There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.
– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
After finishing Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo has officially entered “favourite” author category. I was never worried that she had written all of her magic into the Grisha trilogy. I was concerned, however, that new characters in the same setting wouldn’t be able to capture my attention like Alina and the Darkling. And boy, was I ever wrong!
One of my favourite things while reading is to find myself undecided about my favourite character. At different moments, Six of Crows had me convinced that each of the main characters was my favourite character. With their diverse backstories and an expertly woven web linking them to each other, the entire cast of Six of Crows became my favourite.
Kaz, an enigmatic charmer shrouded in mystery. I’m still shaken by his absolutely gruesome past; thinking about it makes me shudder in both revulsion and pity. I appreciated the insight into his darker tendencies, to help me rationalize some of his more violent reactions. More importantly though, knowing his history made his moments of redemption – though few – that much sweeter.
Inej, the voice of reason and, arguably, the strongest character in the series. Her history isn’t described as violently or gruesomely as Kaz’s; what she was forced to do is merely alluded to. This meant I found myself imagining the most violating and demeaning acts possible, especially as the picture of Ketterdam and it’s inner workings became more clear. To see her come out the other side, determined, focused and unwavering in her religious beliefs, was inspiring.
Nina, a sultry and vivacious vixen with a fiercely loyal heart. The tension between her and Matthias, a stoic and honourable solider with a soft spot for a girl he was sworn to hate, kept me on the edge of my seat; I was never sure if I was waiting for them to kiss or kill each other! I loved that their chemistry was bolstered by the complexities of their beliefs. And I loved their internal struggles to overcome their fears of each other’s differences (Grisha vs Fjorn) so they could learn about each other as individuals.
To be completely honest, I didn’t get a really strong sense of Jesper or Wylan as individuals. But I don’t care. Together, they were flirtatious and sweet and endearing. I loved watching Jesper tease Wylan for being naive or soft, and I loved how often Wylan was able to prove he was more than his family name.
While Six of Crows was really character driven, it did not lack in the plot department. Convoluted and twisty, with surprises around every corner, there wasn’t a dull moment from start to finish. With current events interspersed with glimpses into the past, I found I was unable to put Six of Crows down for fear of missing something.
I also found it refreshing that not every character had a true redemption arc. Given that the dregs is a gang of thieves and liars, it wouldn’t be true to their nature for them to suddenly all become selfless heroes. I loved that while they were loyal to each other, they were also loyal to themselves and occasionally, fell victim to their vices.
I loved Six of Crows. I can’t believe I had it on my shelf for a year before reading it! And that ending?! Crooked Kingdom has moved wayyy up my TBR list!