My first book of the month was Six of Crows! This also fulfilled the prompt of Book with a Map for the Novice Path in the Magical – Orilium Readathon.
This book was everything that I needed right now. Some of my favorite types of entertainment tend to have heists at the center of the plot (Money Heist, Ocean’s 8, The Italian Job, Breaking Bad, Baby Driver, etc etc etc) and somehow I’d never read a book about a heist!
While Six of Crows followed The Shadow and Bone Trilogy and it takes place in the same universe, I was able to read it and fully enjoy it without having read the previous trilogy. If there were references to the trilogy I didn’t know but that’s totally okay by me since this book had a lot to offer on its own.
This universe has two types of people: Grisha, people who have magical powers to be able to manipulate life, death, water, materials, etc., and then people who don’t have any powers. There are people in this world who believe that the Grisha are witches and demons who are less than human. Now there is something that is threatening the existence of the Grisha and the current order of the world (dramatic I know!). And so, we are following six very interesting characters:
Kaz is the leader of the group, he’s super smart and able to see the strengths and weaknesses of those around him to use them to his advantage. He uses a cane and is in constant pain due to a leg injury he sustained a while back (this does not hinder him in the slightest!) His past is very mysterious and his motives slowly become clear to the reader.
Inej is skilled in stealth and climbing, she grew up learning to be an acrobat and somehow ended up in the city of Ketterdam as part of Kaz’ group of thieves. While she is very skilled she does not seem to have a purpose of her own, she simply does the jobs that Kaz assigns her and survives on a day-to-day basis.
Jesper is a sharpshooter, he loves the life as part of Kaz’ team. He is also very much addicted to gambling and the only way to keep that urge away is to be in the rush of fighting for his life. He’s loyal to Kaz and is constantly seeking his approval, which is problematic since Kaz doesn’t tend to give approval… to anyone XD
Nina is a woman who has the ability to control the human body (from slowing breathing to stopping hearts) and at the beginning of this book she is working at a pleasure house. Nina had some training as a soldier from her home country but somehow also ended up in Ketterdam even though she very much could use her skills to leave.
Matthias is a soldier who ended up in jail because he was accused to be a slaver. He has a lot of knowledge of where Kaz pretends to take his team to commit the heist but convincing him to cooperate will prove to be a real challenge. Matthias
Wylan is new to the crime world but he’s very good at figuring out complex mechanisms and explosives. He also has a mysterious past and no one really knows why he ended up with Kaz and company. He changes a lot throughout the book too!
There are some really complex relationships between all the characters, all rooted on what their motivations are for going through with this heist. They all have to learn to trust each other to some extent, even if it is because they fear the repercussions of not going through it.
As much as I’d like to pick one favorite character it’s pretty difficult. I loved Nina and her confidence and I loved Inej and the trust she has in herself the most. They have such inner strength that I was inspired to be a little bit more like them. I did enjoy the bit of tension, flirtation, and ache that existed between the potential romances. I liked that they were not the main focus but that they did influence some of the motivations of some of the characters (but also some characters were so emotionally mature!)
Overall, this book is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom! I’m not super convinced that I’ll go read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I kind of feel like it will not be on par with Six of Crows so that might be disappointing. If you’ve read the trilogy and disagree, do let me know!
But first, let’s take a look at what I’m currently reading:
The Stand by Stephen King: Yep, still buddy reading this, nearing 75% now and I’m so ready to see how this all wraps up!
Todos los Cuentos by Gabriel García Márquez: I am nearing the end of this book and I just love how Márquez manages to envelop me in beautiful writing and just all the atmosphere of his stories.
Emma by Jane Austen: I was not expecting this one to be so funny! I absolutely love Emma’s dad, he’s ridiculous in the most endearing way ever.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I barely started this one and it will unfortunately go into the backburner for a bit since I’ll be putting other books as priority for the first half of September. However, I’m super enjoying the writing so far, I need to know what is going to happen!
Temporada de Huracanes by Fernanda Melchor: This is the new pick for the book club with my friends and wow it’s so good! It is about brujas in a town in Veracruz, Mexico. A woman, known to be a witch in her town, is found murdered and so far we see how her origin is full of rumors, mythology, and violence. Excellent writing, absolutely love it.
And now, let’s look at what I will read for the Novice path for the Magical Readathon that I mentioned above!
For my character I’ve chosen to create Anukis Atali who lives in the urban center of Kerador and who is of Skaimorn heritage. She is a reader who has always been super curious about the magic that might be within her but which she has never been able to harness except in moments of intense pressure. She was raised by her great-uncle who is all about searching for the origins of his ancestors, genealogy is his passion. As such, Anukis knows that she comes from a line of powerful magic, which makes her inability to harness her own quite frustrating. The three books seen (Fight Club, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, and Club Dumas) will be read before April 2022 so I will talk about them in future TBRs.
So the idea for September is that my character will be embarking on the journey to Orilium Academy in order to learn how to harness her magical abilities. As such she must travel through various landmarks, each marking a trial that she must endure and pass in order to make it to the Academy. She’s not alone but she’s also super shy so hopefully she’ll be able to overcome that shyness in order to get to her goal.
The Novice Path Entrance — Read a book with a map: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: No, I haven’t read the Shadow and Bone series but I absolutely love heist movies and I’ve never read a heist book so I really wanted to check this out. I don’t know much more about this book other than the heist element and I am pretty sure that’s all I need!
Ashtorn Tree — A book on top of your TBR: Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language by Amanda Montell: This is the pick for this month’s Feminist Book club so of course it’s at the top of my TBR! This book takes a look at words that have often been used against women, labeling women as less than, and tracks their origins in order to take away that negative connotation and allow the reader to take back the word into a different kind of use.
The Mist of Solitude — Read a Standalone: In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner: I am SO excited to read this book. I’ve loved all of Zentner’s books so far and I don’t expect this one to be any different. I don’t even know what this book is about!
Ruin of the Skye — Read a book featuring ghosts/supernatural elements: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: This book follows Yadriel, a Latinx brujx, who has managed to summon the ghost of the school’s resident bad boy, Julian Diaz. Now they are forced to work together in order to set things right for both of them. Ghosts, romance, LGBTQ+ and Latinx representation, can’t wait!
Obsidian Falls — Read a thriller or mystery book: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix: I am a big fan of horror movies and one of the tropes in many of them is that final girl who manages to survive. So this book follows a group of final girls who have survived their respective serial killers and who now come together to help each other deal with the aftermath. But apparently their horror story is not over….
Tower of Rumination — Read a five star prediction: Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine: This is a series of short stories centered around Latinas of indigenous ancestry. There’s friendship, motherhood, sisterhood, and heritage. I’m pretty sure I’ll love this.
Orilium Academy Arc — Book with a school setting: A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer: A middle-grade book about Brystal, a 14-year-old girl who is whisked away to a magical school where she’ll learn that maybe her life is not as boring as she thought! I loved The Land of Stories series so I expect that this will be no different.
And that’s it for the Novice Path TBR! IF there’s time at all, I will also be starting All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which came up in my last Want To Read List Cleanup post. As it stands, it might be pushed into October but that’s quite alright since there’s no hurry. Who knows, I might be in the mood and start it even while working on the books for the Orilium journey, we’ll see!