Alyssa Capel ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Copy Edited by Mia Daniele, ‘19
When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a seemingly impossible reconnaissance job that will make him rich beyond belief, he knows who he can count on to be part of his team. The group of wily, down-on-their luck teens (a runaway, a sharpshooter, an expert in stealth, an ex-convict, and a girl hunted for her abilities) set out with confidence and a sure plan, but little do they know that what rests on the outcome of their mission is nothing less than the fate of their world as they know it.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is the first in a new series, a spin-off of the incredibly popular Grisha Trilogy. Published September 29, 2015 by Henry Holt and Company, the book has been generating buzz within the Young Adult (YA) community for months, long before its release. Living up to the hype, Six of Crows is a deftly wrought fantasy adventure that marks Bardugo as a titan of the genre. Particularly exemplary is the lush, extensive setting and the diverse and realistic group of characters.
From the opening pages, Bardugo’s practiced hand guides readers into the fantastical and tantalizingly dangerous world of Ketterdam, her alternate version of the Dutch capital in its golden age. Without an overbearing presence, she crafts a setting that allows readers to slink through alleyways and walk crooked streets alongside her characters, creating an immersive reading experience. Further along in the novel, the setting shifts to a land called Fjerda whose origins are more difficult to pinpoint, complete with its own rich history, military system, and religion. Bardugo effortlessly weaves these details into the narrative, making every point interesting and none extraneous.
The other area in which the novel shines is in its strongly detailed characters. Not only is each character distinct and well-rounded, but each is given a chance to use their unique voice. Told from multiple points of view, the novel bounces between the six main characters and sometimes on to another character in order to reveal pertinent information. Though this technique is risky, it pays off well in Six of Crows. The characters’ voices are easily distinguished and add color to the story. The characters themselves are across the board complete and realistic. Much of this comes from their diverse traits and backgrounds; the cast includes POC characters, those who fall on the LGBT spectrum, and characters from varying classes and races. While these details are important to their personalities and to the story, they are never forced onto the reader’s radar. Rather, they are facts of life for the characters.
The suspenseful ending of the book will leave readers begging to know what will befall this unlikely group of heroes. The continuation will be a wait as the sequel, tentatively titled Empire of Crows, is set to release next fall.