When I heard that Leigh Bardugo was writing a spinoff duology set in the Grishaverse, I was hopping with excitement. Every reviewer at The Midnight Garden is a huge fan of the Grisha trilogy, but there’s always a fear that accompanies such news as well. The story of six outcasts trying to pull off a dangerous heist sounded fantastic–but could anything live up to the original stories?
I’m so relieved–and thrilled–and astonished to find that Six of Crows surpasses its venerable origins. This book is superbly crafted from start to finish; its plotting deliberate, its world-building immersive, and its characterizations complex. From snow-covered fields to salty docks to the grandeur of the ice court, this world feels richly detailed View Spoiler »no surprise that I am VERY FOND of the descriptions of reindeer meat and waffles « Hide Spoiler, and I love the thrilling use of magic as well as the crazily inventive action sequences. View Spoiler »OW OW THE EYE. « Hide Spoiler Not to mention a fully diverse set of people and smart, witty dialogue! It’s also such a joy to find a book which delivers on surprise after surprise, both in its story and in its characters. If you’re a voracious reader, you’re probably pretty good at guessing what will happen in most books, but here, I was constantly delighted by new twists and turns.
But best of all are the incredible characters. With multiple POVs and so many back stories to cover, many books would falter in their delivery of pacing, individual agency, and personal connections. Yet in this book, as each layer of history is peeled, you discover what drives each of the characters–all nuanced, all fascinating, all in search of redemption. Nina and Inej are my favorites because these girls kick major ass, though there’s a softness and hurt behind their strong exteriors as well. Bardugo is so good at establishing the cleverness and authority in Kaz’s character from the very first moment you meet him, but there’s a real sense of horrifying empathy once you find out his past. That, as well as a moment of terrible pity after witnessing a casualty of war, reminded me of that wrenching scene in The Golden Compass that always shakes me to my core. If you felt an ache for Genya in the previous Grisha books, your heart will wrench here, too.
I love this book to pieces, and I’m so pleased that we’re part of the blog tour for Six of Crows. I was asked to choose six of my favorite quotes from the book, which I’ve formatted for sharing below! Leigh’s also here with us to share a quote from a film that influenced her book:
From Leigh Bardugo:
I’m so glad you guys are part of a Grisha blog tour again! I loved the post we did on food last time and I hope you found some good quotes in Six of Crows to sink your teeth into. So over at Wondrous Reads, I talked about one of my favorite gangster films, The Untouchables. It’s one of the major influences on Six of Crows and incredibly quotable, and I defended it as a semi-forgotten classic. I can’t quite do that with the movie I’m going to talk about here: Tombstone.
Let’s be real, Tombstone is kind of a mess. It’s the story of Wyatt Earp laying down the law in a small town plagued by ruthless bandits; he didn’t ask for the fight but he’s sure gonna finish it, etc., etc. The romance is an awkward mess. The tone occasionally veers into camp. But omg this movie is so quotable. It’s Kurt Russell in a handlebar mustache (before Brooklyn ever dreamed of such a thing) drawling, “You gonna do somethin’? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed.” It’s Doc Holliday lecturing Billy Clanton on a nocturne: “You know, Frederic f**king Chopin.”
But beyond all of the tough talk, it’s this:
Doc Holliday: Wyatt Earp is my friend.
Jack Johnson: Hell, I got lots of friends.
Doc Holliday: I don’t.
I love stories about people who think they don’t need anyone finding out that they actually do. (Besides, in this movie, Val Kilmer actually makes “I’m your huckleberry” sound threatening. It’s like me coming up to you and saying “I’m a delicious pie filling, let’s throw down,” but I swear he makes it work.)
Without further ado: here are a few of my favorite lines from Six of Crows! It was hard to choose just six, honestly.
Thanks to our friends at Macmillan Teen, you can win a Grisha prize pack! Leave a comment on all 12 of the tour stops and you’ll be entered to win. Here’s the tour schedule:
This giveaway is international, and ends soon, so don’t hesitate if you want in on the mystery prize!
A review copy and giveaways were provided by the publisher. Author photo is courtesy of Tali Song Roth. Formatted quotes are by The Midnight Garden.
Are you excited for Six of Crows?
I’ll be honest–sometimes if I don’t love a book by an author I’ve become friendly with, I might quietly shelve it and move on, since I’m never going to lie to my readers about how I feel about a book. But I hope you can tell that my enthusiasm for this book is genuine, and I hope you love it as much as I did! Preeeeetty sure everyone who loved the Grisha trilogy will.
Previously at The Midnight Garden:
The food from the Grisha Trilogy (a fairy tale lunch with Leigh from 2014)
A Conversation with Leigh Bardugo (our visit to a vodka bar from 2013)
Our reviews: Siege and Storm are here and here and Shadow and Bone is here.