Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: I run a monthly poll on my daily blog where voters choose a book I read each month from my Book Bucket List. Last month, voters chose Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

crows

Before I get into the review, a few housekeeping items… I do not normally read fantasy or young adult books as a regular part of my reading genres. I tend to prefer historical, contemporary, thriller or mystery fiction; however, I try to branch out each month and read something out of my ‘comfort zone.’ I love Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, and many more, so I do often find myself with top ratings for books in fantasy and young adult. Before I opened Six of Crows, I had been warned the first 50 to 75 pages would be difficult until I was absorbed into the story, given all the background on the fantasy world and the new terms / descriptions; however, I was not warned it was almost 500 pages long. I probably should have put something smaller on the list that voters could have chosen! Let’s get into the review…

The plot, characters, setting, themes and perspectives are intense and beautiful. I could easily see the story unfolding before my eyes as I immersed myself into the new world. It feels like this could grow as popular as some of the other fantasy tomes I’ve read (see above) among various reader groups. It hits all the sweet spots for transferring your mind from the monotonous and ordinary to an explosively and wildly imaginative universe. The way character back stories are woven together, the order in how events unfold and the dynamics between so many of the major and supporting characters is well thought out, planned and developed. Kudos to the author for building such an amazing playground for readers to frolic in.

All that said, I struggled through the book – not because it wasn’t a good one – because it was so different from what I normally read and enjoy. I need clarity on a world when I read about it mostly because I like to figure out the connections and history of what’s going on. I wasn’t sure of the boundaries and parameters here because it could literally have gone anywhere (then again, that’s the point of fantasy, so it seems like an obvious statement). If I put my analytical cap on, I think had I watched this as a film to gain the broader perspective of all the components of the world and the character profiles, I might have had a strong enough baseline to let myself become completely absorbed in the book while reading it afterwards. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible at the moment, so I read it first.

One of the key things I believe in life – especially as a book reviewer and a writer – is to be honest and fair, but to also look at a situation from all perspectives. This is a tremendously good book with a huge and wide appeal for its audience. It wasn’t an ideal match for me as a reader, perhaps right now, or perhaps given its genre. That said, rating it is tough. Ratings are personal and reflect how a reader feels about a book, but as an author, I would hate for someone to rate my book poorly because it wasn’t a good match for them; because a reader doesn’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t a fantastic book. It is in that tenuous space that I try to come up with a rating that is fair given all the circumstances. If I loved fantasy and this type of novel, it would hands-down be a 5-star rating. Because this is not something that normally appeals to me with great significance, it’s probably a 3-star rating. To be fair, I think the book deserves a middle-ground to represent the best of both worlds – my personal opinion and that of a critical reader and author.

4-stars to this book… while some may applaud my effort to be fair, others might yell at me for misunderstanding the book or not being creative enough. Either way, I would recommend this to anyone who loves this genre or even wants to explore the genre more. If you’re not a fan of this type of work, don’t start here. You won’t be able to absorb what is probably the true greatness of this book and its appeal until you’ve had a bit more experience in the fantasy world.

Kudos to the author… and hopefully people reading my review see that I did not follow my normal review style in this book, rather I took a step back to find the best approach for me to review it. Thank you to the voters in my poll. I’m definitely open to more fantasy, but perhaps I should start a bit lighter to grow into this genre. I think you voted A Crown of Thorns and Roses for November… here I go!

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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37 comments

  1. great review jay! your rating is totally fair. it’s always hard to rate a book, that is hyped so much and that is good but just wasn’t the fit for you. i had the same problem with “i’ll give you the sun” by jandy nelson. at that point i read it, i wanted something different, so it did not have the effect on me, it had on others. sometimes it just is, how it is. i also think, that for fantasy readers, this book is amazing! i am glad you made it through, even though you don’t read much fantasy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review James!! I love reading all kinds of genres but I had a hard time getting into this as well. Eventually though I got really into it. I ended up giving it 4 Stars. I haven’t read the second book yet but I want to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heads up Jay, fantasy novels, even YA, are generally 5-800 pages long! 😂
    Great review though, I shan’t be reading I’ve made a conscious effort to move away from YA if for no other reason (there are loads) it reduces my TBR massively!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was tough. I threw the iPad twice across the bed and onto the chair in the corner (I didn’t want it to break). W laughed a few times at my childish responses. Ryder didn’t even move. He just laid on my feet and must have been thinking “this one is crazy tonight.” But seriously… oh… it hurt to read at points. I got thru it. Thx for reading the review. I had to find a polite way of responding to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great review Jay! And I love how fairly you rated it! It makes sense to try to look at all aspects as a reader. This duology is my favorite at the moment and I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, but for those who don’t usually read that genre, I can see how it would be difficult to fully enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

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