In the bustling city of Ketterdam, thief Kaz Brekker is a leading member of the street gang, the Dregs. He has a talent for scheming and coming out of close calls, and when a wealthy merchant asks him to do the seemingly impossible, he can’t say no. The task is breaking into the Ice Court, an impenetrable fortress, to retrieve a valuable asset. The score is the millions Kaz is offered if he succeeds. And survives.
To pull off the heist, Kaz assembles his crew: Inej, known as The Wraith, a spy; Jesper, a sharpshooter whose downfall is gambling; Nina, who possesses magical abilities including changing people’s appearances; Matthias, a reluctant participant with knowledge of the Ice Court; and Wylan, a privileged demolitions expert who may also be useful as leverage.
They’re in it for the money and freedom, but if they get caught in the Ice Court, they could lose their lives.
I hadn’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo before and so was not familiar with the Grishaverse. I found it difficult to get into in the beginning because of the assault of new words and phrases and locations. I wasn’t paying attention to the story as much as I was trying to keep up with it. Once I’d found my footing it was very enjoyable, but not one I overwhelmingly loved. The characters are fantastic and I have soft spots for all of them. Their interactions feel real and the banter is great. The world building is also stellar, I believed in Ketterdam and its surrounding geography. I just didn’t really care for the heist. And when that’s the main plot, well, it’s an issue. And again I think it’s well planned out, but the goal just didn’t excite me. It also felt quite by the numbers. We do this then this then that’ll happen. And it kind of did. Even when things went wrong I didn’t feel any kind of threat to the characters. It seemed like Kaz would get them out of it somehow, he’d have a backup plan or be six moves ahead and seen it coming. So it didn’t make my heart race.
Having said that, I will totally delve back into the story with the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, very shortly.