I’ll just say this up front: I do not get the hype around this series. I realize that I am not the original target audience (it’s dark YA fantasy), and that Six of Crows is not the original introduction to the Grishaverse, it’s a side-series. That said, I’m kind of wondering about the Netflix show Shadow and Bone because from the sound of it, if you’ve read the books, you don’t like the series, but I haven’t read (most of) the books, so maybe? Actually probably not, for the same reasons that I didn’t pick up Shadow and Bone; basically, I’m not a fan of the toxic attraction kind of thing that is apparently a major driver in the Darkling-Alina Starkov story.
I feel like I should have liked this at least a little better, since the characters are interesting, the world and magic system is interesting, and the heist plot should be fun. I appreciate that in several ways the narrative does not go places that are totally expected such as total triumph ending, guy gets girl and ride off into sunset, master thief foresees everything, etc. I also know that the author can write; I liked her definitely not YA novel, Ninth House, well enough.
And yet. I never really got into this one; it took me a while to warm up to the characters, so maybe part of the problem is that it takes so long to get to know them all as individuals and as a group. It’s fine to have some reveals later on, but it feels like most of the reveals about characters happen in the second half or so. I also never really got into the adventure. I think the switching viewpoints constantly might have gotten in the way of pacing, especially towards the beginning.
Basically, a junior crime boss from the bad part of town is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime: break into an un-break-into-able fortress in a neighboring country to rescue a scientist who designed some sort of miracle drug that enhances magic abilities beyond belief but has really nasty side effects. So the crew needs to be assembled, convinced to work together, and the plans must be made and executed, which of course never go as planned. Everyone has motive and backstory, and everyone is key to the whole plan, even if they don’t know it.
Inej might just be my favorite character, since she seems to be the most honest about her situation and herself. But everyone else has drama that they have to work through and those interludes detract from the adventure and don’t really add much to the characters, although these bits do explain how the now time versions of Kaz, Nina and Matthias, and Wylan are. Jesper doesn’t get quiet as much of a history for some reason.
Even though Six of Crows ends on something of a cliffhanger, I’m not even sure I care enough to get books 2, definitely from the library for this one, and I don’t even care too much if I have to wait for who knows how long. We’ll see I guess.