In Ketterdam, a large city on the island of Kerch, Kaz Bekker gets a job offer that will change his life and the life of his crew. Kaz, working his way up through the ranks of the Dregs since he was nine years old and at the age of 17 he now is the right hand of the gang boss with the nickname Dirtyhands fitting his reputation. When he is approached by a rich council merchant to break into and retrieve the object of desire from the impregnable fortress of Djerholm, the capital of Fjerda, he cannot pull the job of alone but needs the best crew he can find.
The persuasion for this job is far from easy as no one who attempted to steal from the Ice Court came back to talk about the adventure. Knowing this, Kaz negotiated 30 million kruge for the job and with a few tricks of his he gets the right people assembled for this heist that could end deadly.
With a sniper with a love for gambling, a sneaking spy with a troubled past, a determined Grisha surviving in an unwelcome place, an explosive expert with unlikely family ties and a condemned criminal with a hope for vengeance they try the most difficult heist Kaz has ever planned.
While accompanying them on their journey we get to know their pasts, why they agreed to take the job at all and why they take certain decisions and actions.
In each chapter we follow one of the protagonists from a third person point of view yet get insides in their state of mind, feelings and thoughts.
I heard a lot of things about this book, how good it is and that it kind of is a must read yet I had it on my bookshelf for over a month before I started reading. I read the Grisha-Trilogy and I liked it and it is written very well but I also felt a little disappointed so I feared that Six of Crows is going to be a similar experience. But how wrong I was! The book is just amazing.
I love the way it is written and the characters because no matter how good they are at what they do best, there is still something human in them, they are not perfect, they make mistakes. When reading about their back stories I could not help but feel some kind of understanding for each character, they felt like real people because every story was thought through. I personally do not like characters that are just perfect in every way or are able to everything they try. Even if it is fantasy I want to find something that I can identify with in the characters and that is very hard to do when the person I read about has no faults at all.
Not only the protagonists but also the world is described beautifully and with a richness in detail so you get the idea of how everything looks like and can imagine the scenery in your own mind. And if you lose track of the setup of the world there are two gorgeous maps at the beginning of the book.
Apart from that, Leigh Bardugo did a brilliant job in weaving the story so it does not appear constructed. Sure there are events happening that just come by conveniently but things like that happen in real life too and I never had the feeling like ‘Oh right, what would they do if this had not happened at all’ or ‘Really, I so expected that’. I guess generally you can get a rough idea of the ending of a book and Six of Crows was no exception to that rule yet, in contrast to other books, I did not want the book to end, I wanted to read on and on and on.
The fact that the story is about a heist and tells so much about the people in it makes it a great reading experience. For me the book could be a standalone as well because sure, I can hear about the characters and their stories a lot more, but I also felt that the insights we got in their lives was well rounded, even with the ending we got. There are only very few books I can think of that were planned to be more than just one book and get you excited for more yet they could have worked on its own and I think that is a truly remarkable achievement.