Author: Leigh Bardugo

November 14, 2015

Review | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Review | Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows, #1
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, September 2015
Pages: 465
Format: Hardcover
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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

At first, I wondered if I was missing something. The first half of the book felt a little too long, a little too drawn out. I kept reading back pages, wondering if I had skipped a section/read too fast/completely missed the point. I couldn’t find that same addictive quality, that intensity that I’d fallen in love with in The Grisha Trilogy. The characters were interesting enough, the premise intriguing, but that narrative drive – it just didn’t grab me.

 
Then I hit the second half of the book.
 
OH MY. 
 
So, before we go any further, if there’s anyone who might be struggling in the beginning of Six of Crows, keep reading. There’s a whole world of adventure that awaits you. 
 
All this said, I’m glad Bardugo took her time setting up the world of Ketterdam. It’s the same world as the Grisha trilogy, just a few years in the future, but Kaz’s Ketterdam is an entirely different world than Alina’s Ravka. It’s a merchant city, half rich and prosperous, half dark and sketchy, run by gangs. Kaz is the leader of the Dregs, one of the most powerful gangs in the area. At first, it appears that he’s only driven by greed, waiting to make the next big score, but as the story progresses, Bardugo reveals more of his history. He’s a man seeking revenge and but also himself. When he’s offered the chance at millions of kruge (money), he can’t say no – no matter how dangerous the job is. 
 
His team reminded me of Ocean’s Eleven. Each character had their own role to play both within the group and the grand scheme of the crime. I felt the strongest connection with Nina, the Heartrender of the team. Even though she may have been afraid, she was never weak. I don’t know how she pulled that off after unintentionally reuniting with the man she put behind bars and now depended on for help. 
 
Each character had their own powerful story, one that wove into the grand adventure of Six of Crows. This constant reveal kept the tension and pace going, and I was hooked in the second half. With all of the character stories coming to light, how on earth would they hold it together long enough to penetrate the Ice Court, a place specifically designed to withstand all manner of criminals?
 
Bardugo does leave on a cliffhanger at the end of Six of Crows, but she tied up enough ends that it doesn’t feel like she just dropped off. That, my friends, is how you write a proper trilogy. There’s still the intrigue and the need to know what happens next, but I’m satisfied enough to hang on until the next book comes in 2016. 
 
4 Stars

Posted November 14, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 20, 2015

Review | Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Review | Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, #3
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., June 2014
Pages: 422
Format: Hardcover
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The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

 

There’s no way around it: I was a little apprehensive about reading Ruin and Rising. What if the series ended badly or, like some I could mention, the love triangle ruined what could have been an amazing ending? I know, I know – the arrogance of the reader. I finally took the plunge last week when I saw this gorgeous book lingering in shelves and snagged it.

It was a little odd how many guys wanted Alina. They weren’t all madly in love with her (that would have been a love…square?), but it felt a little silly at times. I appreciated how they wanted her for different reasons: Nikolai and the Darkling wanted her, partly, to further their purposes, but Mal wanted her for her. That variety made the relationships/love interests easier to understand.

I admired how Bardugo made Alina almost intentionally imperfect and, in emphasizing her flaws, built up her character even more. Her struggles with the light and the dark, the constant tug of war in her heart and mind, made Sankta Alina more of a person. This war inside herself is something that’s easy to identify: we’ve all struggled with something along the same lines: deciding who you want to be and then becoming it.

As for the storyline itself, whoa. Bardugo filled page after page with unexpected plot twists that kept Ruin and Rising on my mind. Bardugo addressed each issue she brought up throughout the series and tied each off so the book, fantastic on its own, stands as an epic series-ender. She left me wondering how the characters are doing now, where they are, and how life has treated them. I look on them fondly, which to me is the mark of a well-written story.

5 Stars

Posted August 20, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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