I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t feel like I fit the typical description of most bookworms on the internet. I’m not an overly voracious reader who consumes hundreds of books every year. Instead, I like to read books in small doses over long spans of time, meaning I’m lucky to hit the double digits of books read by the time the year is up.
I’m just someone who is always in the midst of reading something, even though I’m not often reading. (Does that make any sense?)
Anyways, the point I’m trying to get to is that because I don’t read many books each year, I get really excited when a book (or series) I devote my time to ends up blowing me away. I become relieved that the book (or series) I’ve chosen to read wasn’t a waste of time, since I’ll read so few in a year, and feel compelled to shout about it to others so that other on-again off-again readers like myself get a chance to read good books too.
Today’s post is dedicated to one such series I want to shout about: the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.
Reasons you should read the Six of Crows duology
There’s so much potential for death!
Okay, this is probably not the usual thing people lead with when recommending a book, but c’mon! What’s more interesting than a book that has many opportunities for the characters to die?!
I’m pretty sure the characters in this story face death every other chapter. Whether they’re reflecting on a close encounter they had with their demise during a flashback or putting themselves in critical danger while attempting to carry out their master plans (well, Kaz’s master plans), these guys are always bumping shoulders with death.
I think the fact that things could go wrong at any moment, that the characters could die anytime, makes it hard to put the book down. You have to keep reading to find out if they’ll make it and, if they do, what near-death scenario they’ll find themselves in next. (And, on top of that, it’s sort of a fun game trying to guess which character will be the one to go (if any). If you’re anything like me you’ll end up ranking the characters from “I’m okay with you dying” to “Please no, you can’t leave me!”)
It revolves around a group of diverse and dynamic characters.
I have to admit, this book felt like a breath of fresh air for me. I find that most of the books I read focuses primarily on one character. Sure, I may get a sense of the other characters in the story, but for the most part I’m stuck just following this one character around. Not with this book.
The Six of Crows duology focuses on a group of characters and each one is fully fleshed out in a beautiful way. Sure, it can be a little overwhelming at first when reading a book featuring a full cast like this, but I think Bardugo does a great job of giving readers numerous cues as to who is who. From their physical appearances to their obsessions to their personalities to their back stories, each character is explored throughout this series in a way that allows the reader to get a sense of who they are without having to constantly stalk them. I loved it.
There were many interesting relationships to explore (not just the romantic ones)!
The best thing about this series focusing on a group is the fact that it provided many opportunities for relationships, whether platonic or something a bit more. I ended up rooting for the friendships just as much as I did the romantic relationships, and in the end both delivered.
If you’re a reader like me you’ll especially appreciate the fact that the relationships are realistically formed. As far as I can remember, there’s no insta-love happening in this series. The relationships formed happen slowly over time and, in the most cases, had a complicated past before the story even begins.
It was just really fun to see these characters grow throughout the story and see how they worked with each other to get their shit done. Every one had a role. It made me jealous that I don’t have my own kick-ass team to work with.
The characters we follow are sort of, well, bad.
Okay, I’m not sure that everyone would agree with this point of view, but as far as I’m concerned the main characters in this story are sort of “bad guys”. Though they may be good people on the inside, we know going into this story that most of them come from a gang. They shoot, spy, gamble, steal, etc. Everything they do in this series, no matter how justified, is pretty much not legal where they’re from. And I find that absolutely fascinating.
It’s like the death thing. Having this story revolve around a group of troublemakers makes everything that more fascinating because you’re just waiting for their actions to catch up with them. Surely at some point they’re going to push it too far or come face to face with either justice or a bigger bad. It’s just another engaging elements.
But this is especially true with Kaz. Oh my, Kaz, you villainous heart-throb you. Kaz is a great character because he constantly treads that line between being reasonably bad and just an outright monster. It’s like you want to like him because you know he’s had it rough and his masterminded-ness is just so good, but you’re also worried he’s a psychopath and that rooting for him makes you a bad person. (I need more characters like Kaz in my stories.)
The magic from the Grisha Verse series continues!
If you’ve read the Grisha Verse series, you’ll know that Bardugo has created a magical world where some people have powers. I don’t want to go into great details describing said powers because I’m lazy, but pretty much, powers = awesome. I’m sure you’ll agree.
The nice thing is that though you may be familiar with the powers within the Grisha world from her earlier series, Bardugo introduces elements in this series to keep it fresh and interesting. And those new elements make total sense when thinking about the world overall. They aren’t just added for the sake of adding them, they make sense. I really appreciated that. (Okay, that’s pretty vague but I don’t want to spoil anything so apologies.)
You can also say the magic continues from the Grisha Verse series as some of the characters from the earlier series make a cameo within this one, which was a fun surprise! Though I will say if you wanted to not be spoiled about certain characters, I’d read the series in order of publication. There was one reveal from the Grisha Verse series mentioned in this duology that I think is funner to learn the original way.
And let’s not forget that the books themselves are sooooo pretty.
Lastly, I’m going to say that even if you don’t want to actually read this series you should at least buy it because the books themselves are absolutely beautiful. From the beautiful maps by Keith Thompson to the striking cover design by Rich Deas to the dark-colored edges of the paper, these books are everything I wanted and more. I almost feel like if you can’t appreciate how beautiful then we can’t be friends because they speak to my soul, you know? So please, love them like I do.
You should read the Six of Crows duology because it features multiple close-encounters with death, revolves around a group of dynamic and engaging characters, contains platonic and romantic relationships that are easy to get behind, follows a cast of not-so-good people, involves magic and fun connections to Bardugo’s earlier series, and IS FREAKING BEAUTIFUL. I pretty much read it for that last reason alone and I didn’t regret it, so you have not excuse to not to. Pick it up, read it, and tell me your thoughts. I want to know!
Have you read The Six of Crows duology yet? If no, do you plan on it? What’s holding you back? And if you have read it, what did you think? Who was your favorite character? What did you think of all the things? Do you plan on reading her King of Scars books when they come out? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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Or, if you want to check out another one of my book recommendations:
Uprooted: the book that makes me say “FIVE FUCKING STARS!!!!”