1st read - February 2017
2nd read - March 2018
Update to the original review
And I am sure there will be many more re-reads, and I am not even that into re-reading books multiple times, but I do think that this duology is well worth it.
This time around I focused on all of the crows and all of their stories (first time Nina with her big oaf of Fjerdan stole all of my attention), but now I finally understood the hype behind team Inej, because that girl shone brighter than the sun in this book (and the previous one as well) for me.
Also Wylan was even more precious the 2nd time around - precious little cinnamon bun! His story arc was actually my favorite (well if I had to choose favorites, because I truly loved them ALL).
It will be hard to top this duology for me. So I am going to go ahead and say that this was my best fantasy read in 2017!
There is always a speculation about reading Grisha trilogy before the Six of Crows duology, but I will say that you don’t have to. Not reading Grisha before Crows does not spoil the experience of it, however it does give away some of the events that happened in the Grisha trilogy.
I think I liked Six of Crows a tiny bit more. Don’t get me wrong, this book is flawlessly played – the plot, the twists, the humor, the characters, it’s all spectacular. I just didn’t feel like the justice was delivered to those who deserved it the most, and that left me a little bitter. Okay, maybe more than a little!
Bardugo must be a ninja of writing, because I did not see any of her twists coming. At one point I literally stared at the page not believing what I was reading. Also if somebody told you that this book is full of merchant’s talk, political conspiracies and business strategies, you might think that it would be very boring. Well, it’s anything, but boring! Takes a skill to write about such dull things in such an edge gripping manner.
As I mentioned above, the humor in this book was priceless.
“Mattias had the overwhelming urge to brush it away with his lips. It’s probably poisonous, he told himself sternly. Maybe he should take a walk.” – Matthias’ attempts at being proper and not giving into his desire for Nina were very comical. I kept imagining this big, blonde warrior guy swooning each time Nina took a step.
“Kaz is wondering if he should keep you alive, said Jesper. Terrible for the nerves. I recommend deep breathing. Maybe a tonic.” – Jesper never failed to amuse as well.
“No mourners” Nina murmured. “No funerals”, Mattias replied quietly. – On page 49 there was a moment when I realized that it wasn’t just the saying. It was a symbol that all the rats, the nobodies and the poor are never given proper burial, are never remembered. That hit me with sadness quite hard.
“You don’t have enough money to buy her waffles”, Wylan grumbled. “Be quiet. We’re in a library” – That made me laugh out loud!
“And then the nightmare began. It wasn’t that Alys was so bad, she just never stopped. She sang between bites of food. She sang while she was walking through the graves. She sang from behind a bush when she needed to relieve herself” – Once again, laughing!
“I prefer to think of the good times. Like when you held my hair as I was vomiting into a bucket.” – Did I mention that Nina was my favorite?
“The words on the page were a meaningless scrawl, a black mess of insect legs. He fought for breath. “Jesper, please”, he begged, his voice thin and reedy. “Read it to me”. – One of the saddest moments in a book. Realization how crippling Wylan’s inability to read actually was. And finding out that his mother was alive and locked into the asylum, what a twist!
“She rested her head on his shoulder. “You are better than waffles. Matthias Helvar”. A small smile curled the Fjerdan’s lips. “Let’s not say things we don’t mean, my love”. – I absolutely adored their relationship.
Which brings me to the parts that left me bitter. I don’t know why I was so sure that they all would make out alive out of this book too, I guess I just really wanted to believe it. I did not see Matthias to be the one to go, when he died I couldn’t believe it. I turned the page and saw the shortest chapter ever with his name on top, and my soul was crushed. He was so big, so strong, so loyal – how could it have been him? But somebody had to die, right? All the good books are doing it. I am just biased because Nina is my favorite and I absolutely ADORED them together. I will get over it. Eventually. No mourners.
My heart hurt so much for Nina. She has fought so hard, but lost so much. Her real power, and then Matthias. I was so hoping that she would go to Ravka with him, but instead she got to lay next to his corpse on a boat taking them away.
On contrary, Inej got everything she ever wanted, which don’t get me wrong, I was happy and she deserved it. But after Nina’s loss her gains felt like a slap in the face. She got her boat, she got her parents and she held hands with Kaz, which to him is basically equivalent of having sex.
And the biggest, bitterest moment was that Jan Van Eck got off too easily, in my opinion. I saw him as the true villain of the story. Pekka was a rat, a thief, a swindler – he didn’t do anything out of his character. But Van Eck? He was supposed to be an honest merch, but instead he was more rotten than all of the corpses on Reaper’s Barge together. He tried killing his son multiple times, he stuck his wife into a mad house, swindled the crows out of an honest deal. And all he got was a prison term, I wanted to see him suffer way more than that.
I was so incredibly happy that this book didn't follow many of ya cliche pit falls. There was no insta love, no love triangles and only two people out of six ended up in a relationship by the end of the book.
Altogether this was a perfectly executed fantasy, with twists and turns that always kept me on the edge. Kaz’s brilliance and the way he always was ahead of a game, even when it all seemed lost, was invigorating to read. He is truly one of the most dimensional and badass characters ever created.
None of them was a “hero”, they just were a bunch of hurt, but talented misfits, and that made them all very lovable.
I also felt that there was a lot of room left to make this a trilogy, or even more. Who knows? Maybe one day we will get more of the crows. The Council of Tides definitely left things hanging in the air, Nina going to Ravka opened many possibilities to continue on this story (where did her new power will take her?) , and I would have loved to know more about where Dunyasha came from. This duology is definitely my number 1 read in 2017 so far, as well as a new favorite of all times. So happy that I discovered Leigh Bardugo.
Here is a picture of the Crows I found on Pinterest. I am not sure who the artist is, but she/he did an amazing job portraying them. Look at them, they are all so perfect <3