Leigh Bardugo has become one of my favourite fantasists in the Young Adult world. I was very excited to hear about her newest series, The Dregs. I was even more excited to receive a manuscript of Six of Crows, the first of the series, before the ARCs were released. It’s just as wonderful as I wanted it to be.
Six of Crows begins with a suicide mission to the famed Ice Court of Fjerda. Kaz Brekker, a 17-year-old disabled criminal, has been approached by the Ketterdam merchant Van Eck with a request. The task is to rescue Bo Yul-Bayur, a Shu inventor of the Jurden Parem. The Jurden Parem is a stimulant drug that enhances Grisha abilities. The merchant council of Ketterdam is afraid that in the wrong hands this drug could make them capable of many atrocities. No one should have this level of power.
Kaz has grown a thirst for revenge during his time in Ketterdam. The job could put him on the path to quench that thirst, but to accomplish his goals he must first put his trust into the hands of five unlikely allies – The Dregs.
The Dregs are all hardened outcasts. Their backgrounds are all diverse, their personalities varied, but when Kaz gives them a purpose each member performs to the best of their ability…no matter what it costs them personally.
Six of Crows packs a firmer punch than its predecessor. Imagine the characterization of Firefly applied to a Megan Whalen Turner book and you have some idea of what is going on here. It’s far grittier than the remote world of Ravka and its glittering palaces. The world of the Dregs is all night-darkened back alleys and the smell of spilled blood in the air. The soundtrack of this book eschews the click of heels on marble floors for the sounds of a sharpened blade slicing through flesh. It is brash and exciting and thoroughly, delightfully uproarious. I loved every word.
Six of Crows also introduces a new group of Bardugo characters to fawn over; a likeable cast of villains, thugs, and reprobates. Every one of them is highly skilled and everyone could turn on Kaz at a moment’s notice. No one gets out of this book with clean hands and that’s what makes this book so incredibly impressive – The likelihood that your closest friend might become your worst enemy in the span of a heartbeat.
There’s a beauty to Bardugo’s writing that has been honed to pinpoint precision. We all loved her Grisha Trilogy. We followed Alina from darkness into light. With The Dregs she now asks us to stumble blindfolded into unknown territory; to trust her authorial hand to guide us. There is a great deal of trust that we put in her during this journey, a great deal of responsibility that the story she weaves for us is one of tremendous weight. The writing in this book lives up to that trust, the payoff is tumultuous, and the pacing and plot crackles like lightning. This book has some of the best writing that I have ever read from Bardugo and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Because of that, Six of Crows has already become my favourite book of 2015. I am mad about this book. I am mad about this world. More of this, Bardugo! More of this!
5 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –