So, it’s been awhile since Six of Crows came out. And it’s been a little less than that since I finished it. And in that amount of time this blog post hasn’t gotten a single bit easier to write. This book really was something special, and my reading experience with it was as well.
For one thing: This book is not at all what it seems at first glance. I didn’t tap into excerpts, didn’t pay much attention or do much research on it before it came out. I’ve been a Bardugo fan for a while, and so when she said “Ocean’s Eleven meets Game of Thrones”, I couldn’t care less what came after that.
For another thing: I got to go to the launch party the day before release. It was a milestone, a miracle, and one of the single best nights of my entire life.
Book events in and of themselves are special things. Unmatched is the energy of a room full of people excited to be at an instant gratification event for something that will take them hours to fully enjoy. Costumes and things everywhere, stacks of books for purchase on tables. At this particular event, the walls were lined with buildings (which you can sort of see in some of the pictures) and the only lights were those strung overhead.
When you stepped into that room in the Irving Library, you stepped onto the streets of Ketterdam.
When I specifically stepped into that room, I let out an inhuman wail and proceeded to fall into one of my friends, overcome as I was by the magnitude of the event. This place, this moment in time, simply sang of something special.
And if any of you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that’s what we’re all about, here.
So, mingling happened. Bracelets were created with stamps from all the characters on them. Anticipation grew, and grew, and grew, and grew–
And Leigh came out on stage.
Something special always happens when authors appear. It never fails. The crowd can tell that the object of their undying affections has appeared and will now proceed to impart bookish wisdom and laughter upon them.
Leigh spoke of magical things, like eleven-year-old her’s dramatic poetry (quite possibly the best poem I’ve ever heard in my life, miss Bardugo) and the things that influenced Six of Crows. She answered questions and delighted us with her tales, as always she will. She made us laugh and cry and then laugh some more, because Leigh Bardugo is queen and by god does she know how to run a party.
Leigh is, most probably, my favorite author that I’ve interacted with thus far. Everyone I’ve met has been incredible, but Leigh has a very genuine sort of way with her fans that I admire like hell. She puts everyone at ease and she smiles right back at you, and that’s something that I love very, very much about her and a quality that comes through in her writing as well.
Which brings me to the actual book. Put simply, this is how I feel about it:
Okay, a little more seriously though. This book is very hard to review and very, very hard to recommend. I’ve decided to call it a niche book, despite its wide publicity and major appeal.
Well, because it is. I’ve heard Leigh pitch it as “Ocean’s Eleven meets Game of Thrones”, which is pretty accurate. But what Six of Crows is, pure and simply, is a con story. And it’s a con story with a very particular mastermind.
There are very few con stories in teen lit, period, and even fewer that drive forward on the axle that this Kaz Brekker. Characters like Kaz are dynamic and rely mostly on the way their inner struggle influences their outward path of living. They’re charismatic, often unkind, and always intimidating. Characters like this draw audiences with their gusto, but they’re a special kind of character that only keeps its influence over those that understood something about them.
Kaz is the very definition of this character type, making Six of Crows a high-impact book…to a select group of people. He is unfathomably real, and I think that’s why Six of Crows may have an underlying hum rather than buzz. This book will make its way into the hands and heads of a lot of people, but I believe it’s a book that’s really truly meant straight up to find its way into the heart of others, and those are the ones that will…well, remember it.
Because I can praise the con day in and day out. I can praise Leigh’s writing and her misdirection and how her story world still has me living in it three weeks later. I can tell you exactly how well each of the characters worked together and how natural they all seemed and how sad I am for each of them, but I don’t think it would make an impact, because I’m not sure this is a book I can recommend. I think if you want it badly enough you can find it for yourself.
Because I think Six of Crows is the book some people have been looking for for a while. And I think those are books that are meant to be found.