Updated: Dec 19, 2021
Heists. Fantasy. Hilarious characters with flaws and skills. A world built and described to perfection. Six of Crows has it all and more.
I should first mention that the Six of Crows Duology is NOT the first series in the Grishaverse universe. It can be a little bit confusing to make your way around the universe if you are new to the universe (especially since the characters in Six of Crows do appear in the first season of Shadow and Bone on Netflix) but if you are wanting to read everything in order, don't start with Six of Crows.
Instead, start with Shadow and Bone (you can find the review of the trilogy here). Shadow and Bone is three books and is the series for which the Netflix show is named after (and obtains its plot).
Once you have read Shadow and Bone, the Six of Crows duology is the next series in chronological order but I highly suggest picking up Lives of Saints at some point as well (you can find the review of that book here). Lives of Saints tells the story of the different saints mentioned in the book and I enjoy looking back through the book to see the saints as they are mentioned (though I have already read through the book in its entirety).
Finally, Leigh Bardugo recently released a duology of books starting with King of Scars (ending with Rule of Wolves) and though I have yet to start that series, I know it is the series that follows Six of Crows chronologically.
Reading the books chronologically is not hugely important since they do follow different characters and have entirely different plotlines. Still, the books are set in the same world and you may find that earlier books are spoiled for you if you read the series out of order. In fact, this was something that I really enjoyed about Six of Crows. Leigh Bardugo does an excellent job of blending the characters and elements of the plot from the first series into the second series. Right down to the names of Inej's knives.
What I also found interesting reading the books was the way that the plot the characters (Inej, Kaz, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias) follow in the TV show mostly makes sense in the whole scheme of things. While the timeline is a touch off, most of the events that happen in the TV show are actually great interpretations of the past (before the events of Six of Crows). It was really well done in my opinion (though I know I have already said that a lot in my review of Shadow and Bone. I know that Leigh Bardugo was involved in the TV show to some level but surely she must have been really involved for it to have been this accurate??
But what I loved most about the Six of Crows books was the characters. The TV show portrays them well (I honestly think I read the books 30% because the plot was good and 70% because the characters of Jesper, Inej, and Kaz were hilariously awesome). I fell for the crew of six straight away particularly Inej. They are simply hilarious, have well-developed characters, work together well (but are still very different in character) and, best of all, are sarcastic (sarcastic characters are always the best aren't they??).
There was simply a humor to the Six of Crows books that was not present in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I loved both series but I liked the humor that was there in the second book.
The second book also had the level of worldbuilding and intricacy that I was expecting to be present in the first series (that wasn't there). The way that the TV show was presented made me expect lavish worldbuilding and description in Shadow and Bone that I simply didn't find (Not that it was a bad thing. I didn't hat that there wasn't constant description because that can sometimes be annoying). In Six of Crows, though, there was a lot more of the description I was expecting. It felt as though Shadow and Bone was a young adult book but one closer to the MG (middle grade) reading level. On the other hand, Six of Crows is built for those who read at a higher level and it thrilled me and drew me into the Grishaverse in every chapter.
The depth of description also contributed to the awesome schemes of the Six of Crows characters. I absolutely loved reading about their schemes and the way they were able to adapt and change as needed. It was almost like the Oceans movies (where criminals complete a daring heist) but better because things went wrong at every turn and yet still, these six amazing criminals were able to pull heists off and save the world.
I was frustrated with one choice that Bardugo made (which I will not reveal for the sake of anyone wishing to read the books in the future). I felt it was a choice that didn't contribute to the story in any way at all. It simply left me wondering, "why would you do that?" I felt it was abrupt but it wasn't a twist to the story that readers don't see coming. It was simply a boring addition that took barely five pages to include. It was mean to the characters and readers for no particular reason.
Don't do it I say. Don't do it.
Other than that, however, I really loved these books. The Grishaverse series are currently becoming the next big thing I feel but in my opinion, they deserve the hype that they are getting. The books are amazing from character to plot to the scenery.
Good job, Leigh Bardugo. Good Job.