By Leigh Bardugo
This book follows a ragtag volunteer thieving crew as they attempt a nearly impossible heist. On the island of Kerch, we meet our gang of ruffians in the port town of Ketterdam, where each member has something to prove. The ring-leader, Kaz, has a troubled and haunting past, but refuses to let anything stop him from having his revenge, even if it means putting those he trusts in harm’s way. Matthias is an escaped convict, stripped of his previous title, who also seeks revenge for his unjust imprisonment. Although Nina has spurned Matthias in the ultimate form of betrayal, she must harness her Grisha powers to aid the group in their quest for glory. Inej is their spymaster, loyal to Kaz and willing to do anything to secure her freedom. Jesper, easily the best marksman in the kingdom, has trouble walking away from a good bet. Hiding from his privileged life as a merchant’s son, Wylan is trying to toughen his soft heart in a world of crime while trying to overcome his disability.
This book has the feel of Ocean’s 11, but with fantastical elements. The Grisha are a class of people who exist in this universe and have magical abilities; Nina is a Heartrender and a defected member of the Corporalki, a legion of Grisha trained in military combat. Bardugo also uses a lot of Russian and Eastern European inspiration in her stories. The characters are what makes this book so great. The book follows multiple perspectives from each of the characters, which gives the reader an even more informed view of what’s happening with the plot. Every character has a story to tell and each one has secrets and alternative motives, all while working towards one supreme goal: to steal back a hostage and earn their hefty reward.
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