Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows, #1)

"Book Thoughts" after a long while. Now, it's one of the much (but deserved) - hyped books lately: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I originally came across this book because I've noticed that its sequel, Crooked Kingdom, is dominating the "new releases" racks of all local book store I've been to. So I searched it at Goodreads and was surprised to see so many positive reviews... I decided to give it a go. And the rest was history. Let's just say I AM IN NO WAY REGRETTING THAT I CAME ACROSS THIS BOOK. Heh. *insert smirking face emoji* So after a lot of spazzing and hyperventilating, here are my thoughts:

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Blurb:
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. (via Goodreads)
Victoria Aveyard sums it up all up in her Goodreads review:

And be on edge I did. THIS BOOK WAS PHENOMENAL! I already came across a lot of YA novels but this is probably one of the best and it is here to stay. I was honestly surprised at myself for liking this too much because heist books are not really my cup of tea (or I just haven't been exposed enough). This book had me floored most of time, my heart beating fast with excitement. There was even one moment when I was too caught up with this piece of treasure that I was reading it my Kindle in the middle of a night out with friends. I was uncontrollably spazzing over this book at my social media accounts and my family and my friends and my workmates and to just about anyone who would care to listen. It was the perfect mix of thrilling plot, unexpected twists, great backstories, and an interesting cast of characters. And the romance (!!!) - gaaaaaahhhhd! - don't even get me started on that. It was raw, natural, restrained  -- and that, my friends, is how YA romance should be made of. It doesn't go over board, the tension, the development. It is not used as the center of the story, rather, one that moves the story forward and makes sense of each character's actions.

Let me just say that, as good as the plot was, more than that, I was fascinated with the main characters that make up this Leigh Bardugo masterpiece.

"A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse."

The book is told through alternating first person POVs of five of the crew - each POV fleshing out each of them and providing enough backstory and uncovered character motivation to keep the ball rolling. Even if I'm the type of person who would raise both two hands (and a foot, if possible) to declare my love for 1st person POVs, the story telling was pretty effective (bias aside). With a cast of complex and flawed but interesting characters, there's no way it won't work.

The Six of Crows // source
Nina, the sassy firecracker of a Grisha. Many fans said that they could identify with Nina the most and it's not really too hard to see. She's funny, bold, brave. A beautiful girl, with deadly powers and a heart. Matthias, a former Fjerdan druskelle. The doomed relationship was too good to my liking, but I liked the frame of a wounded warrior who sacrificed so much for love -- and is still torn between that and what his country stands for. Jesper, that funny man. A sharpshooter who had an obsession to anything that gets his adrenaline high. The comic relief in this impossibly epic book, I find myself cracking up every time he's in a conversation with anyone or just remarks something out of the blue. Wylan, a newbie at the barrel who proved himself to be a demolition expert by devising impossibly sophisticated bombs. He's the only one who does not have a POV in the book but the presentation still provided him much air time.

Kaz'z eyes should've been coffee;
But THIS FAN ART IS LIFE! Gaaaah.
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And of course: Kaz and Inej. There's so much to be said about these two, and, as you might've guessed.... these two are my absolute favorites in this book.
“You may still die in the dregs."

Inej’s dark eyes had glinted. “I may. But I’ll die on my feet with a knife in my hand.”
Inej Ghafa is one of the most badass book heroines I've ever read so far. She can fend for herself, dangerous. A freakin' ninja, if I'm gonna be honest. A legend in the Dregs, one who walks in the dark and steals your secrets. A Suli idealist, and one who holds her beliefs dear even in the darkest and most challenging of times. I'd like to thank Leigh for writing such a strong female character that knows what she deserves and is not willing to settle for less. *slow claps echoing*
“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”
Last but not the least, Kaz Brekker. In all his gloved and limping glory, Kaz managed to capture my attention the moment he appeared on page. Whipsmart, sarcastic, greedy, cruel, daring -- the best antihero I've read in a long while. Despite all these negatives, he managed to catapult himself so high up in my 'book boyfriend'  list. (Yeah, I keep such a list.) He wears black leather gloves all the time, uses a cane with a crow head handle and he freakin' wears a business attire on a daily basis. It might sound comic or out of place if you think about it but Leigh Bardugo managed to make a character that draws you in with such depth and intensity. He's selfish, but at least he's honest about it. A criminal prodigy, all dark humor and schemes. Leigh created such a tragic and complicated character at the center of this massive heist plot without going over the the top. Kaz Brekker ranks as one of the most memorable YA characters I've read.  And his was the POV I loved reading the most.

Leigh Bardugo managed to surprise in every turn with ridiculous plot twists and maneuvers that only validates just how awesome this crew of dangerous outcasts are -- sometimes, it's even hard to imagine these lot are just teenagers. Each with a depth of their own, and each with something to fight for. The dialogues and interactions are witty, entertaining. Although it was rather unfair for the first book to end like that, it was necessary and it felt like the natural choice.
Kaz leaned back. "What's the easiest way to steal a man's wallet?"
"Knife to the throat?" asked Inej.
"Gun to the back?" said Jesper.
"Poison in his cup?" suggested Nina.
"You're all horrible," said Matthias.
Kaz rolled his eyes. "The easiest way to steal a man's wallet is to tell him you're going to steal his watch. You take his attention and direct it where you want it to go..."
^ This quote right took the cake for me. Starting from there, everything went perfect and I was a goner.

THE CREW, from the French cover (which I definitely love!)
I've loved books before but only few made me frustrated as hell that I can't really draw properly. Too many times while reading this book have I wished that I could draw what's in my head (so I just settled on scrolling through Instagram and Tumblr fan accounts). Leigh Bardugo managed to get my whole being arrested, my whole attention invested in her world -- Saints, I am at her mercy!
I've been fangirling on a daily basis on all things since God knows when but only a few kept me restless and always on my feet. I was perpetually distracted for two weeks and this book is to blame. I've given out 5-star ratings in the past on impulse.... but I know this one is much deserved and, hopefully, won't change in the next few weeks. This book is too precious for words, too much for my heart. I am even declaring that it's THE BEST OF MY YEAR as early as now. This book blew me away with the force of multiple cannons combined. This is YA fantasy at one of its very best. Definitely recommended!

P.S.
And, oh, with or without armor, I'd definitely take Kaz Brekker.
______________
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:

The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.

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"I don't want to kill people, not really."
"That's a solid policy until people want to kill you..."

"Some people see a magic trick and say, 'Impossible!' They clap their hands, turn over their money, and forget about it ten minutes later. Other people ask how it worked. They go home, go to bed, toss and turn, wondering how it was done. It takes them a good night's sleep to forget all about it. And then there are the ones who stay awake, running through the trick again and again, looking for that skip in perception, the crack in the illusion that will explain how their eyes got duped; they're the kind who won't rest until they've mastered that little bit of mystery for themselves. I'm that kind."
"You love trickery."
"I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue."


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Reread it a couple of times because I was too busy highlighting. By the time I was finished, my copy was bleeding yellow. I was too lazy to review books these past months but Six of Crows proved to be an exception. Plus, I just bought a copy of Crooked Kingdom so before I dive in to that epic of a book and forget what my thoughts are for SoC, I wrote this instantly. It proved longer than I expected though. :)

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