover to enemies back to lovers plot with them. But I doubt that. They might be a side relationship, but I have a feeling Inej and Kaz are the main one.

For starters, he goes back to save her. Then demands Nina to heal her even though she’s not a healer. And then carves up the man who injured her in a way someone who was romantically interested in someone would do before dumping him overboard once he got information. Or maybe I’m just thinking that because of Rowan or Rhysand from Sarah J. Maas books, both of those acted that way when their significant other was harmed. Kaz does in way seem like the individual who would just do that. But if I know my tropes, it’s ’cause he fancies Inej.

Part Three: Heartsick (Chapter 16-20)

The name for this section is perfect. It’s pretty much relationship central. Kaz trying to convince himself that he’s not smitten with Inej, and doing everything that suggests he doesn’t care outwardly when he seriously does. So, called it in the last part. Granted, I have a feeling Kaz isn’t going to reveal his true feelings to Inej at any point. It doesn’t seem like him. Even if Jesper points out to Inej that Kaz may have feelings for her… for the same reasoning/actions I pointed out.

Then Matthias and Nina both think of their history. How they got shipwrecked, ended up spending weeks hiking through Fjerda, and then how Nina used a stolen slaver seal to claim that Matthias had taken her as a prisoner. When Matthias wasn’t going to turn her in, he was going to get her out of Fjerda but she still lied fearing for her life. I can’t say I blame her. Matthias makes it very clear he thought Grisha shouldn’t exist that they are an abomination, and still thinks that when they come across a pyre where three Grishas were burnt alive. If I was her, I would’ve tried to get away the only way I could think of to. What better way to escape without fearing a Grisha hunter would come after you? Get them tossed in jail. At least then you’re not killing them.

Not to mention she and Matthias had been discovered by other Grisha, the only way Matthias would’ve left that port was a prisoner. Either of the Grisha or Kerch trader. She took the risk of the trader because the other would’ve been execution and torture, not just imprisonment for Matthias. Then didn’t tell the truth when they reached Ketterdam as she didn’t want to compromise the Grisha still in the field, because she would’ve had to when she mention how and where she stolen the slaver seal.

This part ends on the group getting attacked by the Grisha sent by the Shu government that are drugged up on jurda parem, the drug the scientist invented. So, we know there are three teams racing for the scientist: The Dregs, Rollins crew, and the Shu government with possibly more drugged up Grisha. Matthias and Nina end up staying behind to bury the Grisha, only to come to the agreement on killing the scientist. Something that would lose Kaz and the Dregs their payout from the merchers. Not surprised. Honestly.

Part Four: The Trick to Falling (Chapter 21-26)

The crew manages to get into the prison by switching place with six prisoners. Kaz is off his game and faints after they manage to get inside the prison wagon. Though it’s not really clear why, other than in his faint induced sleep, Kaz recalls his brother’s death due to plague after all their money was stolen in a con by Rollins. Kaz doesn’t learn it was Rollins until years later. When they are escorted off the wagon, Rollins’s crew is dead but Kaz doesn’t see Rollins amongst them.

As the crew enact their plan several things go astray:

  1. The incinerator was ran into the afternoon so it’s too hot for explosives. Not to mention it’s too hot for bare of Inej’s hands so she has to use gloves, and her shoes start to melt during the climb.
  2. Kaz joins Nina on the search of the secure prisons instead of Jesper and Matthias. Neither of whom went to the basement first.
  3. Kaz doesn’t meet up with Nina when he’s supposed to because he comes across Rollins and decides revenge for his brother’s death cannot wait. If Rollins was killed by an executor than all his years of plotting would be for nothing.
  4. Nina is caught and sets off the alarms as she attacks the guards, because she went looking for Kaz rather than heading for the basement.

Also, we learn there’s nothing wrong with Kaz’s hands. His gloves also have slits in them to allow him to still feel things. Basically he’s just hates his being touched after thought dead with plague as well, and thrown onto a ship with hundreds if not thousands of dead plague victims including his brother, Jordie. I’m guessing his fainting with the prison wagon and the gloves go hand in hand.

It’s not looking too good for the crew. But considering I know there’s another book after this, I have a feeling they somehow make it. Not to mention there are two more parts after this one. There’s time for things to turn around… or some twist to happen.

Predictions:

These could be wrong, and I’ve tried my hardest not to look at any spoilers. Even though my curiosity has gotten the better of me. I did look up pictures of the characters from fanart, because even though I can be creative I cannot for the life of me picture characters unless I see an image first. Same goes with hearing voices of characters. My imagination just draws a blank.

Anyways… these are my predictions at this point in the book since we’re nearing the final two sections:

  • They (Matthias, Jesper, Inej and Wylan) find the scientist died before they even got there, as I believe Matthias when he says that Fjerda would not keep him alive.
  • Nina possibly gets killed since she’s in a staircase with guards charging in. If not death, then capture for sure and brought to the specially designed cells she found during her search.
  • Kaz doesn’t get his revenge as he entered the cell before the alarms went off. So, I have a feeling revenge is cut short and he leaves before he gets stuck in that cell with Rollins permanently.
  • Kaz meets back up with the others after the come up short on finding the scientist then make their way out of the prisoner through the embassy and deal with the mercher when they get back.

Part Five: The Ice Does Not Forgive (Chapter 27-38)

So, Plan A didn’t work. The team actually all manages to meet up at the incinerator. Nina managed to escape the guards and Kaz shows up covered in blood. Yellow protocol went off in the prison section, meaning more security is now in place around the Ice Court. So, the team come up with Plan B. Which is ten times crazy with a lot of variables that can and did go wrong.

For starters, Inej can’t pass as a girl of the brothel due to her scared skin from removing the real tattoo she once had. And she gets caught as Jesper and Wylan trigger Black Protocol.

Nina is caught by the General, who remembers her from a year ago when she had been captured the first time. He takes her to the vault and tricks her into one of the Grisha cells that are rigged to administer airborne jurda parem. Matthias appears stating their debt is paid, only to reveal in the next chapter that it was a trick he decided on with Kaz realizing that Nina had been compromised. And gets the master key that can free her along with the scientist that is grieving his father’s death (the scientist they originally were after, I figured that out immediately when they mentioned he couldn’t get the batches correct every time when reproducing it). Nina and Matthias are able to find the boy who is a Grisha as well. Apparently the drug was supposed to help hide the boy’s power but it didn’t. They rescue him after he agrees to blow up the lab.

The Shu government team also arrives after Jesper and Wylan trigger the Black Protocol (highest level that locks down everything). But the two are able to escape using Jesper’s Fabrikator abilities. While Kaz, Nina, Matthias and Kuwei escape through the roots of the ash tree into the spring that flows throughout the court into the gorge.

Part Six: Proper Thieves (Chapter 39-46)

Apparently Inej getting captured was part of the plan as Wylan and Jesper find her then the three of them manage to steal the tank to escape out of the prison. I couldn’t help but laugh that they were able to manage that. However, that victory is sort of short lived as they have to face an army before they can leave.

The only way out is for Nina to take jurda parem. She manages to disable the army, leaving them unconscious after Matthias manages to get through to her. After they face to further problems with getting onto their boat with Kuwei.

As they held back to Ketterdam, Nina completely heals Inej’s arm so there is no bad scar from the feather tattoo she once had removed. And leaves her to find Matthias before withdrawal kicks in. When Inej turns around Kaz is there and finally admits he wants her. Only when she points out that he can’t stand to be touched and he doesn’t argue with her she walks away. Along with the fact that she plans to leave Ketterdam completely to first find her family then hunt slavers. Still she wants him to fight for her, but he doesn’t. I’m not going to lie, I hope somehow it works out between the two.

It’s revealed that the mercher, Wylan’s father, had hired both Dregs and Rollins to get the scientist. Or rather Kuwei since the scientist died. Only for Van Eck to cross them by revealing he drugged up Tidemakers to kill them. And the council was never involved in the trade. Nor does he care for his son as Wylan can’t read/write. And Wylan goes with them in place of Kuwei after Nina tailored him using the last of jurda parem in her system. Which could be permanent since they would need a drugged up Nina to reverse it but the drug would be out of her system. As she’s off hiding with Kuwei.

Inej and the money are taken by Van Eck after Kaz looks to her after the mercher threatened to kill everyone but Kaz. God damn it! Well I know what the next book plot is roughly going to be about now. Getting Inej back from Van Eck.

Also, Jesper you’re an idiot. Apparently he’s the reason they were ambushed on departure. As he mentioned he was leaving Kerch to Rollins’s crew. So, Kaz kept him out of the final plans. Or rather about Wylan because it was punishment for what happened to Inej. Granted he hadn’t tried to betray them so he got off compared to anyone else who crossed Kaz.

I am shocked Kaz freed Rollins. Getting a debt out of it… which he apparently is going to use to get Inej back. Or rather he hands over his shares in the Crow Club and Fifth Harbor, and demands the amount of money Rollins took from Jordie. Rollins still has no idea who Kaz is, but acknowledges begrudgingly that Kaz was able to pickpocket him without him even noticing.

As far as my predictions, I only really got two (three arguably) right. Kaz doesn’t take his revenge on Rollins in that prison and the scientist was dead. The rest I’m glad I was wrong on as I would hate for Nina to be dead. Though I was kind of right that she was captured, even if it had been temporary. As I did say it was either or. Granted the capture came later than I had guessed.

Overall Thoughts on Six of Crows

I like how Leigh Bardugo separated each of the chapters by whose POV we’re in with their name. So, it’s easy to distinguish between them. As the story is written in third person limited. It doesn’t switch between different characters within that chapter, so there’s no guessing who you’ve switched to. I love reading third person limited, but sometimes it can take a moment to figure out where you’ve jumped. The way Bardugo does it in Six of Crows is my favorite of this perspective.

This book reminds me a bit of Ocean’s Eleven in that it’s a heist book but with a magical element. Which is good considering that was the inspiration for the book according to Leigh Bardugo in an interview that was included in the back of the book.

I really enjoyed how she included flashbacks throughout the book rather than giving all the information about each of the characters at the beginning. As it gave them a sense of mystery to try to work out. And those flashbacks only helped to structure what was currently happening between the heist and prison break sequences. It never felt off when they were included as far as pacing goes. Sometimes flashbacks can throw off the rhythm but it never felt like that reading this book.

Also, well there are definite relationships in the book and flirting between some characters. There aren’t any romance scenes, which honestly was a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I like those scenes, but I love the “chase” or the lead up to those moments or rather just moments between characters WAY more than those scenes. And the way each of those romances were handled, were done in a good way. Where you could tell the characters apart during those moments, as it switched from one perspective to the next around that same scene.

I cannot wait to read Crooked Kingdom next. I have a feeling I won’t be able to put it down. Just as I wasn’t able to put down Six of Crows. I’m curious to see where the next book with go and how they are going to deal with what happened at the end of the book.

As for rating this book I would give it a solid 3.75 out of 5 stars. It was a really good book that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

If you’ve read Six of Crows, what did you think of it? No spoilers in the comments please for those that skipped over me discussing the plot points and my thoughts regarding them.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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9 Comments

  1. August 13, 2020 / 10:41 AM

    Great review Mae! It sound like an interesting book.

    • Mae Polzine
      Author
      August 13, 2020 / 10:51 AM

      I really enjoyed this book! Thank you ☺️
      ♥ Mae

      • Brooke Carrington
        August 14, 2020 / 12:44 PM

        Ohh this one sounds good! Great review!

      • Mae Polzine
        Author
        August 14, 2020 / 12:45 PM

        It was. Thank you!
        ♥ Mae

  2. August 14, 2020 / 5:11 PM

    Great review Mae! So glad that you enjoyed reading this book. I really like this series so it was interesting to read your reading your thoughts and predictions.

    • Mae Polzine
      Author
      August 14, 2020 / 5:14 PM

      Thank you! I’m curious to see where the next book is going to go in this series.
      ♥ Mae

  3. August 14, 2020 / 6:59 PM

    Great review! I read this one earlier this year and even when in my opinion it didn’t meet the high expectations I had for this book, it was a very interesting book and I definitely want to read Crooked Kingdom soon! Thanks for sharing💛

    • Mae Polzine
      Author
      August 14, 2020 / 8:12 PM

      Yeah the book was good, but not the best thing I’ve read in the last year. I heard Crooked Kingdom is a rollercoaster, so maybe my opinion on the series will change after that.
      ♥ Mae

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