I finished this book not an hour ago and I’m probably still in shock. This is my first Leigh Bardugo book and I have already requested Smoke And Bone (The first book in the Grisha trilogy) as her writing and character and world building is wonderful! When it comes to fantasy the most important thing for me is having characters that you can easily connect with that lead you, and then connect you, with the specific world and Bardugo couldn’t have done that better, the characters were engaging, charismatic (or not as the case may be, I’m looking at you Matthias) and most importantly, all so different and unique. The book centres around a team of 6 young people that all come from completely different backgrounds, privileged, orphaned, sold into slavery, kidnapped from an army, a traitor of their country or a country kid turned thief, and these all have different approaches to the situations the plot puts them in, giving you an all encompassing view of the situation – much like the characters would have, all being thieves! I highly recommend this book if you have any interest in fantasy, mystery, YA or adult, thieves, spies, questions that make you question your values or books about heists because this book will sweep you off your feet and steal your jewellery while you’re on the floor!
Synopsis: 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.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
So as I said I haven’t read anything in the Grisha Verse before so I am speaking from not reading the first trilogy but what I can say is that the depth and control over the world that Bardugo has is incredible! Every country had a distinct culture and societal structure that was so specific that you can tell the author clearly knows every detail about the religion, rituals, history, language and dialects, even fashion of every place which completely brings the world alive. Even more so because you meet characters from every nation and of the 6 main characters only a Shu is missing so the world building is intense and beautiful without ever feeling like an overload of information which some books do struggle with. The other thing to mention when talking about world building is the beautiful maps at the front of the book, first of the world itself and then of the Ice Court, the fortress that the crew have to breach. It is so incredibly detailed and just beautiful in itself, I have a strange fascination with maps anyway so maps of fictional worlds are going to be amazing but these ones are specifically beautiful and add another dimension to being so immersed in the novel especially as you do feel so connected to the crew that at times you feel as if you’re right there with them so knowing what they were talking about when they were saying how they move from the prison sector roof to the embassy roof and being able to see it on the map makes the whole reading experience even better.
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