Thursday, December 20, 2018

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ★★★★ | 15 hrs 4 min | Henry Holt & Co. | YA Fantasy | Release Date: 9/29/2015 
Ya’ll remember this book? I can’t believe it came out almost 4 years ago! I am the queen of reading popular YA stuff super late so here I am. I picked up Bardugo’s debut Shadow and Bone when it first came out and never got into it. I actually criticized it for not having enough “political nuances, rich detail, and brutality." Well, let me tell you she stepped her storytelling game up because that pretty much sums up all of Six of Crows. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone talk about how this book is violent AF.

Six of Crows is exactly what the logline says. Five outcasts attempt the heist of their life at the leadership of 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, the cold-hearted leader of a notorious street gang in the slums. Bardugo does such a wonderful job slowly revealing the complex and often brutal backstories of our six antiheroes while also keeping up with an intricate fast-paced heist plot.

Going into this book the only character I knew about was Kaz and I get why people like him, he is such a Draco in Leather Pants but frankly, he and the other male characters didn’t do it for me. I feel like we never got enough story from sharpshooter Jesper or demolition expert Wylan to get a sense of them and call it a sign of the times but I had a real hard time caring about whatever redemption arc was happening for Matthias “Nazi Metaphor” Helvar.

On the other hand, I was all in for the two female characters in the crew, I thought they had the most compelling backstories and goals, particularly Kaz’s right-hand girl Inej Ghafa--she was my favorite character and I have Some Thoughts about the relationship between her and Kaz.

This is a full cast audiobook and each narrator bought something different to the table. I do think they all struggled with Kaz because his voice is specifically described as having “the rough, abraded texture of stone against stone”. The female narrators were my favorites, I’ve talked about enjoying Laura Fortgang before and while I liked what Elizabeth Evans was doing her voice doesn’t sound particularly YA. Brandon Rubin and Jay Snyder, who narrate Jesper and Matthais are both fairly deep voiced and didn’t even bother with trying to imitate voices and just did their thing. Fred Berman’s Kaz was good. He shined when got to do a scream-y part of get emotional. You could tell he just waiting for his moment.

My luck with YA fantasy has really turned around this year. I’m in for Bardugo’s Six of Crows and can’t wait to meet the other character and worlds in the future books. Seriously, who is this Nikolai character  I hear people talk about ???

One thing that kept me off this book for so long was thinking I needed to finish The Grisha series. I would say you don’t need to have read it to read this series so long as you are willing to just roll with the fact that magical people known as Grisha exist without getting much background about how their powers work you are good to go.

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