ARC Review: SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo

I received this book for free from Henry Holt & Co.. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows
Six of Crows #1

Written by: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 29th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 480
Source: BookExpo America 2015
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm


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.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

MyThoughts_v2

I had a little bit of an odd experience reading Six of Crows. I read the first half in a couple of sittings, but then had to put it aside for a while to focus on some other things. And honestly, at the point when I set it aside, it wasn’t hard to do so. I was enjoying the book, but I wasn’t glued to the story yet. When I finally came back to it a few days later, it was like a switch had been flipped — some plot things started picking up IMMEDIATELY, and some character stuff started to be revealed, and I was finally — fully — on board.

One thing I did like immediately, though, was the setting. Once again, Leigh Bardugo slays when it comes to creating a sense of place. She’s crafted a setting for this duology which — while being new — fits perfectly into the Grisha world. It’s quite different from Ravka — Ketterdam isn’t based on Russia, for starters, and it’s not a very friendly city, at least in the areas where our characters frequent — but it’s built up effortlessly, and I had no problem jumping into this new setting.

But what about characters and plot? Well, before I jump into those topics, I feel like I need a bit of a disclaimer — especially regarding the characters.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Ruin and Rising

WoW_v131019
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

 

Waiting on Wednesday – Ruin and Rising
Ruin and Rising
The Grisha #3

Release date: June 17th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

WhyImWaiting_v2

I’m pretty sure that a HUGE portion of today’s WoW posts will be dedicated to Ruin and Rising, seeing as how the cover was just revealed. (And holy WOW that cover. I mean seriously.) But even knowing that it’d probably be a popular choice today, I couldn’t not pick it. I COULDN’T NOT. I JUST. I am so excited for this conclusion, you guys. I don’t even. I adored the first two books, and just… this worldbuilding is incredible, and I am in love with ALL THE CHARACTERS (but Sturmhond especially)–NO, ALL OF THEM (Sturmhond), and just… everything. Everything.

Okay I’m getting incoherent now.

Just do me a favor – if you haven’t picked up this series yet, DO IT NOW. …Go ahead, I can wait.

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

Link me to your WoW post and I’ll be sure to stop by! :)

Review: SIEGE AND STORM (Grisha #2)

Review: SIEGE AND STORM (Grisha #2)
Siege and Storm
The Grisha #2

Written by: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: June 4th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 435
Format: select
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows


Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

MyThoughts_v2

Whenever I jump into the sequel of a book I loved, I’m always a little nervous. And it’s not just that I’m worried it won’t live up to the previous book (though there is that). It has more to do with the newness that will be introduced in a sequel. Everything worked perfectly for me in Shadow and Bone, and a new installment adds room for More, which could throw off that perfect balance that created awesomeness in Book 1. I wish sequels could just continue with the same feeling as the original book, without the risk of adding new stuff that could upset the perfection. I don’t know if I’m making any kind of sense at all? But that’s how I feel about sequels.

Well, my sequel-induced fears about Siege and Storm were totally, completely unfounded.

Rather than throwing a wrench in the perfection of Shadow and Bone, everything new about this installment (and I mean everything), worked together seamlessly to create another utterly compelling and engaging story that I can’t fault in the slightest. To me, this series is close to perfect.

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Review: SHADOW AND BONE (The Grisha #1)

Review: SHADOW AND BONE (The Grisha #1)
Shadow and Bone
The Grisha #1

Written by: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: June 5th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 356
Format: select
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Siege and Storm, Six of Crows


The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

MyThoughts_v2

WHY DIDN’T I READ THIS BOOK EARLIER???

Sorry for shouting, but I really don’t have an answer to that question, and it bothers me. I love high fantasy, but I haven’t been reading a lot of it lately because I’ve been on more of a YA contemporary fantasy/scifi/paranormal kick. Which is no excuse, because I’ve heard people gushing about this book for ages, and I pretty much knew I’d love it when I read it. All I can say is, I’m finally on board, guys. I read it. And I loved it.

Leigh Bardugo is probably my newest favorite author. In Shadow and Bone, she was able to craft a world that I found to be rich and totally engaging. Ravka is based on Russia. And while I don’t know a lot about the country or Russian society in general, I thought Leigh did an amazing job crafting a detailed fantasy-/alternate-history sort of world, without getting bogged down in any overly detailed descriptions or info-dumping about said world. There’s just enough detail to get a vibrant and vivid picture. Leigh’s writing is accessible and her descriptions are beautiful – just enough to let my imagination run wild with this world, and I loved it.

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