“Jesper tapped his fingers restlessly.
‘Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?’
‘So?’ said Kaz.
‘Well, usually it’s just half the city.’”
Rating: 4. 5
Kaz Brekker and his deadly crew have just finished a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. At the end of the first novel, readers were left in shock in the wake of Inej’s kidnapping, Van Eck’s betrayal, and Nina’s usage of jurda parem, a drug that could have killed her. As nations descend upon Ketterdam, old allies and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s masterful deviousness and the fragile loyalties of his crew. A war is waged on the twisting streets of the city for the mysterious secrets of jurda parem – a war that will decide the fate of the Grisha universe. In this stunning conclusion to the Six of Crows duology, questions are answered and revenge is taken as Kaz and his crew take on the world.
Our six main protagonists are back in this second novel of the series. Inej has been kidnapped and is held hostage in a secret prison only Van Eck knows the location of. Readers are automatically engaged in her panicky and yet intense thoughts as she attempts to free herself, and we are once again exposed to just how cruel Kaz can be when someone dares to cross him. Unlike Six of Crows, however, this novel finally reveals the true stories behind the characters, detailing their pasts and foretelling their futures. Furthermore, we get to see a little more of Kuwei Yul-Bo, the son of the scientist who created jurda parem. He is a refreshingly bright spot amidst the shadows that the other characters must navigate in this novel, and he provides readers with a little comic relief. In this story, we are also witness to how our beloved six personas change and develop due to the harrowing circumstances they are put through. Each of them discovers a different part of their potential previously unknown, and that is what ultimately invites the reader to continue reading.
Leigh Bardugo’s style remains constant throughout the novel, as does the setting. The streets of Ketterdam paint a vivid picture within our minds as we are taken through the rooftops and canals of the city. Since the plot is now centered on the powerful drug of jurda parem, the relatively stable backdrop of a 19th century European-like town allows the storyline to unfurl without hindrance. Ketterdam is home to the characters, and it shows through their intimate knowledge of every path and secret passageway within the entire city – a weapon all on its own. The remarkable way Bardugo weaves important messages within the characters and the story itself bridges the impossible distance between readers and the novel. Her way of educating us on the significance of individuality, fortitude, and loyalty resonates within our minds for days.
Obviously, I loved this book almost as much as I did Six of Crows. The story was engaging, so funny I cried, and the emotions I was forced to feel through my beloved characters – Kaz and Inej – almost broke my heart in its vehemence. Admittedly, I had a bit of a problem with the conclusion, but the novel was still fantastically written and a worthy successor to such brilliance. Leigh Bardugo was an author I merely enjoyed before I read this series, but after exploring the streets of Ketterdam with Inej and the constant amazement that came with learning of Kaz’s whole, unabridged plans, Leigh is now definitely in my top twelve. I would recommend this duology to any fans of fantasy, mystery, and danger, along with lovers of other amazing novels such as Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. This wonderful masterpiece changed my life, and if you happen to read it someday, I hope it changes yours, too.