“Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.” Leigh Bardugo takes us back to the world of The Grisha in the action packed Six of Crows.

Welcome to Ketterdam, a port city run by gangs, thugs, pimps and thieves. Among the thugs of Ketterdam, seventeen year old Kaz Brekker just might be the toughest. Kaz is known as Dirtyhands because of the gloves he always wears and because there is no job too messy for Kaz to do, for the right price. When Kaz is offered a king’s ransom to break into the famously impregnable prison at the Fjerda Ice Court, there is no way he can refuse. The money will make Kaz the undisputed head of his gang the Dregs and allow Kaz to settle a very personal score. But there is far more at stake than just money. The future of Ketterdam and the world may rely on Kaz’s success.

In order for Kaz to pull off this impossible heist, he’ll need an impossible crew. Gathering just the right people may prove as difficult as the job itself. We follow Kaz through the underbelly of Ketterdam as he collects his crows along the way. A convict, a sharpshooter, a runaway, a spy, a witch and a thief make up the gang of six who will do the impossible, or die trying.

Six of Crows is heist story but simmering underneath is so much more. Each of the six thieves Bardugo introduces has their own personal history, their own reason for agreeing to the world’s toughest heist and their own special skill that makes us believe they just might pull it off. The reasons for agreeing to attempt the impossible are just as unique and compelling as each of the crows themselves. Even Kaz who appears to be motivated purely by greed, has a closely guarded reason for risking everyone’s life and it has very little to do with money. Everyone has a reason to steal, a secret to keep and something to lose if they fail.

In Six of Crows, Bardugo does what she does best: she gives us action, richly drawn, complex characters and a plot with enough layers to constantly keep us guessing. Bardugo brings us back to the world of The Grisha, also known as the Grishaverse, a place of dark magic she first introduced us to in her Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Rise and Ruin). Bardugo cleverly dovetail parts of Six of Crows with the Grisha Trilogy which makes me want to go back to see where characters and storylines may overlap. This is not Bardugo’s first return to the Grishaverse. She’s also written a prequel and three folk tales set in the world of The Grisha. But with Six of Crows we’re able to learn more about Ketterdam and its inhabitants.  It’s clear that these characters have more to say than could fit into a novella or stand-alone novel.

Six of Crows is the first in a series, so it’s no surprise that we’re left wanting more when the book ends. Just dipping a toe into the Grishaverse makes you want to completely immerse yourself and since we can’t find out what’s next for Kaz Brekker and his band of thieves until Empire of Crows comes out September 2016, we might as well explore more of the Grishaverse while we wait. Until then, I’ll meet you this time next year back in Ketterdam!

Ann-Eliza

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