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A Daring Heist and Unforgettable Characters: Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” Duology

book review

Prepare to be swept away by Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology—a thrilling adventure that takes readers on a heart-pounding journey into the gritty world of Ketterdam. Get ready to meet a band of unforgettable characters as they embark on a daring heist that will test their loyalties, challenge their skills, and unravel secrets that could change their lives forever.

Plot Summary

“Six of Crows” introduces us to a diverse cast of characters, each with their own unique set of skills, flaws, and secrets. Led by the cunning Kaz Brekker, a mastermind with a troubled past, this crew of misfits ventures into the dangerous Ice Court to pull off an impossible heist. Along the way, they face treacherous obstacles, forge unlikely alliances, and confront their deepest fears. The duology continues in “Crooked Kingdom,” where the stakes are raised even higher as the crew fights to survive and seek revenge in a city filled with corruption and power struggles.

Reading order

  1. Six of Crows: Set in the gritty city of Ketterdam, a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be bought at the right price, the story follows a group of fiercely misfit yet incredibly talented outcasts brought together by a common goal: to pull off the grandest heist their world has ever seen. Kaz Brekker, an infamous criminal prodigy who goes by “Dirtyhands,” is tasked to assemble a crew to infiltrate a highly secure stronghold known as the Ice Court and retrieve a powerful drug called jurda parem. Brekker’s handpicked team includes a sharpshooter with a gambling problem, a convict with a thirst for revenge, a spy known as the Wraith, a Heartrender grisha with a chip on her shoulder, and a wealthy run-away with a perilous secret. Each member of the crew has their own motives, but the promise of unimaginable wealth ties them together in an almost familial bond. These six misfits must learn to trust each other in a world where every move threatens betrayal, and the stakes are impossibly high.
  2. Crooked Kingdom: In the breathtaking sequel to Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom picks up right where the first book left off by diving deeper into the city of Ketterdam and the lives of our beloved band of misfits. After pulling off the spectacular heist, the team should be reveling in victory. But their prize has been stolen, and what’s worse—one of their own has been kidnapped. Retribution and rescue are the top priorities. Kaz Brekker and his comrades-in-arms devise an even more cunning, intricate plan to outwit powerful enemies, navigate the treacherous political landscape, and save their friend. All the while, they are haunted by their pasts, which are on the brink of bursting into the present. Loyalties are tested, hearts are broken, and the crew must face their own demons while trying to hold each other together. As secrets are unveiled and stakes become even higher, the cast of colorful characters that Bardugo has masterfully created must confront who they are and who they want to be in a world where survival depends on their ability to adapt. More than just a plot-driven sequel, Crooked Kingdom delves further into the complexity of each character’s backstory, driving the narrative in new and compelling ways.

Notable Quotes:

  1. “When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.” – Kaz Brekker
  2. “Better terrible truths than kind lies.” – Inej Ghafa
  3. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together.” – Matthias Helvar
  4. “Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.” – Nina Zenik
  5. “No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.'” – Kaz Brekker
  6. “When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.”
  7. “Greed is your god, Kaz.”
    “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”

My Review

Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology weaves together elements of fantasy, adventure, and heist tropes into a mesmerizing narrative. Bardugo’s writing is richly atmospheric, immersing readers in the bustling and morally gray world of Ketterdam. From the very first page, the story grips you, whisking you away on a thrilling journey that is impossible to put down.

One of the standout elements of the duology is its cast of characters. Bardugo crafts complex and multi-dimensional individuals who come to life with every word. From the enigmatic and calculating Kaz Brekker to the acrobatic and resilient Inej Ghafa, each character has their own distinct voice and a past that haunts them. The depth of their development and the intricate dynamics between them create a web of relationships that keeps readers invested from start to finish.

The heist itself is a tour de force of suspense and clever twists. Bardugo meticulously plans out the intricate details of the mission, immersing readers in a world of deception, danger, and unexpected alliances. The tension builds steadily as the crew faces impossible odds, making each success and setback all the more thrilling.

Beyond the action-packed plot, the duology explores themes of trust, loyalty, and redemption. It delves into the complexities of human nature, blurring the lines between hero and villain, and forcing characters to confront their own demons. Bardugo’s exploration of moral gray areas adds depth and nuance to the story, making it a captivating and thought-provoking read.

Leigh Bardugo spins a captivating and rich tale of friendship, cunning, and ambition that ensnares you from page one. Her characters are as real as they are flawed, and their struggles are incredibly relatable despite the fantastical setting. From vivid descriptions of Ketterdam and the wider Grishaverse to the intricate, high-stakes plot, the Six of Crows duology is a masterclass in world-building and character development.

The story speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, who has battled inner demons, and who, at the end of the day, found solace in the unlikely companionship of others. Equal parts Ocean’s Eleven and Game of Thrones, it’s a gripping, adventurous tale that stays in your heart long after the last page is turned.

While the duology is a remarkable achievement, it is not without minor flaws. At times, the pacing may feel uneven, with certain sections being slower or more exposition-heavy. However, these moments are quickly overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the overall narrative and the depth of the characters.


★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

Author Bio

Leigh Bardugo is a literary sorceress, conjuring up unforgettable worlds and captivating characters. With her “Six of Crows” duology, she has created a thrilling and immersive experience that has left readers clamoring for more.

Where to Buy

You can find Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” duology, including “Six of Crows” and “Crooked Kingdom,” at various online retailers, including Amazon and other bookstores.

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