Six of Crows (#1)
by Leigh Bardugo.
My husband asked what this book was about while I was reading it, and for brevity I answered “It’s like Ocean’s Eleven, but with magic.” This is not an inaccurate representation, I think. There’s a motley assortment of crooks planning a grand heist, and the mastermind thief has more motivation behind it than just the job at hand. There’s danger, violence, intrigue, a smidgeon of romance, and of course some humor. But on the other hand, it takes place in a fantasy world, some of the crooks are also magicians, and the stakes of failure are not just their own lives and freedom, but repercussions for the world as they know it as well.
I highly enjoyed this. I liked the grand adventure framing, but I also liked that the author didn’t paint the criminal life as something glamorous or easy. All of the crew have pasts that are pretty terrible in one way or another (or many). I liked that the chapters rotate who the narration is following, so we get a glimpse into different characters’ heads.
Kaz, the main character and mastermind, is an intriguing fellow. He’s got a very harsh exterior, but the looks we get into his mind tell a much more complex story. I liked his diabolical approach to planning – even down to details that one wouldn’t normally be able to predict. I did feel that his bad leg was never properly explained- in a world where there are magicians who can heal bodies, and with how much wealth he’s accumulated, why on earth had he not gotten that fixed? For a character as coldly practical as Kaz, it didn’t make sense to me.
I’m torn about the ending. On one hand, certain aspects were REALLY predictable. But other minor aspects weren’t. I’m happy about some of the outcomes, and unhappy about others. And I felt like the action there all happened rather abruptly.
That said, I do absolutely intend to pick up book 2 when it’s out later this year. I like a good fantasy heist, and a good cast of characters, and this has both, other minor issues aside. If you like those things, too, give this a try. Also for its packaging. 🙂