SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo (Review)

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I wonder if this is just going to slowly start turning into me posting pictures of the places I eat breakfast… (just kidding, but if you want that let me know).

480 Pages

Odds are, you’re already familiar with this book.

This is one of those books that has been on my TBR list since it came out in 2015. I remember the buzz that surrounded it, and I think I wanted to let all of it settle down a little before I took my hand at it since I wasn’t already a fan of the author or hadn’t read any of her work yet.  But, at the beginning of this school year, one of my friends let me borrow it and when the whole year went by without me touching it, I knew I would have to give it back soon, so I decided to go ahead and give it a go.

Because of a lot of the names and elements I do not want to get wrong, I am going to copy and past the synopsis from Amazon:

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 destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo returns to the breathtaking world of the Grishaverse in this unforgettable tale about the opportunity―and the adventure―of a lifetime.

Basic Thoughts

I think it is always slightly overwhelming to start a new YA read of this genre – a dystopian, speculative fiction type of world. The main reason being that you’re going to have to learn the meaning to knew words and terms that aren’t usually in the English vocabulary, but instead look like the author just smashed his or her face against the keyboard and where like “Yup, that’s our protagonists name – Zord Zovlfd (< see I just did it…pronounced Zord Zove-l-fed).

But, when done well, this can be one of the most amazing genres fiction has to offer.

Did Six of Crows manage to do this?

Overview

I think I’m going to stray away from the pros and cons list on this one.

In the beginning, not familiar with the Grisha series, I was extremely overwhelmed with new terms, as about 20 are thrown at you within the first quarter of the book. But, about half-way through, I felt I was comfortable enough to have a conversation about what was going on with the friend who had let me borrow it.

Is this book something I’ve never seen before? In short – no.

In my opinion, this is a very stereotypical YA book.

Did I enjoy reading this book? In short (again) – yes.

The reason that YA themes are so repetitive among works is because they’re entertaining and they sell. Does this book have a lot of the tropes that come with YA fiction? Abso-freakin-lutly. I was even able to guess the main character’s love interest within the first 50 pages (though it may have been intentional haha). But, what this book and many other YA books behind it do well is keep me (and many other people, for that matter) entertained.

I loved (most) of the characters, which were all super likable and interesting (especially Kaz and Wylan). The story was interesting. The world was pretty cool. And, while I don’t feel I received the most of what the world built had to offer, I’m going to give Bardugo the befit of the doubt and say that the Grisha series and this duology combined would offer me a lot more of it.

One thing, that I have to say, is I do feel like this book was a little short, despite its nearly 500 pages, so I almost wonder if the second book would have been just fine combined with this one, but, we’ll see.

In short, while this book is definitely not one-of-a-kind in most things, it did keep me very much entertained.

Final Rating:

Characters: 4.0 / 5.0

Action/Dialogue: 4.0 / 5.0

Overall Story: 3.0 / 4.0

FINAL RATING: 3.5  (3.667)

Final Thoughts:

I decided to round down on this one to a 3.5 for reasons that, while I enjoyed this book, a year or two down the road I’m, more than likely, not going to remember or care a lot about it (don’t worry, on GR I’ll mark it as a 4). I’m not itching to pick up the second one; I’m not starving for the movie. But, neither do I think that this book is garbage.

In the end, I’m glad I finally was able to read this one. I can not deny that this book did keep me entertained, and I did enjoy my time reading it. But, am I ordering the second book, rush-delivery? No.

You can buy it here.

Best,

Daniel

 

 

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WOOL by Hugh Howey (Review)

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528 Pages

Wool has been on my TBR list for awhile, as have a lot of the reads I’ve been picking up lately. It was mostly on my radar when I was more into post-apocolyptic/dystopian things, as I thought it was interesting – being advertised as an adult book (or new adult) in this genre.

In a future where the air you breath could kill you, and humans live in Silos buried underground, we follow several characters as they live their lives transfixed by the thought of the outside world. People who even speak of leaving or commit any punishment are sent out for the cleaning of the cameras that show the world of the outside – using wool pads – for sure to end in their death. When Juliette is put in the position of Sheriff, she soon starts to realize that not everything is as nice and peaceful as it may seem in the Silo. And, she soon realizes that not everyone is on the side of peace, either. How did they get there to begin with? Why is the world so toxic outside? But, asking those questions in the Silo, she knows, could very easily get you killed.

Basic Thoughts

I think the premise behind this book is very intriguing. While I do feel that a lot of post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels follow the same pattern, I felt this one could break the mold.

It’s a long book, too, which I thought would help it achieve this goal in the end. What is this Silo? What is this world in which they all have been living in? Why are these people there?

Pros:

  • Interesting idea
    • The whole idea that the air is toxic, forcing people to live inside of a Silo is honestly quiet interesting.
  • Relatable characters
    • I do feel like a lot of the character’s ambitions are highly relatable, and Howey manages to portray them well.

Cons

  • Very wordy
    • While the chapters where short, there would often be chapters with absolutely    no dialogue. It made me wonder if they were necessary at all.
  • Some things didn’t make sense
    • The Silo is made up of around 150 stories, all connected by stairs. They complain about these stairs a lot. They have advanced computer technology but couldn’t build an elevator?
  • Doesn’t manage to break the mold
    • While it tried very hard, it is honestly just your average dystopian.

Overall View

From what I know, this book was very well received, so I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t have very high expectations for it.

My first point of critique would have to be the length. It’s a pretty lengthy book, which is good…sometimes. In this case, however, I felt it was about 200 pages too long. I felt the author often got lost in describing things that were not important to the story and that I, frankly, did not care about. This, of course, made this long book feel like not a lot happened. When I finished, I felt like hardly anything did happen. I felt like he lingered too much on the slow parts, and not enough on the parts that actually made the story exciting.

While some of the characters where amusing and their ambitions relatable, they felt entirely 2-D. Two of them falling for the insta-love trope around page 200, which I thought the character was going to be above…she was not. Especially when she is fronted as a “tough” character, yet so easily gives into to a lot of things.

This idea is pretty neat, I guess. The air outside kills you if you breath it, and people are put to death to clean the sensors outside of the Silo that allow people to see outside. However, one thing that was huge tear in the story, were the stairs. One of the main things the author continuously harps on is how hard the stairs are to climb for everyone. They have a huge department of computers, huge generators and water pumps…yet no elevator? If the stairs caused this much of a hassle for everyone, why weren’t elevators present, especially with advances they had?

Also, I did feel as though the book never really committed to this idea of an adult dystopian. You could have easily made the characters teen, and nothing would have been different.

Overall I just felt this book was too much and too long. While I’m not saying it wasn’t enjoyable, it was just, overall, nothing new.

Final Rating:

Characters: 3.0 / 5.0

Action/Dialogue: 2.5 / 5.0

Overall Story: 3.0 / 5.0

FINAL RATING: 3.0 (2.84)

Final Thoughts:

I feel like it’s usually a huge hit or miss with books like this – books that get extremely popular outside of the book world, that is. Overall I just found this story no different from a lot of other things I’ve read, and just found the writing very lengthy at times.

Don’t get me wrong, if post-apocalyptic/dystopian is your main thing, then you’ll probably like it and may or may not agree with me.

However, I do think this novel was about 200 pages too long and could have easily had the same effect with less pages. But, I can understand why people generally liked it. It just didn’t hit all the marks I wanted it to as an avid reader.

If you’re curious, you can purchase it here.

Other than that, I have some exciting things coming up soon, so keep an eye out!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Best,

Daniel xx