Six of Crows

Six-of-Crows

This book.  THIS BOOK!  It was FANTASTIC.  This is the first of Leigh Bardugo’s books that I’ve read, despite the fact that her Grisha Trilogy has been on my “to read” pile for a really long time.  I loved this book so much that as soon as I finished Six of Crows I immediately picked up Shadow and Bone (the first book in the trilogy) and started reading it, because I was just not ready to leave the incredible fantasy world Leigh had created.

grisha-trilogy-covers

The world in which Six of Crows is set pulls just enough from our conceptions of different parts of our own world to give us a basis on which to build our understanding of the settings and characters, all while being an entirely new and magical place. The characters certainly seem to have skills and abilities that make them seem more adult (I kept feeling as though the characters were older, and then being surprised when their teenage ages were mentioned).  However, this didn’t bother me when I reflected on it – in the world that these characters are living it, it is either “grow up fast and gain the skills to survive” or perish.  And these characters are definitely survivors!

One of the reasons I loved this book so much is that I have just really been on a fantasy kick recently, so this book hit the spot.  But it also combines much of what I love – excitement, adventure, a touch of romance – all while being well-written and beautifully crafted.  I’m a sucker for heist stories, and this has become one of my favorites.  But I’m also very character-driven when I’m reading, and the action and plot did not at all take away from the characters – they are all fleshed out and interesting, and we gradually learn their backstories which helps us to both understand their motivations and really care about them.

There is only one problem I have with this book – its sequel doesn’t come out for another 7-ish months, and I want to read it RIGHT NOW!!!  🙂

Leigh Bardugo
Photo of Leigh Bardugo from her website.
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Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01

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Illuminae-Author-Photos-credit-Christopher-Tovo
Author photo by Christopher Tovo

I loved this book! I did not want to stop reading it. This was partly due to the suspense and building drama and my need to know just what was going to happen! And partly due to the unique format the book is written in – with each page changing and different, it was hard to talk myself out of reading just one more email or transcript or looking at the diagrams that were coming next.

One of the things that I most appreciated about this book was the empathy I felt with each character (literally each one, no matter how small a role) and the humanity that the authors managed to give each and every character. Frequently, in end-of-the-world, things-blowing-up, all-out-war types of books, it seems easy to let the deaths pile up without meaning. But in Illuminae, names and stories and backgrounds are given to even the minor characters who die, and I ended up feeling the blow of each of these deaths. Amie and Jay were able to make you understand that the deaths weren’t just numbers piling up, but people, all without encumbering the story or slowing down the plot. A remarkable feat!

The sci-fi world that Amie and Jay created is entirely believable, because although the world is filled with “unbelievable” things (living in space, artificial intelligence with feelings, an airborne pathogen that results in, essentially, zombies, and more!), it is based enough in science that we are familiar with, that it really doesn’t seem too far from what could, potentially, happen. The story is detailed, there is consistency within the story, and – most importantly – we understand and empathize with the characters. The humanity is the same, no matter how different this future, sci-fi world has become.

This is a book that I will be recommending, because it is well-written and unique and thoroughly enjoyable – I can’t wait for the next one!

Illuminae Interior