SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

Read this if you’re in the mood for: young adult fantasy, diversity, general badassery, world-building, character development, multiple POV, magic

Summary: 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. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Read this if you like:
WHITE CAT / Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black
Beyond the excellent writing and the slick, sneaky, and too-smart-for-his-own-good main character, SIX OF CROWS reminded me of WHITE CAT because the world feels so real, and there's just a touch of magic (or people with magical abilities) that makes this book technically a fantasy. Also, people with abilities aren't the norm, so they're very much feared, revered, and hunted.

HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter (or OCEAN'S ELEVEN, your choice!)
Make no mistake — SIX OF CROWS is a fantasy and much, much darker than HEIST SOCIETY (and OCEAN'S ELEVEN, for that matter). But you have multiple characters with varied skills and backgrounds coming together for one epic, "impossible" heist. It's like THE BREAKFAST CLUB gets out of detention and decides to pull off a heist.

SHADOW AND BONE / Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
If you loved the world of the Grisha trilogy, you're in luck! But SIX OF CROWS is very much its own book, independent from the previous series, and many will argue that it's even better. It definitely feels like less of a fantasy, solely because it's not from the POV of the Grisha army, though one of the characters is a Grisha.

The Rec: This book. was. awesome. The idea of six main characters usually makes me scoff and think that only one, maybe two, will be deftly drawn, and the rest will just hang out on the periphery. Nope. Those 450+ pages were put to great use, and you truly get to know and care about these flawed, diverse, scrappy people who each have their own demons to exorcise (figuratively, of course).

I also loved the relationships between the characters, and how nuanced and unsure the connections were. When you have people who've come from different backgrounds and have done the unthinkable just to survive, there are some trust issues! The characterization (and witty dialogue) is what truly elevated this book from good to great and kept me engaged the whole time.

And then there's the job: sneaking into an unbreakable prison, and then breaking someone out. There are multiple settings, and the world-building is vivid and nuanced in each. The heist is clever but never feels over-the-top, and every character's strength gets to shine and each persons's weakness sets them back. The characters pair up and separate in different groups throughout, so the dynamic is ever-changing. The action scenes are also top notch, no surprise there! Overall, the plot kept me guessing and intrigued.

The Caveat: This book is nearly 500 pages. I didn't mind one bit. Also, bonus points that it's a duology, not a trilogy-that-should-be-a-duology, so I'd much prefer two longer books with perfect, necessary plot arcs than separating into three with a useless book in the middle. Yay duologies!

You should read this because: At this point, I'm just gushing about everything because it's a high-quality book from start to finish, but the characters are what stand out the most and elevate this to a 5-star read.

Read this book!
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt & Company, September 29, 2015)
Indiebound/B&N

Recommendation by: Donna