Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
I know, I know. I’m late to the party. Don’t laugh at me too loudly.
This is probably going to be more of a gush session than a review. I wasn’t even going to write one originally because it’s not like Leigh Bardugo needs the praise, given how popular this book already is. But here we are. I’m doing it. I didn’t take particularly detailed notes but where’s the fun in that anyway?
Most of us know SIX OF CROWS is a fantasy heist novel populated by lovable assholes. And, of course, Kaz Brekker, bastard of the Barrel, is my favourite. It was absolutely fascinating seeing the way he is perceived through the alternating points of view, including his own. And I’m always a sucker for tragic pasts, and this book is full of them. I don’t think there’s a single main character in this book who didn’t have a rough childhood. By the end, there wasn’t a single main character I hated. I kinda wanted to adopt all of them.
It would be very easy for a book with several viewpoint characters to become confusing and disjointed, but I was very impressed with how well Bardugo made it work. She also managed to include pages of character backstories without being boring. The fact most of those backstories were tragic as all hell probably helped, but it still takes skill to pull that off without boring the reader. Colour me impressed.
It also takes a lot of skill to make me actively ship m/f couples, but Bardugo did it. I want Kaz and Inej to work out. I want Nina and Matthias to be okay together. Aside from the ships that are canon or, at least, look like they will be canon soon *cough*Jesper/Wylan*cough*, I just have to ship Nina and Inej just a little bit. This is one of the few books that I probably wouldn’t mind reading fanfiction for, but I’ll definitely have to wait until I read CROOKED KINGDOM before risking that.
Be aware there is some ableist language, even outside of describing Kaz’s disability which is within Bardugo’s right to do as a physically disabled person herself. Words such as “st*pid” make several appearances. As I said earlier, I didn’t take many notes because I wasn’t planning to write a review, so I apologise for not being able to provide more details on that. Best I can do is provide a general heads-up to people sensitive to ableist language.
Oh, also, there are some triggers to be aware of: past sexual assault, past non-consensual sex work, slavery, gore, PTSD trauma reactions. That’s all I can recall but there may be others. If you have triggers, tread carefully.
I wasn’t planning to read the sequel this year, but god damn it I might just have to. I can’t leave it where things ended with this book. *shakes an angry but admiring fist in Leigh Bardugo’s direction*