No mourners, no funerals.

Let me start this review off by saying that I haven’t read a fantasy book since high school. I’m halfway through my Master’s degree now, so, yeah, it’s been a while. I was wary of starting this book at first. I bought it at Target because a) I compulsively buy a book every time I go to Target, and b) I love crows. Like, seriously they’re my favorite bird. A book with a crow on the cover, called SIX OF CROWS? Sign me up!

When I got home and read the synopsis, though, I briefly regretted judging this book by its cover. I am not a fan of high fantasy. As of late, murder mysteries have been my go to. I don’t want magic, and made up worlds, and languages, and…. it’s just not my cup of tea.

The book sat on my shelf for several years before I finally picked it up, intending to read it during a short vacation in Maryland (which seems to be the only time I can get some reading done anymore). I started the book on 4/24/19 and finished it on 10/9/19. Just about six months—but much of that delay can be attributed to the fact that I started working on another degree and just don’t have free time anymore.

The first few chapters were slow and difficult to get into. The first scene that really got me going was the ambush at the harbor—mainly the dynamic between Kaz and Inej at the end of the battle. *swoon* After that I felt myself desperately wanting to read, but the lack of time made it difficult. When I went back to Maryland last week, I managed to finish it in about a day and a half. I couldn’t put it down.

In an effort to keep this review spoiler-free (or as spoiler-free as possible) I’ll keep my thoughts brief. But just know, there was a lot of internal (okay, and some external) screaming going on.

First of all, almost everyone I follow on Twitter hates Matthias. I see him being the butt of the joke more often than not, along with people outright saying he’s a bad character. I’m not sure if they mean he’s bad, as in a bad person, or bad as in poorly written, but to be completely honest I don’t support either position. Matthias had, in my opinion, the best character arc of anyone. The allegories and commentary on race, racism, and rejecting the harmful ideologies we’re taught as children were some of the most powerful parts of the book. His whole dynamic with Nina was wonderful. I felt it was really important to show his growth, especially at the end of the book where we see the culmination of his journey, his bond with Nina, and his bond with the rest of the Dregs. To see him reject his people’s hatred and bigotry, to side with “the enemy” in their eyes and do so proudly—it’s a reminder that people are constantly growing, constantly learning, and have the ability to repent and be better in the future. It was one of my favorite parts.

My second favorite part of the book was the way that Kaz’s trauma was handled. While not nearly as severe as Kaz, for a while when I was a teenager, I had trouble with skin-to-skin contact. I actively avoided touch, save for a few people like my mom, but for the most part other people touching me caused me to panic. In the years since, I’ve gotten it under control and it’s no longer an active fear of mine—but god did I relate to Kaz. The way his story unfolded was brilliant, and I want to read it again and again. Kaz Brekker is still a badass, but to see him broken down to what he really is—a scared child with a whole host of unresolved trauma—was amazing to read.

All in all, the character dynamics were fantastic. The girl power between Nina and Inej–the whole “let’s get this job done while the silly boys watch” vibe of the climax of the story made me want to scream out “YES!” The flirtatious banter between Jesper and Wylan was adorable and subtle and just so friggin cute–and Jesper’s reaction at the end, when he sees [redacted] on the island, ugh. My heart. 

I loved this book so much I’ve been eating up as much fanart, fan-made videos, and edits of the newly announced cast of the Grishaverse as their respective characters and UGH y’all I can’t wait. This world is my latest hyper-fixation, so of course on my last day in Maryland I stopped at a bookstore and picked up the first book in the Grishaverse trilogy, SHADOW AND BONE. I’m so excited to start this one and will be including it in my next TBR post for sure.

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