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.
Four golden, enticing and mind enriching stars for Bardugo’s latest book.
I didn’t know what to expect coming into this book. I knew Emilie absolutely loved it, and that Michelle wasn’t impressed. Literally, their ratings are 5 and 3. Low and behold I ended up right in the middle. It can’t be a five star, but that doesn’t ever mean it isn’t a must read kind of book.
Let’s just start it off with quotes like this:
“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”
And then continue the rampage on my love for writing and funny moments,
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
Love it! Just perfect. Bardugo had me involved right with the characters and these moments of banter and humour always managed to fit in with a book that would not be right without it.
Now quick explanation, I’ve read the majority of Bardugo’s trilogy, but never finished the last book, Ruin and Rising out of my own frustration and impatience with the main character at the time. The one thing that stuck though, was Bardugo’s writing style because I really do love it. I would suggest reading the trilogy first, just because that’s where the terminology of this world will be explained, otherwise you can become lost. It’s been months for me since the trilogy and I had a hard time adjusting back into at first.
But that comes as a result of Bardugo’s creative and remarkable world building skills. She hardly misses a thing and for that I cherish her books. This one being at the top now. I believe I’m going to have to have a reread of Shadow and Bone and the rest of the trilogy. Just because now I want to go back and see it all again.
Moving on though, let’s begin with my favourite part to all my reviews, character talk. Since you can hardly experience a good story without some decent characters to match a storyline. This was one of those books where you switch between perspectives of several characters to follow the story. And that can go one of two ways. Horribly wrong or amazingly right. Thank the book gods, the latter hit home on this one. This story really couldn’t have been told any other way.
Every single character was special, well-constructed and had their backstories that clearly shaped who they had become in life. My top two were without a doubt Inef and Kaz so I’ll go in more depth with them.
There was Jesper, kind of the comic relief at times along with Wylan. But nonetheless once I got to know him deeper into the action and plot he was amazing, convoluted at times and a hilarious flirt and twit.
Meanwhile Wylan was much less known, he seemed privileged, but didn’t act it and I enjoyed his efforts and learning his past was both eye-opening and revealing about judging a book by its cover. I need those reminders every once and awhile.
Matthias. Man I pity him. Guy is the most honourable person out there and he is surrounded by a group of criminals and thieves that don’t have a shit to give.
Nina was pretty amazing. Concrete, not perfect by any means, but so honest and heartfelt I had to love her. She always held her own and her relationship with Matthias? My god best thing ever those two were horrible and awesome.
Inef! She was really the first character I got to know I fell in love right away, the wraith was probably the best name ever and her skills just made me love her any more. Her particular history, beliefs and nature were the best of them all.
Okay, now let’s talk Kaz. He was the mastermind behind it all, manipulating everything like it was his day job. He was brilliant, a smartass and a deeply interesting character that I was itching to learn more about all the time.
Now this is where I can’t say there weren’t faults. Not all of them were depicted clearly or well when the back stories came about, mostly because of the timing. It was one of those things where it’s like, I want to know what’s happening in the story right now, the past doesn’t matter. A few though, came about when it was important to know more about the character. That was alright, but some timings still just seemed off and made me more impatient than anything.
That is of course where my problem with the backstories comes into play because I loved the stories themselves. They were original, fascinating and very revealing. Again, bad timing. Really bad. I didn’t want them at that time. I get I said this two paragraphs ago, but it was annoying. The only reason I made it through so easily was that I was reading this until 1am and finished it at school within an hour the next day.
That brings me over to descriptions. It’s a new world I get it, descriptions are amazing, but there’s a limit. The middle of intense, life or death situations is not a time for every little detail. You can’t begin to imagine my frustration when I’m sitting there nearly off my seat, absorbed in the plot and suddenly they’re telling my how flawless the windows are and the structure so expressive. No. I want the action going on, my imagination will fill in the stinkin’ blanks.
That is of course where my problem with the backstories comes into play. Again, bad timing. Really bad. I didn’t want them at that time. I get I said this two paragraphs ago, but it was annoying. The only reason I made it through so easily was that I was reading this until 1am and finished it at school within an hour the next day.
Otherwise though this is a book that everyone should take a look at. If only for the lessons it teaches. I loved the characters and they were full of very real, legitimate flaws. The story was honest about the harshness and cruelty of the world. But also the small happinesses that can be found in the dark. I think that’s enough for explaining that though, experience is best.
Until next time,