Tuesday, June 28, 2016

[Review] Six of Crows (#1) - Leigh Bardugo: European Exoticism, Russian Cliches, and a Confusing World

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In SIX OF CROWS, a gang of master thieves is hired to free the inventor of a dangerous drug that might kill everyone who uses it.

What intrigued me: The fact that no one on tumblr is physically able to shut up about Leigh Bardugo. Did I even have a choice?

European exoticism isn't cool-or inventive

The world building is just awkward. Ketterdam, the setting, is loosely based on a cliche of Amsterdam. The language and lingo the characters use is a weird mix between Dutch, German and Swedish words and names, umlaut marks thrown around randomly, and every cliche you've ever read about Russia. Please don't smash existing languages together, it may sound ~cool~ and **exotic** for people who don't see through this, but it makes native speakers cry. I cried. 

I was secondhand embarrassed more times than I could count. Stadwatch, Fabrikator, Hringkälla, Corporalnik ... can we just stop??

This does not work as a stand-alone

Aside from the fact that the lingo made me want to crawl into a hole out of embarrassment, this is just not the book for me. The characters are very much cliches - we have the morally grey super attractive reckless leader Kaz, the funny best friend Jesper, the badass girl who's secretly pining for Kaz, Inej. And some filler characters whose names I didn't bother to learn. 

There is so much filler, so many names and so many concepts I have never heard befor-. SIX OF CROWS is technically a spin-off of Bardugo's Grisha verse and supposed to be able to stand on it's own, but it really can't. I didn't know what was happening half the time. Heartrender, Drüskelle, Grisha... what is all this??! It's thrown around in the book very early on without explanation, or just a lazily muttered sentence here and there, and I had to look words up online to be able to follow the plot. This a red flag and should never happen if this book is marketed as the beginning of a different, independent series!

Maybe it was the topic, maybe it was the world building, but I was just so bored out of my mind while I read this. Nothing in there, nothing in this premise made me want to continue. I didn't like any of the characters, I found the mission annoying, and the world building confused me too much to even want to bother learning what's going on. I'm sorry, this is probably an it's not you, it's me situation.


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you haven't been in contact with Northern European or Russian culture, go ahead. You'll probably enjoy this and think it's very unique and interesting. To my European friends out there: No.



Additional Info

Published: 29th September 2015
Pages: 465
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781627792127

Synopsis:
"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."(Source: Goodreads)


 Have you read any of the Grisha books?

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