I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read this book when I’ve heard about it nonstop since it came out! It definitely didn’t disappoint, and like everyone else, I thought it was incredible. Usually when it comes to fantasy I’m pretty hesitant because a lot of authors aren’t convincing enough with their world-building. Oftentimes the magic systems or individual powers or the worlds themselves aren’t fleshed out enough to make you suspend your disbelief; other times, they’re way too complicated and/or farfetched and it turns into a chore to remember all the details while you read.
But I didn’t run into any of these issues with Six of Crows at all. The Grishaverse is so vivid and believable that I was immediately drawn in – I think it helped that she didn’t make the magic system overly complex, and kept it realistic and similar to ones we’re already familiar with (healing, controlling the elements, flying, bloodbending, etc).
The plot is incredible too…I was so engrossed that the hundreds of pages just flew by! I didn’t find all the POV changes confusing or annoying, but I will say that the ending was sorely disappointing for me. (MINOR SPOILERS) It wasn’t a bad ending by any means, just that instead of resolving neatly, the massive cliffhanger is set up almost too smoothly for the sequel. I like it when my books are self-contained! And after all those hours of reading, the ending should be hugely satisfying, like a reward for making it. Again, not a bad ending, just a big letdown personally. I’m not sure yet if I’ll read the sequel – as great as this book was, I don’t feel the need to immediately dive into Crooked Kingdom (and also I got a moderate spoiler that made me sad), so I’m going to wait a while and see how I feel.
The characters have to be mentioned too – I honestly can’t choose a favorite because they’re all so well-written and different. Inej is an obvious candidate because she’s so mysterious and such a skilled assassin, and I’ve always been drawn to that type (definitely didn’t have fantasies of being a mysterious, insanely powerful assassin when I was growing up, never). But I also love Nina for her charm and boldness and physical beauty, which she wields like its own weapon – all the reasons Matthias loves her too. And Matthias himself is so deadly yet SUCH a big softie at heart, who couldn’t nurse a soft spot for him? Bardugo’s talent really came out when writing their relationship. I really felt all of Matthias’ anguish in loving Nina, and cheered for them when they finally reconciled.
But we can’t forget Jesper and his shit-eating grins, and Kaz and Wylan too. Surprisingly, Kaz wasn’t that big of a draw for me. Usually I’m all over the quiet genius who’s always got a plan and outsmarts everyone around him, but maybe he was actually a little too distant in this book. I just never felt like I really connected with him, despite the chapters dedicated to him, but I did respect him a ton as the leader of the group. And that’s how you know the writing is excellent – when even you, the reader, respect and slightly fear a completely fictional 17-year-old thief!
All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t already read it!