Having never read the Grisha trilogy which earned Leigh Bardugo her loyal and ever-growing fan-base, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened up this book. Described as a “young adult” read, the synopsis alone got me intrigued and, despite being nearly thirty and far from a young adult, I delved in with considerable gusto.
Kaz Brekker, criminal prodigy/mastermind residing in Ketterdam, is offered the chance to make an amount of money which, in the past, he has only ever been able to dream of. The only problem? The task he has to complete in order to get it. He certainly can’t do it alone, but fortunately, he has some rather handy contacts. Step forward a convict, a sharpshooter, a runaway, a spy, a Heartrender (read the book, it’ll become clear!) and a thief. You might not think they’d make the greatest company, but for the mission ahead, as it turns out, they’re almost perfect, or as perfect as you can get when faced with a task that will determine the survival or destruction of the world.
Things get off to a rather slow start, with the plot intricately woven and constructed with attention paid to the slightest details. As for the cause of the worlds’ possible imminent destruction, it is soon revealed that the mission the central characters are about to embark on (literally, there are ships involved) centres around a drug called jurda parem that greatly affects Grisha power. The creator of the drug is being imprisoned by another government and so they are to stage a major scale jail break. As the plan to free said creator slowly comes together, despite many fierce battle-led obstacles getting in their way, Kaz, together with Nina, Inej and the rest of the group, succeeds in reaching the target destination – and it’s at this point that the story gets a bit complicated, so try to keep up.
Characters’ points of view told throughout the story change frequently, which at times, proves a little annoying, but the back-stories are interesting and offer some real insights into the lives, thoughts and ambitions of each person; Bardugo makes sure there is far more to each of them than the reader first realises and it works well.
As the story reaches its climax, there are a few surprises for readers, with one in particular (I’m not telling!) taking me by complete surprise. At 480 pages, Six Of Crows is a considerably long read and there are chapters, or parts of some, which could have easily been cut or left out altogether. With that said, as the final chapters tie up several loose ends and answer more than a few questions, the book rescues itself somewhat and with a sequel planned, I for one am intrigued to see quite where this story goes next.