Every so often a book will come along which will make you re-evaluate all the 5 star reviews you have given in the past. Six of Crows for me is that book. Set in Leigh Bardugo's "Grishaverse" it is the tale of an impossible heist where the rewards far outweigh the risk. Our main protagonist Kaz Brekker is fast becoming a legend in the bowels of the Barrel, the criminal underworld of Ketterdam. He is young, but a driven and ruthless trickster, with a team to match. They are tasked with breaching the heavily fortified Ice Court to rescue a scientist held hostage. It's a feat which has never been achieved, but with the promise of a reward that will take Kaz and his team out of the bottom of the Barrel it's risk he's willing to take, after all, just how many things could go wrong?
Six of Crows is told in multiple points of view, which can sometimes be confusing for me but there were only a couple of occasions that I found myself flipping back to the start of the chapter to remind myself who in the limelight. I felt that this was a style that worked really well with this story as the main six often found themselves in different places with different tasks and this way of storytelling allowed it all to come seamlessly together. Whilst it does majorly involve the Grisha, I found it was a world that I easily fell into pace with, without having read the Grisha Trilogy first. I'm told there are a number of nods which are present but I never felt lost or like I was missing out.
The characters are fantastic, my favourite by far was Inej, the wraith. Rescued from the oldest profession by Kaz, she is a force to be reckoned with, a silent assassin. There are no walls she can't climb or secrets she can't glean. I felt most for her, what she had been through before joining with Kaz and how it had driven her to become who she now was. I loved the sense of purpose that grew within her throughout the story. The others too though all have their stories to tell, a proper band of misfits all with their secrets and terrible histories that have shaped them. It's hard to remember that they are all teenagers, but then that makes them easier to underestimate.
The audacity behind Kaz's plan is immeasurable and it is through this that I am just in awe of the writing. At just shy of 500 pages there was not a single moment of rest for the reader, I felt on edge every step of the way. I felt fear for these characters, trepidation but also the good humour that only a rag tag bunch of forgotten teenagers could have in the circumstances they faced. I simply did not want to put this down, at all. The last of the six sections I tried to slow down as I knew it was coming to an end but it pulled me in and wouldn't let go. It's rare for a book to leave me breathless, but this one really did. It's the first of a duology and I can't wait for pay day to roll round so I can pick up Crooked Kingdom. If I could give this six stars I would, It's a truly amazing read and If you're a YA fantasy fan you will not be disappointed!