Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Published in 2015 by Henry Holt and Companz.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: borrowed from a friend.

Genre: YA high fantasy.

My rating:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


I have a love-hate relationship with hyped-up books. I am always afraid to read them because they so often disappoint, yet I have the feeling that I should be reading them because I’m missing out on all the fun the cool kids are having. This is why I went into Six of Crows with no small amount of anxiety. I’d already read one Bardugo book (Shadow and Bone) and while I liked it, I didn’t love it, and I never finished the Grisha series. Well, I’ve never been happier that I decided to give an author a second chance!

Six of Crows simply has everything I love in a good fantasy. A diverse, interesting cast of morally gray characters? Check. A heist? Check. A well-developed world without info dumps? Check. A dash of romance that doesn’t overwhelm the plot? Check and check.

I loved the crew Kaz put together to take on a nearly impossible job. Each individual is important, well-rounded, and flawed, but also good. I don’t know how to explain this. The multiple POVs could have been too scattered or too similar if the characters weren’t well thought out, but their voices were distinct and I enjoyed them all.

But Kaz Brekker absolutely stole the show. I probably mentioned that I have a soft spot for thieves (Hello, Locke Lamora!) and orphans, but Kaz is a special breed of both – a cold, brilliant crime lord who elevated his crew of misfits from common pickpockets to great con artists. BUT he also has a weak spot, which makes him human in the best way possible. *happy sigh*

cannot resist a good heist plot and this one delivered beautifully. The story was just convoluted enough that it kept me on my toes and yet straightforward, without unnecessary subplots. Bardugo wrote a thing of beauty and I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom. Six of Crows undoubtedly made it into my top 10 of 2016!


Have you read Six of Crows? What did you think?

Any other thief stories I should check out (maybe with an all-woman crew or a female band leader)?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Greg Hill

    Ah, Six of crows. I have heard so much about this, and seen so many good reviews. I honestly don’t know that I’ve seen a bad review yet- I’m sure they’re out there, but everyone seems to really love this. I may have to break down and try these. The characters do sound great, and a heist tale with a well realized world.. does sound pretty good. :)

    I’m trying to think of any good thief tales I’ve read and am drawing a blank? That surprises me. I guess I haven’t read that many. The Fitz books by Robin Hobb come t mind, but he was an assassin not a thief. anyway… nice review. I need to add these.

    • I know, I haven’t seen any bad reviews, either, though a friend who doesn’t blog said she didn’t like it as much as she thought she would (but maybe that’s a case of too much hype, like I said).

      It helps that this is a duology, you don’t have to read a freaking 6-part series if you start it.

      Fitz is an assassin, yeah, I loved his story. Another fantastic morally gray character who is an orphan (yeah, I have a problem, why are all my favourite characters like this?).

  • This one’s been on my radar for a while now, and this is the second time in two days I’ve seen it being highly recommended by a blogger whose judgment I value! Definitely time to pick it up, I reckon. It sounds so good! :D

    • I hope you’ll give it a try because it’s really very good. And it’s a duology, so the time investment is much smaller than with some other YA fantasy series! :)

  • Yay! I’m so glad to hear from another trusted blogger friend that this book works well for people who didn’t love the Grisha books, because I just did not care for the first one. In fact, I don’t think I even finished it, which is saying a lot because I have a bizarre dedication to finishing books (even when they’re bad).

    I love heist plots, too! The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes is my current favourite, but it sounds like Six of Crows may give it a run for its money! :)

    • Right, The Palace Job! I remember you raving about that one. :) I put it on my to-buy list (and I’ll be buying a paperback so I can foist it on A., too!).

      And yeah, I don’t know why I didn’t like the Grisha books as much. I’m thinking of giving the first one a re-read when I finish Crooked Kingdom. But this series is absolutely worth a try, at least the first book – and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the second one.

  • Yeah I’m like that with hyped books too, but this is one I took a chance on as well because I love Bardugo’s writing. This really was a fun read. I haven’t’ gotten around to reading the sequel yet. I heard some things that didn’t make me happy, so I haven’t had the courage to pick it up yet. I’m thrilled that you loved it though. Kaz is definitely a scene-stealer. I’ll be honest, I loooved Nina more than anyone! But yeah, the whole gang is pretty awesome. :)
    Lovely review! Can’t wait to see what you think of the sequel!

    • Ahh no, I hope all your fears are unfounded and that you’ll enjoy Crooked Kingdom as much as you did Six of Crows.

      Nina was a fantastic heroine. She was so loyal and confident but also vulnerable. Bardugo writes great characters.

  • I can’t wait to read this – glad to see you enjoyed it. I also worry about books with a lot of hype but this one seems to have won over so many people :) Great review :) Also loving your blog – count me as a new follower :)

    • Thank you, Sarah, and welcome to my blog! :)

      I hope you’ll give Six of Crows a try because it was definitely the best kind of surprise for me. I really went in with low expectations and it blew me away!

  • Maraia

    Gaaah, everyone LOVES this book, and your review makes it sound amazing, so why didn’t I enjoy it?! I still am planning to reread it at some point, and I hope that I’ll like it more. I think I wasn’t in the right mood when I read it.

    • Ha, maybe it just isn’t a book for you! It’s like me and Illuminae – EVERYONE and their grandma loved it, raved about it, and I just disliked it so much. Bah. But yeah, mood is definitely a huge factor when it comes to liking books. If you think it’s worth it, give it another try! I just loved the crew so much. :)

      • Maraia

        But it sounds like such a me book! :P

  • I have stubbornly resolved to try the Grisha trilogy BEFORE getting into Six of Crows…I know a lot of people were let down by Grisha but a lot of trusted bloggers loved it too so I feel like I need to give it a chance. I’m holding out hope though that if it doesn’t deliver for me, THIS series will^^ Awesome review :D

    • Yeah, I understand why you’d like to read the Grisha books first. There are some mentions of those stories in Six of Crows (just general stuff, like mentions of war) but you can absolutely read them separately. I hope you like both series!

  • Top Ten! Wow! That’s awesome! I love all the things that you point out helped you love this book and I really enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy so I’m super glad I have this sitting on my kindle waiting for me to get off my figurative reading tush and read it. Your review may have inspired me to get to it before the end of the year…

    • Ohhh if you have it already, go for it! It’s a fantastic book, really. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did!

  • Six of Crows is a book I thought I might like but one I’m hesitant to read because I hated how the Grisha series went down. You may have convinced me to give Bardugo a second chance, though. I’ve just checked and my library has a copy so I will be borrowing very soon to see if this author deserves this second chance.

    It does sound like the characters are interesting. I do love a good heist. And I hear it’s meant a really fab read. You see nothing but rave reviews for it. There has to be a reason, right?

    • I think you should give Bardugo a second chance. And if you don’t like this one, you can swear her off forever. :) If you can get the book from the library, that’s even better. I checked here and of course it’s nowhere to be found. Eh.

      Heists are wonderful!

      I usually don’t trust books that only have rave reviews (hello, The Wrath and the Dawn and Illuminae!) but I just loved Six of Crows. I can’t help it.

      • I will trust your opinion and give it a chance. I probably won’t get around to it until the new year but it’s now on my radar. Bardugo will be given a second chance to win me over.

        I do know what you mean, though You can’t trust those rave reviews because sometimes they lie. I still can’t bring myself to read Nevernight or Illuminae and they are literally on my shelf gathering dust.

        • You know, given that you don’t hate horror, you might like Illuminae. Everyone else did – I’m really an exception here.

  • Ah, this was such a good book. A few of my friends read book two and told me about it and I think I’m just gonna leave it at this book since I didn’t like how things played out. So many people loved it though so I hope you do too.

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

    • *white noise sound* I’m going to pretend I didn’t read that and go into Crooked Kingdom with really high expectations. :D So far, I haven’t actually READ any of the reviews for the sequel because I’m mortally afraid of spoilers but I mostly saw really good ratings for it from bloggers I trust, so I’m hoping I’ll like it, too!

  • Sara Letourneau

    I think we might’ve just friended each other on Goodreads. ;) Plus I saw your reply to the Bibliosanctum’s review of UKLG’s novella anthology, so I decided to check out your site. Very nice! And we have similar reading tastes, too.

    So glad to read that you enjoyed Six of Crows, btw! I know the feeling about overhyped reads, but this book deserves its popularity because it’s so well done. And Crooked Kingdom, in my opinion, is EVEN BETTER than Six of Crows. So I hope you like that one as well!

    • Hi, yes, that’s me! :) Welcome to my blog and I’m happy you came around to say hi.

      I agree, Six of Crows deserves its fame. I’m looking forward to reading Crooked Kingdom, and I’m super glad you liked it because I had a couple of people say they hated how it turned out and it made me worried about it. I’m going to read it regardless but now I’m a bit wary of going in.