Young Adult Fantasy Fiction is one of the trendy genres that is highly preferred and appreciated by audiences nowadays. There are a plethora of writers specializing in this genre, and one such author is Leigh Bardugo.
Book readers must be already familiar with her creation of Grishaverse in her Shadow and Bone Trilogy. This fantasy series became popular among the readers, which led her to release a spin-off duology called Six of Crows set in the same universe with different plots and characters.
Six of Crows Duology is one of the best fantasy fiction books and takes the readers on a thrilling heist! The plot and characters are incredible, and trust me when I say you are missing out if you still haven’t read this duology.
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Six of Crows Duology was a massive hit and was added to the list of favorite fantasy reads of many, including me. After reading the series, I fell in love with the overall plot and especially the characters of the books.
Today, I will be reviewing the Six of Crows Duology along with providing an overview of both books and will also describe a little bit about the amazing characters written by Leigh. So, without wasting any more time, let’s jump into the review!
Understanding The Characters Before Diving Into The Review
This duology is about a dangerous heist carried out by six young people, all having motives behind joining the mission. Leigh Bardugo is known for her other works, such as the Shadow and Bone trilogy, where we are introduced to the Grisha world (people who have the power to manipulate the elements of nature, known as masters of small science).
The author created this story in the same universe (Grishaverse) with new characters and plots.
It is essential to know about the characters to comprehend the whole story. Before the summary, read about the few main characters of the book so your mind won’t be puzzled while reading the article. The main characters of the duology are:
1. Kaz Brekker
Kaz Brekker, also known as Dirtyhands, is the mastermind of the crew. He is the leader of Dregs, one of the many gangs in Ketterdam, Kerch. He has created a reputation for himself at the age of seventeen.
Kaz is known to be ruthless, a man who can do anything to take what he wants without worrying about other’s feelings. He has a troubled past and is determined to take revenge.
2. Inej Ghafa
Inej Ghafa, known as Wraith, works for Kaz and is a spy for his gang. She is one of the best spies of Ketterdam. Inej is a Suli who used to live in Ravka and was trained in acrobatics since she was a kid.
At the age of fourteen, she was kidnapped by the slavers and sold to a brothel in Ketterdam, but later was rescued by Kaz.
3. Nina Zenik
Nina Zenik is a Corporalki, a trained Grisha of the Second Army of Ravka. She was separated from her group during a quest and was captured by the Druskelle, Fjerdan army.
Surviving a lot of incidents, Nina manages to reach Ketterdam, where she works at one of the most luxurious brothels. Later, she joins Kaz Brekker in his mission.
4. Jesper Fahey
Jesper Fahey is the sharpshooter of the crew who also works for Kaz. He used to live in Novyi Zem and came to Ketterdam to study, but his love for gambling led him to drop out of school with a lot of debts to pay.
Jesper has a secret that he hides from everyone except for Kaz because this man knows everything about everyone.
5. Wylan Van Eck
Wylan Van Eck, son of merchant Jan Van Eck, has an estranged relationship with his father. He has left the privilege of money and is lurking in the streets of Ketterdam when Kaz hires him. Wylan is a demolition expert and also a good sketcher.
6. Matthias Helvar
Matthias is a Druskelle, a Fjerdan soldier who got separated from his team during a shipwreck. He and Nina had a history together, and due to her, Matthias was put into Hellgate (Kerch prison). He has a hate/love relationship with Nina and is later rescued by the crew to join Kaz’s mission.
Overview of Six of Crows Duology
The books under the Six of Crows duology are:
- Six of Crows
- Crooked Kingdom
I will summarize both books under separate headings so it will be easier for you to have an overall idea about the plots of each part. So, let’s get started!
1. Six of Crows
Six of Crows is the first book in the duology and was published in 2015.
A Shu scientist named Bo Yul-Bayur has developed a drug known as Jurda Parem, which enhances and strengthens the power of Grishas. But the drug, after consumption, makes the Grishas addictive and increases their craving, and eventually, their desire for the Parem becomes painful and takes a massive toll on their health, making them severely sick. The Fjerdan army captures this scientist in the Ice Court, the most secure fortress of the nation.
Jan Van Eck, a merchant of Ketterdam, asks Kaz Brekker to rescue the scientist because he doesn’t want this powerful drug to fall into the wrong hands. In return, he promises to reward Kaz with a good amount of money.
With much effort and planning, Kaz forms a crew of six people, including Inej, Jesper, Matthias, Nina, Wylan, and himself. The group sets sail to complete this dangerous heist, and a lot of incidents happen throughout the story, with failures and successes.
This part ends with a cliffhanger, with the suspense revealed in the next book.
2. Crooked Kingdom
Crooked Kingdom is the second part of the duology and was published in 2016.
After the surprising events of the second book, where Kaz and his crew are betrayed by Jan Van Eck, they are left with no resources and allies. With the whole country looking for them, the group stays in hiding, and mastermind Kaz plans his revenge with full force.
Kaz, with his crew, works together to bring down Jan Van Eck piece by piece. But this time, they are not only dealing with the merchants, but people of other nations are also chasing them to grab Bo Yul Bayur and retain the power of Jurda Parem. With the Shu government attacking vigorously, Ketterdam is in massive havoc.
But it’s not so simple to defeat Kaz Brekker. The mastermind, Dirtyhands, plans everything precisely to take what he wants, and he is ready with a foolproof plan to rectify the mistakes and take back the victory this time.
This book covers a vast dimension compared to the previous book, with many extra plots included to make it interesting and mysterious. So, can Kaz Brekker and his team win this time and take back their reward, or will they be imprisoned to rot for life?
You must join the heist with the crew to get all the answers!
My Review of Six of Crows Duology
I need to delve into a fantasy world occasionally to feed my mind with imagination beyond reality. Fantasy books are escapism from the real world, and I personally love to dive into a universe where I can experience magical moments with pure joy.
I was looking forward to reading the Six of Crows duology, and after I finished the books, I can say they surpassed my expectations and are now one of my favorite fantasy reads.
The author’s introduction of Grishaverse, where she creatively gave a new meaning to magic, was incredible. I loved the concept of Grisha’s magic and its enhancement throughout the story.
The entire world-building was impressive in the books, with solid action scenes and a strategized heist, and all these parts were brilliantly articulated together to deliver a great plot to the readers.
The best part of the duology was the characters. All six main protagonists were amazingly written with strong individual personas; their sufferings, opinions, and life experiences were the elements I highly connected with. Once you read both books, you will learn that the individuals cannot be categorized as bad or good; they are all somewhere in between, into a grey territory, which is an extremely realistic depiction of young adults.
Leigh’s approach of dividing the POVs of each character sequentially, giving them equal chances, and allowing us to learn about all the protagonists’ views was excellent. The author smartly used third-person narration in the POVs so the readers can connect with the characters easily and not get puzzled by the involvement of various perspectives.
Apart from this, the emotion of revenge is very strongly demonstrated in the books. The overall idea of how acting upon people who did you wrong is not something to be ashamed of, being courageous to stand up for yourself, and asking for help when required are some aspects I felt very relatable.
The only complaint I had with the author is how a few characters were not given the importance they deserved in the first half of the plot. But later, it was balanced, which made me happy!
It is not mandatory to read the Shadow and Bone trilogy to read this duology; both are wholly different and can be read without following the other. But if you prefer detailed information, you can start with the main series and continue the duology later.
I will definitely recommend the Six of Crows duology to everyone, as I’m sure you will love the plot and characters, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading it!
The duology includes a lot of themes on which the entire plot is based, and I will be listing a few important themes of the book so you can have an idea about the messages the author is trying to convey to us.
Vengeance is one of the major themes incorporated in the story. Once you read the entire duology, it’s easy to comprehend how the emotion of revenge is piled up in all the characters. Each character has their own story of suffering that led them to choose the path of vengeance.
2. Conflicts of Love
The feeling of love can be barely seen as an easy and acceptable emotion throughout the story. Due to the lack of affection and devotion to countries, the characters struggle to express their love toward each other. Except for a few, as their strong emotion of love overpowers their inner conflicts.
Trauma is another major theme of the duology, and you will feel the trauma induced within each character after reading. The backstories of each that led to their trauma differ, but the pain and suffering are common among the characters. However, in the end, you will see people overcoming their traumatic phases in their own way.
Whether it is reality or fiction, the hunger for power is the same everywhere. The whole story is based on gaining power and control to become the ultimate authoritative figure. The duology tells us how the quest for power can lead us to our own destruction.
Imprisonment here signifies both the literal and metaphorical aspects. A person can be imprisoned physically as well as mentally. Mental imprisonment is equal to the pain of physical, and the characters in the story can be seen to experience both of these kinds.
Prejudice is a strong feeling of dislike and hatred, which is incredibly portrayed in the books. You will see the prejudicial feelings of the Fjerdans against the Grishas, the merchants’ dislike toward Kaz and the people living in the Barrel, and many more. And this feeling still hangs at the end of the books, despite the various life-changing events.
Observing, understanding, and listening to your instincts to derive a conclusion about a particular situation is frequently used in the story by one and only Kaz Brekker. It tells us that sometimes, being smart and acting according to your gut feeling can be fruitful. But luck is also an essential factor in these kinds of situations.
The duology was a fantastic read that gave me a thrilling experience throughout, and I’m sure all the readers who have already read the books and are fantasy lovers will have the same opinion.
I hope this article turns out to be a helpful read, and my review of Six of Crows duology was convincing enough for you to grab the books right away.
Have you read any of the books based on Grishaverse? And what about the Six of Crows Duology? Tell me your views in the comments below! I will be happy to read your review!