Modern fantasy novel embraces the villains


Shelby Foster

Starr’s Mill High School student quickly flips through the thrilling adventure novel “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo. The sequel to to this book “Crooked Kingdom” was published on Sept. 22, 2016.

Dana Gould, Staff Writer

In a world where most stories are told from the point of view of heroes, it is always satisfying for a change. Many narratives today encompass the ideas and point of view of the superhero or knight in shining armor saving the world from evil. The novel “Six of Crows” takes modern fantasy in a brand new direction as it shows that the supposed villains can save the day once and awhile. While someone may be a criminal, it does not always mean they are inherently evil, sometimes it is simply a matter of circumstance.

In the bustling international trade hub of Ketterdam, powerful gangs, wealthy merchants, and menacing criminals lurk in every corner. Among them is Kaz Bekker, one of the most dangerous men of Ketterdam. Aside from being a murderer and a thief, he is a young man looking for vengeance and wealth, no matter the cost.

It is meant to be entertaining, but it also provokes deeper thoughts as to how far people today would go for their survival.

— Staff Writer Dana Gould

While walking through the streets of Ketterdam one night,  Bekker is offered a heist from one of the wealthiest merchants in town. The impossible task involves breaking into one of the most secure prisons in the world and retrieving an imprisoned scientist from the Ice Court to prevent the spread of a drug that enhances the powers of witches and wizards. If Bekker succeeds, he will be rewarded with a life of luxury and riches, but should he fail, he will be driven to the grave. The only problem is he cannot successfully complete this absurd mission without help.

In order to favorably breach the Ice Court, Bekker will need a well-trained team of outcasts desperate enough to risk everything they have for the chance of a new life. Thankfully, he knows just the right people for the job. He recruits five others to assist him on this heist and to take part in the reward should they succeed.

This action-packed story takes the reader through a fantasy world in which criminals become kings while powerful witches and wizards are slaves. This book embodies the idea of surviving day to day, and simply hoping for the best. In a world so violent and cruel, children must grow up quickly in order to survive another day.

The novel lends itself perfectly to multiple viewpoints, as there are many well-developed and lifelike characters that need their voices heard. Each character brings something unique to the team that is essential to their mission. The reader is given the backstory of certain characters to allow everyone to understand the motives and reasons behind a character’s actions. Without the use of multiple perspectives, many ideas and defining characteristics would be completely lost on the reader.

At first, someone may be quick to judge the horrifying actions of many of the characters, but throughout the story it becomes glaringly obvious that they are only doing what is necessary for survival. Throughout the story there are many portions that allows the reader to reflect on their own life and compare it to the lives of characters in the story. It is meant to be entertaining, but it also provokes deeper thoughts as to how far people today would go for their survival.

While the story may seem chaotic and overly detailed, the descriptions of this world and how everything functions helps the plot. Without the supposedly unnecessary details, the characters could not be as lifelike and developed as they are in the story.

“Six of Crows” provides a thrilling take on the fantasy and adventure genres. It is well-written, interesting, and largely entertaining. Overall, this is a worthwhile read that quickly pulls the audience in and keeps them interested throughout the story. This adventurous novel provides the reader with well-developed characters, an intriguing plot, and a different perspective that makes the characters more realistic. It’s not everyday someone can read a book about a group of criminals saving the world and themselves at the same time.

People who enjoyed this book should stop by Ex Libris at the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center on Dec. 7. The club will be discussing “Bone Gap,” “The Weight of Feathers,” and “Red Rising.”