Our review of fantasy novel Six of Crows by author Leigh Bardugo.
Six of Crows is a dark and gritty fantasy novel that offers a world of very little hope while also keeping you hopeful for its earnest, likeable characters. Set around a ragtag group of thieves attempting a heist that is considered impossible, it brings to mind Suicide Squad mixed with D&D in the best ways.
The fantasy world of Six of Crows is a unique one. It is not swords and sorcery and it is not urban fantasy. There are guns and there are daggers. There is magic set forward in a more scientific fashion. There is a map of the book’s own unique world that is diverse and deep and believable. There is a quite a lot of information given up front, and it can feel hard to quickly learn countries and their complex relationships as well as factions since it is never fully laid out. But the casual conversations about these places bring a nice life to them. Especially since all the characters have their own unique opinions.
Speaking of characters, Six of Crows offers a diverse group of very likeable characters each battling with their own pasts. In fact, their “secret backstories” is a major driving force of this book. The big past reveals can start to feel a bit routine since each character has their own dark secrets, but they do make you feel for each character very deeply. The book gets a bit close to the “female characters mother toxic men into good behavior” trope, but stops itself of crossing the line fully.
The writing is beautiful, lively, and keeps the plot moving forward. The descriptions are well-balanced. The fights have a good pace, although they are on the surprisingly gory side for a “teen read”. The author does a good job at pacing the plot so there are plenty of twists
The world of Six of Crows is dark and depressing. It is a world of back-stabbing, manipulation, and where hope can’t really grow. So if that is not your cup of tea, this story will weigh heavily on you. But there is humor to alleviate this weight, and each character has their own hope for a better future. Or at least a satisfyingly revenge.
All in all, Six of Crows is recommended for fantasy fans! It is fun, fast-paced, and offers a fully realized world. We give it a 9 on a d10.