How to begin this review?
How to put into words how much I loved these characters and this book?
How am I supposed to write down all those many feels?
And most importantly,
How can I live with this ache in my chest?
I have no answer to all of those questions, but I know that I have to write this review!
So here I go!
“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”
When I first read about “Six of Crows” I thought that it would be a fun read. You know one of those books that are easy to read and make you laugh. I expected to read a story that was able to enthral me. A story I would enjoy and classify as intriguing.
“Six of Crows” was all of that and yet it was so much more!!!
I was not prepared to fall in love with all of those beautiful characters and I certainly didn’t expect to be so affected by their lives and background stories. Every single one of those six individuals touched my heart and I know that “Six of Crows” actually is supposed to be a story about a dangerous heist and an adventure. To me it was so much more than that though. It was a story about life and hate and the choices that we make. It was a tale about the people and experiences that shape us. But most of all it actually was a secret and subtle homage to love.
I can’t even put into words how much Leigh Bardugo’s book moved me, but I can tell you that “Six of Crows” is brilliantly written and left me longing for more!
Now that I got this off my chest I’m finally able to write the actual review and since you all know me you also know what to expect. 😉
Kaz Brekker is the right-hand man of the leader of the Dregs, one of the many gangs that live in the Barrel territory of Ketterdam and try their best to get by. One day a merchant named Van Eck offers him an obscene amount of money he can’t refuse and this is exactly the moment when everything gets into motion. To get this job done Kaz has to hire the best crew the Barrel has to offer and since they aren’t only supposed to break into the Ice Court but also aim to save a hostage, they actually got a lot of trouble ahead of them.
This is the moment where I take the liberty to inform you that the characters section is going to be full of spoilers. So yeah, tread carefully and don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;-P
And yet they hesitated. The knowledge that they might never see each other again, that some of them – maybe all of them – might not survive this night hung heavy in the air. A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.
Kaz shook his head, dark hair glinting in the lamplight. He was a collection of hard lines and tailored edges – sharp jaw, lean build, wool coat snug across his shoulders.”
He is the brilliant leader of the crew and also known as “Dirtyhands” or “The bastard of the Barrel”! After reading the second chapter I was already in love with his sharp and intriguing mind and damn me but that boy’s intelligence is hot as hell!!! XD Alone his scheming face! *lol* I love characters that are driven and have some inner strength and Kaz definitely didn’t disappoint me. He’s so strong but vulnerable at the same time and I swear when I read about his past and saw how much he struggled my heart actually ached for him. It was so hard to watch him while he tried to keep his composure and whenever I read his POV it felt like his anxiety choked me. There is so much more to Kaz than initially meets the eye and I can’t believe that no one of his crew ever bothered to see past his disguise. Not even Inej…. *sigh*
”Sure of yourself, aren’t you, Brekker?”
“Myself and nothing else.”
”You might say I’m a lockpick.”
“You must be a very gifted one.”
“I am indeed.” Kaz leaned back slightly. “You see, every man is a safe, a vault of secrets and longings. Now, there are those who take the brute’s way, but I prefer a gentler approach – the right pressure applied at the right moment, in the right place. It’s a delicate thing.”
”It was because she was listening so closely that she knew the exact moment when Kaz Brekker, Dirtyhands, the bastard of the Barrel and the deadliest boy in Ketterdam, fainted.”
”Her eyes were so brown they were almost black, and for once her hair was down. She always wore it tied back in a ruthlessly tight coil. Even the idea of being this near someone should have set his skin crawling. Instad he thought, What happens if I move closer?”
Oh how much I liked this brave and calm girl. The “Wraith” was awesome and considering her past I really couldn’t help but had to admire her strength. Just like Kaz she also had secrets she didn’t want to share and whenever she came across Tante Heleen I was literally able to taste her fear. It was so painful to read what she’d gone through and what had happened to her but at the same time her courage kind of threw me. I mean there is this fragile little girl that was once one of Tante Heleen’s many subjects and even though she’s so young and small, she’s still a lethal weapon who’s able to kill even the strongest man. Inej is kick-ass and I loved her for it!!! XD
”Inej – “ said Kaz.
“Nina and I can get inside,” she continued. Her back was straight, her tone steady. She looked like someone facing the firing squad and saying damn the blindfolds. “We enter with the Menagerie.”
”It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”
Haha oh man, Matthias! What to say about him? He’s a huge and stupid brute but I still love him! *lol* I could understand why he was so angry at Nina and what bound him to his people but sometimes I just wanted to shake him for his stupidity! At the beginning of the book he was so ignorant and oblivious to his faults but the more I got to know him the more I could see why Nina fell for him. He’s one of those men that have a hard shell and a soft core and even though he has his flaws, he still always tried to do the right thing. I think his main problem was that he’d been indoctrinated to hate Grisha from a very young age and to me his struggle to overcome his prejudices was visible in every single sentence and line.
”It had started with a storm, and in a way, that storm had never ended. Nina had blown into his life with the wind and rain and set his world spinning. He’d been off balance ever since.”
Matthias pressed his forehead once, briefly, against Brum’s. He knew his mentor could not hear him, but he spoke the words anyway. “The life you live, the hate you feel – it’s poison. I can drink it no longer.”
You’re heavier than it says on this paper, I’ll wager.”
She shrugged artfully, the scales of her neckline slipping lower. “I like to eat when I’m in the mood,” she said, puckering her lips shamelessly. “And I’m always in the mood.”
God that woman is so fierce and has the heart of a lion!!! Nina is so compassionate and lovely and I immediately loved her for it! She’s never afraid to say what she’s thinking and she’s loyal to a fault. I just adored her for being so passionate and I was so sad when Matthias rejected her at the beginning. Not that this would have had any visible impact on her, after all she still had a sharp tongue and made sure to use it. *lol* ;-P Judging by what I read about this world to be one of the Grisha isn’t easy, but Nina nevertheless always somehow managed to stand her ground!
“Do not bend,“ Nina snapped. „Do not leap. Do not move abruptly. If you don’t promise to take it easy, I’ll slow your heart and keep you in a coma until I can be sure you’ve recovered fully.“
„Nina Zenik, as soon as I figure out where you’ve put my knifes, we’re going to have words.“
„The first ones had better be ‚Thank you, oh great Nina, for dedicating every waking moment of this miserable journey to saving my sorry life‘.“
“Now it was risk filling up his nose and mouth, making him feel giddy and invincible. He loved it, and he hated himself for loving it.
He’s the cocky smartass of the group and his comments always made me laugh. I loved the way he tried to ease the tension and how he worked as a buffer between all those different characters. I’m pretty sure if the crew wouldn’t have had the sharpshooter they might have been at each other’s throats in an instant and I’m really thankful Bardugo added him to the crew. I didn’t expect him to be a Grisha though and when I found out I was genuinely surprised. I think one day his countless vices will get him in deep trouble and I really hope that we’ll get to know him even better in the next book.
”You guys are going to make this really fun, aren’t you?” asked Jesper. “Usually people don’t start hating each other until a week into the job, but you two have a head start.”
They cast him twin glares, and Jesper beamed back at them, but Kaz’s attention was focused on the plans.
”They hadn’t even left Ketterdam, and Wylan already seemed completely out of his depth. He wasn’t much younger than Kaz, but somehow looked like a child – smooth-skinned, wide-eyed, like a silk-eared puppy in a room full of fighting dogs.”
This boy was the cutest thing ever! He’s such an adorable and innocent cinnamon roll!!! I instantly fell in love with Wylan and I’m already afraid to find out more about his past. The relationship with his father was more than just tense and I’m convinced there happened something bad that caused him to move out of his father’s house. It broke my heart when I found out that he seems to be illiterate and that his mean idiot of a father mocked him with it. =( And *lol* for someone who’s as innocent as Wylan to keep up with the crew actually was a hell of an accomplishment! Let’s take a second and appreciate this awesome, clever, courageous and smart boy!!! =)))
”I’m good at demo.”
“You’re passable at demo. You’re excellent at hostage.”
We’re not going in through the embassy,” said Kaz. “Always hit where the mark isn’t looking.”
“Who’s Mark?” asked Wylan.
Nina & Matthias:
”A good time needn’t involve wine and … and flesh,” Matthias sputtered.
Nina batted her glossy lashes at him. “You wouldn’t know a good time if it sidled up to you and stuck a lollipop in your mouth.
Those two gave me a serious headache!!! I knew they both loved each other but Matthias vehemently refused to acknowledge his feelings for Nina and it almost drove me insane! *lol* There were moments when I was tempted to throw the book against a wall and swore that I would hate Matthias forever, but then there were also those secret admissions to his true feelings and they kind of outweighed everything else. I have to admit that I also loved the way how Nina and Matthias pushed each other and them playing cat and mouse was just so much fun to hold it against them. XD But oh my god that scene at the end when Matthias took Nina’s hand? Gosh it made me cry and smile at the same time…
”And what did you do, Matthias? What did you do to me in your dreams?”
The ship listed gently. The laterns swayed. His eyes were blue fire. “Everything,” he said, as he turned to go. “Everything.”
He took her hand and kissed her knuckles genly. She winced, but when he tried to pull away, she clutched him tighter.
“Stay,” she panted. Tears leaked from her eyes. “Stay till the end.”
“And after,” he said. “And always.”
“I want to feel safe again. I want to go home to Ravka.”
“Then I’ll take you there. We’ll set fire to raisins or whatever you heathens do for fun.”
“Zealot,” she said weakly.
“Nina,” he whispered, “little red bird. Don’t go.”
Kaz & Inej:
”Keep talking, Wraith. Don’t slip away from me.”
“But it’s what I do best.”
They killed me! Their love was so bittersweet that it sometimes even caused me to stop breathing. Their emotions were so intense and gentle and yet their circumstances made it impossible to be together. I know everyone is blaming Kaz for holding back and turning Inej down but I can’t bring myself to be angry at him. Not after I saw his struggle and know what he’s been through. To touch other people is pure torture for him, yet he still let Inej reach out to him. It cost him so much just to stand there and let her caress his cheek, but he did it because he actually truly loves her!!! Gosh! Kaz and his fear to be touched killed me and the knowledge Inej didn’t understand his inner conflict actually shattered my heart! I can’t …. Argh I just can’t seem to be able to put into words how much this destroyed me!!! It put my heart through the meat grinder and shredded it into thousand tiny pieces…. It caused me to swallow, it made me gasp for air, it simply wrenched my breath away… It caused me to feel a pang in the center of my chest and my heart is still bleeding… Especially now that they took Inej!!!
”Kaz tumbled through the dark. He was colder than he’d ever been. He thought of Inej’s hand on his cheek. His mind had gone jagged at the sensation, a riot of confusion. It had been terror and disgust and – in all of that clamour – desire, a wish that lingered still, the hope that she would touch him again.”
”She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and got drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”
”I can hear the change in Kaz’s breathing when he looks at you.”
“You … you can?”
“It catches every time, like he’s never seen you before.”
He took a deep breath. “I want you to stay. I want you to … I want you.”
“You want me.” She turned the words over. Gently, she squeezed his hand. “And how will you have me, Kaz?”
He looked at her then, eyes fierce, mouth set. It was the face he wore when he was fighting.
“How will you have me?” she repeated. “Fully clothed, gloves on, your head turned away so our lips can never touch?”
He released her hand, his shoulders bunching, his gaze angry and ashamed as he turned his face to the sea.
Maybe it was because his back was to her that she could finally speak the words. “I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”
Jesper & Wylan:
”Close your eyes!”
“You can’t kiss me from down there, Wylan.”
I loved the slow development of their relationship. Jesper never missed a chance to tease Wylan and even though Wylan was so innocent and shy he still somehow managed to hit back at him! *lol* There were so many meaningful and short moments between those two boys and I really wanted to see that ship sail!!! Unfortunately their love story was just in the background and pretty one-sided because we never actually got a chance to read Wylan’s point of view! *lol* So yeah I hope there are some Wylan chapters in the next book and please, please, please let Wylan get back his beautiful and “stupid face”!! Haha I know it’s petty but Jesper wasn’t the only one that liked his face! *lol*
“Pull your shirt up over your mouth,” he told Wylan.
“Stop being dense. You’re cuter when you’re smart.”
Wylan’s cheeks went pink. He scowled and pulled his collar up.
”If only you could talk to girls in equations.”
There was a long silence, and then, eyes trained on the notch they’d created in the link, Wylan said, “Just girls?”
Jesper restrained a grin.”No. Not just girls.”
All things considered this book was amazing and beautifully written! It’s a piece of art that kept me captivated from the beginning to the very end and I think throughout this journey I actually became a part of the crew!
So to all of my fellow Dregs, this is the way my review finally ends:
”No mourners, no funerals.” 😉