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A #1 New York Times bestseller
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 destructionif they don't kill each other first.
About the Author
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Grisha Trilogy. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.
Read an Excerpt
Six of Crows
By Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2015 Leigh Bardugo
All rights reserved.
Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.
He was supposed to be making his rounds at the Hoede house, but for the last fifteen minutes, he'd been hovering around the southeast wall of the gardens, trying to think of something clever and romantic to say to Anya.
If only Anya's eyes were blue like the sea or green like an emerald. Instead, her eyes were brown — lovely, dreamy ... melted chocolate brown? Rabbit fur brown?
"Just tell her she's got skin like moonlight," his friend Pieter had said. "Girls love that."
A perfect solution, but the Ketterdam weather was not cooperating. There'd been no breeze off the harbor that day, and a gray milk fog had wreathed the city's canals and crooked alleys in damp. Even here among the mansions of the Geldstraat, the air hung thick with the smell of fish and bilge water, and smoke from the refineries on the city's outer islands had smeared the night sky in a briny haze. The full moon looked less like a jewel than a yellowy blister in need of lancing.
Maybe he could compliment Anya's laugh? Except he'd never heard her laugh. He wasn't very good with jokes.
Joost glanced at his reflection in one of the glass panels set into the double doors that led from the house to the side garden. His mother was right. Even in his new uniform, he still looked like a baby. Gently, he brushed his finger along his upper lip. If only his mustache would come in. It definitely felt thicker than yesterday.
He'd been a guard in the stadwatch less than six weeks, and it wasn't nearly as exciting as he'd hoped. He thought he'd be running down thieves in the Barrel or patrolling the harbors, getting first look at cargo coming in on the docks. But ever since the assassination of that ambassador at the town hall, the Merchant Council had been grumbling about security, so where was he? Stuck walking in circles at some lucky mercher's house. Not just any mercher, though. Councilman Hoede was about as high placed in Ketterdam government as a man could be. The kind of man who could make a career.
Joost adjusted the set of his coat and rifle, then patted the weighted baton at his hip. Maybe Hoede would take a liking to him. Sharp-eyed and quick with the cudgel, Hoede would say. That fellow deserves a promotion.
"Sergeant Joost Van Poel," he whispered, savoring the sound of the words. "Captain Joost Van Poel."
"Stop gawking at yourself."
Joost whirled, cheeks going hot as Henk and Rutger strode into the side garden. They were both older, bigger, and broader of shoulder than Joost, and they were house guards, private servants of Councilman Hoede. That meant they wore his pale green livery, carried fancy rifles from Novyi Zem, and never let Joost forget he was a lowly grunt from the city watch.
"Petting that bit of fuzz isn't going to make it grow any faster," Rutger said with a loud laugh.
Joost tried to summon some dignity. "I need to finish my rounds."
Rutger elbowed Henk. "That means he's going to go stick his head in the Grisha workshop to get a look at his girl."
"Oh, Anya, won't you use your Grisha magic to make my mustache grow?" Henk mocked.
Joost turned on his heel, cheeks burning, and strode down the eastern side of the house. They'd been teasing him ever since he'd arrived. If it hadn't been for Anya, he probably would have pleaded with his captain for a reassignment. He and Anya only ever exchanged a few words on his rounds, but she was always the best part of his night.
And he had to admit, he liked Hoede's house, too, the few peeks he'd managed through the windows. Hoede had one of the grandest mansions on the Geldstraat — floors set with gleaming squares of black and white stone, shining dark wood walls lit by blown-glass chandeliers that floated like jellyfish near the coffered ceilings. Sometimes Joost liked to pretend that it was his house, that he was a rich mercher just out for a stroll through his fine garden.
Before he rounded the corner, Joost took a deep breath. Anya, your eyes are brown like ... tree bark? He'd think of something. He was better off being spontaneous anyway.
He was surprised to see the glass-paneled doors to the Grisha workshop open. More than the hand-painted blue tiles in the kitchen or the mantels laden with potted tulips, this workshop was a testimony to Hoede's wealth. Grisha indentures didn't come cheap, and Hoede had three of them.
But Yuri wasn't seated at the long worktable, and Anya was nowhere to be seen. Only Retvenko was there, sprawled out on a chair in dark blue robes, eyes shut, a book open on his chest.
Joost hovered in the doorway, then cleared his throat. "These doors should be shut and locked at night."
"House is like furnace," Retvenko drawled without opening his eyes, his Ravkan accent thick and rolling. "Tell Hoede I stop sweating, I close doors."
Retvenko was a Squaller, older than the other Grisha indentures, his hair shot through with silver. There were rumors he'd fought for the losing side in Ravka's civil war and had fled to Kerch after the fighting.
"I'd be happy to present your complaints to Councilman Hoede," Joost lied. The house was always overheated, as if Hoede were under obligation to burn coal, but Joost wasn't going to be the one to mention it. "Until then —"
"You bring news of Yuri?" Retvenko interrupted, finally opening his heavily hooded eyes.
Joost glanced uneasily at the bowls of red grapes and heaps of burgundy velvet on the worktable. Yuri had been working on bleeding color from the fruit into curtains for Mistress Hoede, but he'd fallen badly ill a few days ago, and Joost hadn't seen him since. Dust had begun to gather on the velvet, and the grapes were going bad.
"I haven't heard anything."
"Of course you hear nothing. Too busy strutting around in stupid purple uniform."
What was wrong with his uniform? And why did Retvenko even have to be here? He was Hoede's personal Squaller and often traveled with the merchant's most precious cargos, guaranteeing favorable winds to bring the ships safely and quickly to harbor. Why couldn't he be away at sea now?
"I think Yuri may be quarantined."
"So helpful," Retvenko said with a sneer. "You can stop craning neck like hopeful goose," he added. "Anya is gone."
Joost felt his face heat again. "Where is she?" he asked, trying to sound authoritative. "She should be in after dark."
"One hour ago, Hoede takes her. Same as night he came for Yuri."
"What do you mean, 'he came for Yuri'? Yuri fell ill."
"Hoede comes for Yuri, Yuri comes back sick. Two days later, Yuri vanishes for good. Now Anya."
"Maybe there was an emergency. If someone needed to be healed —"
"First Yuri, now Anya. I will be next, and no one will notice except poor little Officer Joost. Go now."
"If Councilman Hoede —"
Retvenko raised an arm and a gust of air slammed Joost backward. Joost scrambled to keep his footing, grabbing for the doorframe.
"I said now." Retvenko etched a circle in the air, and the door slammed shut. Joost let go just in time to avoid having his fingers smashed, and toppled into the side garden.
He got to his feet as quickly as he could, wiping muck from his uniform, shame squirming in his belly. One of the glass panes in the door had cracked from the force. Through it, he saw the Squaller smirking.
"That's counting against your indenture," Joost said, pointing to the ruined pane. He hated how small and petty his voice sounded.
Retvenko waved his hand, and the doors trembled on their hinges. Without meaning to, Joost took a step back.
"Go make your rounds, little watchdog," Retvenko called.
"That went well," snickered Rutger, leaning against the garden wall.
How long had he been standing there? "Don't you have something better to do than follow me around?" Joost asked.
"All guards are to report to the boathouse. Even you. Or are you too busy making friends?"
"I was asking him to shut the door."
Rutger shook his head. "You don't ask. You tell. They're servants. Not honored guests."
Joost fell into step beside him, insides still churning with humiliation. The worst part was that Rutger was right. Retvenko had no business talking to him that way. But what was Joost supposed to do? Even if he'd had the courage to get into a fight with a Squaller, it would be like brawling with an expensive vase. The Grisha weren't just servants; they were Hoede's treasured possessions.
What had Retvenko meant about Yuri and Anya being taken, anyway? Had he been covering for Anya? Grisha indentures were kept to the house for good reason. To walk the streets without protection was to risk getting plucked up by a slaver and never seen again. Maybe she's meeting someone, Joost speculated miserably.
His thoughts were interrupted by the blaze of light and activity down by the boathouse that faced the canal. Across the water he could see other fine mercher houses, tall and slender, the tidy gables of their rooftops making a dark silhouette against the night sky, their gardens and boathouses lit by glowing lanterns.
A few weeks before, Joost had been told that Hoede's boathouse would be undergoing improvements and to strike it from his rounds. But when he and Rutger entered, he saw no paint or scaffolding. The gondels and oars had been pushed up against the walls. The other house guards were there in their sea-green livery, and Joost recognized two stadwatch guards in purple. But most of the interior was taken up by a huge box — a kind of freestanding cell that looked like it was made from reinforced steel, its seams thick with rivets, a huge window embedded in one of its walls. The glass had a wavy bent, and through it, Joost could see a girl seated at a table, clutching her red silks tight around her. Behind her, a stadwatch guard stood at attention.
Anya, Joost realized with a start. Her brown eyes were wide and frightened, her skin pale. The little boy sitting across from her looked doubly terrified. His hair was sleep-mussed, and his legs dangled from the chair, kicking nervously at the air.
"Why all the guards?" asked Joost. There had to be more than ten of them crowded into the boathouse. Councilman Hoede was there, too, along with a merchant Joost didn't know, both of them dressed in mercher black. Joost stood up straighter when he saw they were talking to the captain of the stadwatch. He hoped he'd gotten all the garden mud off of his uniform. "What is this?" Rutger shrugged. "Who cares? It's a break in the routine."
Joost looked back through the glass. Anya was staring out at him, her gaze unfocused. The day he'd arrived at Hoede house, she'd healed a bruise on his cheek. It had been nothing, the yellow-green remnants of a crack he'd taken to the face during a training exercise, but apparently Hoede had caught sight of it and didn't like his guards looking like thugs. Joost had been sent to the Grisha workshop, and Anya had sat him down in a bright square of late winter sunlight. Her cool fingers had passed over his skin, and though the itch had been terrible, bare seconds later it was as if the bruise had never been.
When Joost thanked her, Anya smiled and Joost was lost. He knew his cause was hopeless. Even if she'd had any interest in him, he could never afford to buy her indenture from Hoede, and she would never marry unless Hoede decreed it. But it hadn't stopped him from dropping by to say hello or to bring her little gifts. She'd liked the map of Kerch best, a whimsical drawing of their island nation, surrounded by mermaids swimming in the True Sea and ships blown along by winds depicted as fat-cheeked men. It was a cheap souvenir, the kind tourists bought along East Stave, but it had seemed to please her.
Now he risked raising a hand in greeting. Anya showed no reaction.
"She can't see you, moron," laughed Rutger. "The glass is mirrored on the other side."
Joost's cheeks pinked. "How was I to know that?"
"Open your eyes and pay attention for once."
First Yuri, now Anya. "Why do they need a Grisha Healer? Is that boy injured?"
"He looks fine to me."
The captain and Hoede seemed to reach some kind of agreement.
Through the glass, Joost saw Hoede enter the cell and give the boy an encouraging pat. There must have been vents in the cell because he heard Hoede say, "Be a brave lad, and there's a few kruge in it for you." Then he grabbed Anya's chin with a liver-spotted hand. She tensed, and Joost's gut tightened. Hoede gave Anya's head a little shake. "Do as you're told, and this will soon be over, ja?"
She gave a small, tight smile. "Of course, Onkle."
Hoede whispered a few words to the guard behind Anya, then stepped out. The door shut with a loud clang, and Hoede slid a heavy lock into place.
Hoede and the other merchant took positions almost directly in front of Joost and Rutger.
The merchant Joost didn't know said, "You're sure this is wise? This girl is a Corporalnik. After what happened to your Fabrikator —"
"If it was Retvenko, I'd be worried. But Anya has a sweet disposition. She's a Healer. Not prone to aggression."
"And you've lowered the dose?"
"Yes, but we're agreed that if we have the same results as the Fabrikator, the Council will compensate me? I can't be asked to bear that expense."
When the merchant nodded, Hoede signaled to the captain. "Proceed."
The same results as the Fabrikator. Retvenko claimed Yuri had vanished. Was that what he'd meant?
"Sergeant," said the captain, "are you ready?"
The guard inside the cell replied, "Yes, sir." He drew a knife.
Joost swallowed hard.
"First test," said the captain.
The guard bent forward and told the boy to roll up his sleeve. The boy obeyed and stuck out his arm, popping the thumb of his other hand into his mouth. Too old for that, thought Joost. But the boy must be very scared. Joost had slept with a sock bear until he was nearly fourteen, a fact his older brothers had mocked mercilessly.
"This will sting just a bit," said the guard.
The boy kept his thumb in his mouth and nodded, eyes round.
"This really isn't necessary —" said Anya.
"Quiet, please," said Hoede.
The guard gave the boy a pat then slashed a bright red cut across his forearm. The boy started crying immediately.
Anya tried to rise from her chair, but the guard placed a stern hand on her shoulder.
"It's all right, sergeant," said Hoede. "Let her heal him."
Anya leaned forward, taking the boy's hand gently. "Shhhh," she said softly. "Let me help."
"Will it hurt?" the boy gulped.
She smiled. "Not at all. Just a little itch. Try to hold still for me?"
Joost found himself leaning closer. He'd never actually seen Anya heal someone.
Anya removed a handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped away the excess blood. Then her fingers brushed carefully over the boy's wound. Joost watched in astonishment as the skin slowly seemed to re-form and knit together.
A few minutes later, the boy grinned and held out his arm. It looked a bit red, but was otherwise smooth and unmarked. "Was that magic?"
Anya tapped him on the nose. "Of a sort. The same magic your own body works when given time and a bit of bandage."
The boy looked almost disappointed.
"Good, good," Hoede said impatiently. "Now the parem."
Joost frowned. He'd never heard that word.
The captain signaled to his sergeant. "Second sequence."
"Put out your arm," the sergeant said to the boy once again.
The boy shook his head. "I don't like that part."
The boy's lower lip quivered, but he put out his arm. The guard cut him once more. Then he placed a small wax paper envelope on the table in front of Anya.
"Swallow the contents of the packet," Hoede instructed Anya.
"What is it?" she asked, voice trembling.
"That isn't your concern."
"What is it?" she repeated.
"It's not going to kill you. We're going to ask you to perform some simple tasks to judge the drug's effects. The sergeant is there to make sure you do only what you're told and no more, understood?" Her jaw set, but she nodded.
"No one will harm you," said Hoede. "But remember, if you hurt the sergeant, you have no way out of that cell. The doors are locked from the outside."
"What is that stuff?" whispered Joost.
"Don't know," said Rutger.
Excerpted from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Copyright © 2015 Leigh Bardugo. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Shadow Business,
Chapter 1: Joost,
Chapter 2: Inej,
Chapter 3: Kaz,
Chapter 4: Inej,
Chapter 5: Kaz,
Chapter 6: Nina,
Part 2: Servant and Lever,
Chapter 7: Matthias,
Chapter 8: Jesper,
Chapter 9: Kaz,
Chapter 10: Inej,
Chapter 11: Jesper,
Chapter 12: Inej,
Chapter 13: Kaz,
Chapter 14: Nina,
Chapter 15: Matthias,
Part 3: Heartsick,
Chapter 16: Inej,
Chapter 17: Jesper,
Chapter 18: Kaz,
Chapter 19: Matthias,
Chapter 20: Nina,
Part 4: The Trick to Falling,
Chapter 21: Inej,
Chapter 22: Kaz,
Chapter 23: Jesper,
Chapter 24: Nina,
Chapter 25: Inej,
Chapter 26: Kaz,
Part 5: The Ice Does Not Forgive,
Chapter 27: Jesper,
Chapter 28: Inej,
Chapter 29: Matthias,
Chapter 30: Jesper,
Chapter 31: Nina,
Chapter 32: Jesper,
Chapter 33: Inej,
Chapter 34: Nina,
Chapter 35: Matthias,
Chapter 36: Jesper,
Chapter 37: Nina,
Chapter 38: Kaz,
Part 6: Proper Thieves,
Chapter 39: Inej,
Chapter 40: Nina,
Chapter 41: Matthias,
Chapter 42: Inej,
Chapter 43: Nina,
Chapter 44: Jesper,
Chapter 45: Kaz,
Chapter 46: Pekka,
Shadow and Bone Teaser,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A little long, but ver detailed and action-packed. A good book if you are looking for an exciting thing to read.
I usually don't enjoy books that seem as dark as this, but the story was well told and enjoyable. I don't think the summary sounds as exciting as it really is. Great character development and some twists that keep you turning pages.
This book was confusing at first but once it got started I couldn't stop reading! The hints of romance keep me wanting more and the overall plot was very unique and exciting
I absolutely loved it. The characters are vivid and the imagery makes you feel like you are actually there. It's funny and interesting. It's a book that you want to read and then re read to see if you missed anything.
I loved this book it was absolutely wonderful it's action packed, has great characters and kept my eyes glued to the pages.
A fun read. In many ways it's a lot like Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora but with better female characters. And less bromance. Was afraid the latent romance aspect would get goopy but the novel stays away from that, which is nice. Highly enjoyable. I'll be reading the next one for sure!
Quick start and fast paced throughout. The story is told through several perspectives which illustrate both past predicaments and current roles. You will become easily attached to more than one character and will be left hanging at the end. Fantastic world, non stop action, mystery and maybe even a bit of romance. Cannot wait to read the second one.
Can't for the next one! Inej and Nina are so cool. I love the strong women in this book. They don't loose one bit of their feminity, they have their insecurity but keep going. The whole intrigue and suspens is well written as well.
SQUAD GOALS!!!!!!!! Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will immediately want to pour the story into the eyes of every single person you know because you NEED to talk about it. The action is non-stop. The characters are A++++ and there isn't a single person out of the main six that you won't care about. Just read the book. Seriously.
I love this book it's so good
I loved this book. It was so well-written and the characters (especially Kaz ;) were so lively as well as lovely. It was a little confusing at first, but nevertheless it was a stellar plot. I especially enjoyed how the charcter's backround stories were explained as their values shone through. If you want a romantic and brain-scrambling novel full of twists and suprises, this book is for you!
I haven't read a series that had me laughing, crying and connecting with aspects of a group of characters in a long time. If I could give it more stars I would
While I did enjoy this book, at times it did feel a little bit slow. And while I did fall in love with some of the characters, I wish there was more development to Wylan and Jesper. (Fingers crossed for book two!) Overall, I loved the heist concept and that each of the characters are so different, but also the same in some ways.
This is by far the greatest book ever!!!! I LOVE it so much!!!!!!! It's a must read!!
It was an amazing book with fast paced action and intense suspense
There had been a lot of hype in the book world about the Six of Crows duology, so I had to jump on this bandwagon and give it a chance after reading the blurb. Six of Crows is definitely a wonderful read, but I'm not sure if I would give it all the hype it created. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the book is bad. I'm just saying I enjoyed the story. It's a great story, but I don't think I'm going to put it in my top 5. Now, I may change my mind after reading Crooked Kingdom and I will let you know if I do change my mind. One thing I really enjoyed about this story is it didn't follow a character who was trying to save the world or a country. It followed six individuals who were damaged and just trying to survive. They were thieves and gang members who were after the biggest score of their lives. The chapters rotate being told from different points of view. I'm not talking two or three different points of view, but SIX unique points of view. And each character has depth and a distinct voice. Not only does Bardugo have a masterful talent when it comes to writing characters, but she is just as talented when it comes to creating fictional worlds. The Grisha world Bardugo has written is complex and adventurous. P.S. If you are like me and like to collect physical books, the hardcover copies of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are absolutely GORGEOUS!
One of my favorite books of the year;)
I loved the seiries so much. I didnt read the grisha triolagy first and i wasnt confused by anything
I found Six of Crows to be a very enjoyable read. It took me some time to really get into the book because I had just finished reading Sarah J Maas And Court of Wings and Ruin and was suffering a really bad book hangover. This book is definitely a favorite of mine as is The Grisha Trilogy before this book. What I found enjoyable about this book was that each character was unique and dynamic and had their own parts in the books, I also enjoyed the imagery of ketterdamn and the rest of the Grisha universe. The only thing I didn't care for about this book was I just wasn't getting enough romance. I understand that the main characters are very scarred from things they had to overcome in their lives but I still wanted to feel real heat from the races even if it was a bit unrealistic. Overall it was a very easy and enjoyable read filled with new and interesting characters and awesome fight scenes. But if your looking for major romance thrown into am action adventure fantasy young adult book then I would look elsewhere.
When I found this book and saw that it was about a ragtag group of people who have to perform an impossible heist together and who all desperately need a "Get-Along" shirt in order to deal with each other's nonsense, I knew I'd like it. What I didn't expect was to fall completely in love with it. I love all of the main cast: Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina, Mattias, they're all incredibly well-written and interesting. Each chapter is told from one of these character's point of view (in third-person, thank God), with the exception of Wylan, but that makes sense once you actually read the story. The characters are all richly written with interesting pasts and believable motivations. Perhaps the only character I wish was fleshed out more is Wylan, but again, he didn't receive any POV chapters, so every perception and learned knowledge we get of him is influenced by the other characters. I'm hoping he'll get his time to shine in the sequel. With that being said, our six protagonists hold up strong as individual characters, and it's a joy to hear from them. Whenever they interact with other members of the team, you get a clear sense of where the relationships are and the baggage that comes with them. It was this pure enjoyment and fondness of these characters that made this book so engaging, even during the slow parts, which were full of world-building, so even that wasn't at all unbearable. I also really love every pairing that happens, be they platonic or romantic. The uncertain camaraderie between Kaz and Jesper; the respect between Inej and Matthias; the easy friendship between Nina and Inej; the love/hate romance between Nina and Matthias; the slow burn of Kaz and Inej; the budding romance between Jesper and Wylan; and of course Kaz and the animosity he inspires within everyone else. The book is so character-driven that everything else just falls into place naturally. And that heist! Man, I won't spoil it. Just know it's stressful and worth it.
Great, just great. Loved the characters, with all their flaws. Waiting for book 2.
Kaz Brekker has a band of misfits together to get this one job done. This job will be the hardest he has ever done, and the odds are stacked high against him, but the payoff will be worth it. Revenge and more money than any of them can imagine. This book is very dark. In fact, it was so dark that I had to put it down at times to regroup. Yet hope still remains an underlying theme and driving force for this team. I was surprised by the romantic elements that were woven in but they added yet another level of attraction to the book for me. I will warn that this book is set up for a series in that there is a big cliffhanger! Just when I thought the book was ending, it kicked back up again and then quickly ended. I will be reading the next book in the series because this book was just that good. It had supernatural elements yet dealt with elements of the human condition. It was a roller coaster of events and the violence is very graphic. One scene in particular had me literally covering my eyes. The characters are aggressively tested physically and mentally. As a result, their bonds are stronger and they set their eyes stronger on the prize. There were selfless acts, there were selfish acts. All of their pasts come back to haunt them and they are even stronger for it. The complex maze of this book was simply magical. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy Young Adult fiction, adventure, romance, and underdogs. I would not recommend this book for those who may be offended by mild foul language, graphic violence, pick pocketing, drug use, prostitution, slavery, murder, and cliffhangers.
I have not finished this book yet but so far I love it! Everything from the characters and the plot is amazing! Its a real page turner!