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  • Writer's pictureSteven Thiele

Book Review: Six of Crows Duology

Updated: May 25, 2020

I’d been looking for something to read recently, and after seeing a bunch of great reviews on the internet, I finally picked up Six of Crows. I was not disappointed.

I think the thing that made it for me was the slow friendships and relationships forming within the Crows/Dregs crew. We only started with Kaz, Inej and Jesper, the original members of the Dregs, and then slowly added with Matthias, Nina and Wylan. Each had very unique personalities and fatal flaws. I really liked Jesper’s gambling problem, and how it directly impacted the story. That gambling problem would later force him to sell out the Dregs and get them in trouble before they even left the dock. It is really nice when the fatal flaw, even a side character’s flaw, directly impacts the story.

I also liked how different sources of exterior conflict came into these relationships. For example, Nina and Matthias had to overcome the stereotypes their nations had painted of each other. To him, she’s a witch. To her, he’s a monster. Meanwhile, Kaz’s trauma, which forces him to wear gloves all the time, also directly impacts his relationship with Inej. It is nice not to have her settle for less at the end, though as someone who was shipping them throughout the entire duology, it was disappointing not to have it confirmed, but it was a natural extension of their characters.

The second highlight I found was the magic system. Arguably I think the Grisha series would be a little more focused on the magic, but I liked the touches on it nonetheless. I liked the jurda parem better. The way the drug interacts with Grisha and messes with their powers is great. The limitations of this interaction make it more of a hard-magic system than I had expected, and I was very much enjoying it. The hard-and-fast rule that jurda parem forever changes the Grisha’s powers, gives room to play with. For example, though Nina is able to change someone’s appearance while under the effects of parem, when she recovers, she is unable to reverse the changes, as it left her powers weakened. This limitation is excellently done, and I really liked it.

My final highlight was the worldbuilding. I didn’t really care so much about the design of the Ice Court, I think more of the energy was invested into Ketterdam’s worldbuilding, and I didn’t mind one bit. Perhaps the best example was the auction at the end of Crooked Kingdom. Throughout both books, it was more and more developed that money is God in Ketterdam, and how the laws are there to protect the flow of money, at the expense of everything else. Even the ruling authorities are the Council of Merchants. It’s pure capitalism, and the main characters thrive off it. Ketterdam is a very gritty place, but it feels very grounded, and I think that might be the selling point.

My main issue is the killing off of a certain character who had just completed a redemption arc. Was not impressed. Hurt feelings aside, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom were an excellent pair of books, I might go read the other stories sometime in the future.

If you liked this book review and want to see other content, feel free to have a snoop around my blog, and maybe follow it! I post every Monday. If you want to talk writing, fantasy books or anything at all, you can tweet me at @sr_thiele.

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