Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo & Death and the Afterlife by Clifford A. Pickover
I had heard good things about this book, but the real selling point for me was how downright ominous the book itself looked as a hardback. I NEEDED it on my shelf! Little did I know how intensely I’d fall into the series….
The book takes place in the same world that Bardugo’s other series (Shadow & Bone) takes place in. I haven’t read it before, but it’s on my reading list now! The story starts in Ketterdam, a port town where you can find almost anything. Gangs run different areas and feud over territory, and within one gang, there is a man named Kaz. A young man who has a sordid past and a blood stained present, known as dirty hands and surrounded by rumors that under his gloves, his hands are stained with the blood of the people he’s killed. He is cunning and ruthless. Kaz is offered an impossible job by a wealthy merchant with a payout that could achieve his every dream. The story is about a heist after all! Katz puts together a solid team, that doesn’t quite get along, and sets out to do the impossible, break someone out of the most well guarded prison in the entire realm.
The world is interesting, full of different cultures and people, and there is so much to learn about each one! The characters themselves are great as well, with heart wrenching pasts and complicated relationships between them. Katz is probably the most complex character in the book, although sometimes what he does seems to contradict other parts of his character, but then again, I guess that makes him rather human? People are contradictory creatures, after all. Inej stole the top spot in my heart though, along with Nina, who is the queen of sass! Although I loved all the characters, even though Matthias was a bit annoying to me at times. I always have a soft spot in my heart for strong willed sassy ladies though, so the girls always win.
Romance in this book takes the back seat, which I liked. I enjoyed the action and scheming that was the central element of the story. Of course, I would love to see some romance develop later on, but I’m glad it wasn’t immediately thrown into your face as soon as you started reading. I like relationships that develop slowly over time, or relationships that are more as a subtext than right in your face.
There is magic, revenge, action, betrayal, strong lady characters, and wonderful prose. I was immediately sucked right into the world and got really, really into it! I read the book like a madman, almost being late to work one day because I woke up early and wanted to finish the book before I had to leave. When I first grabbed the book, I didn’t realize it was going to be part of a series until I went on Goodreads to add it to my list and noticed it was listed as book #1, which obviously means there will be more. When I reached the end of the book though, I was so excited for the prospect of the second book, and immediately went to see when it was going to be released, which lead to me realizing that it ALREADY HAD BEEN, so I put my Amazon Prime subscription to good use and immediately ordered book 2, Crooked Kingdom, and I’m SO PUMPED to see how things will go in the second book! This was probably the most excited I’ve been about a series recently, it ranks in my excited level along with the Court of Thorns and Roses series and Throne of Glass series (which I’ll be reviewing soon!)
Today I learned the valuable lesson of opening a book before buying it based on the cover. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but I guess I thought it would be more like an actual book format? I thought it’d have chapters and be more like a scientific-type text book sort of thing. Kind of like Death of a Blackhole, but about the history of death. I was sorely mistaken. The book format reminded me more of something that you’d give to a young child to read, although…I don’t think it’s quite normal to hand a small child a book about the history of death.
The book has one thing about death on each page, starting from the ancient past and ending in the present/future. So each page had a short description about each little thing. Example. One page was about gravestones, it gave a brief history and the time frame they first came about, and that was it…onto the next thing! It was a little bit of a letdown, since it wasn’t what I was expecting. Although, it was still interesting. I learned a lot of new things, like there was once a profession called “Sin Eaters” who would eat a loaf of bread over a dead body and take in their sins through the food, they were then avoided by townsfolk since it was thought they were full of sin, but they were still always called upon when someone died. Very interesting!
I’m not sure quite how I feel about the book. A part of me would suggest it to a middle school aged child who is curious about the history of death, but that just seems so morbid. I feel like society would frown upon a younger child wanting to know more about death/dying, but I could be wrong, I’m no parent. Well, remember kids, open your books before you just buy something based solely on the awesome cover design.