Addictive, fantastically fun fantasy - a real page-turner!
I'm always wary about believing the hype... as I've often found that much-lauded books fall a little flat for me. However, there were no such problems with Six of Crows. Right from the start I was utterly hooked, frantically turning all 491 pages until the very end.
For the uninitiated, the book is about Kaz; a brutal criminal hell-bent on obtaining money and getting revenge. Beside him are his gang of faithful (and not so faithful) fellow ill-doers; the wonderfully stealthy Inej ('the Wraith'), plus Jesper the action-man and others. They're set a seemingly impossible task - rescue a prisoner from the Ice Court - a formidable fortress that's reputed to be impenetrable.
There are complications, of course. Nina, their fellow Grisha, is a heart-render, and their other travelling companion is Matthias, who hunts Grisha for a living. There's also the major issue that the person they're rescuing is responsible for creating a terrible drug that elevates a Grisha's powers, but leaves them hopelessly addicted afterwards.
Right from the start, the characters were bold, feisty and full of life - and easily one of the best aspects about the book. I adored the ultra-shady, ambiguous Kaz (not to mention his backstory, which was artfully woven in the narrative), and the silent, deadly Inej. Likewise, the relationships were wonderful too - none of the icky smushy love stuff, just lots of romantic tension and obstacles to overcome.
The plot was likewise a real page-turner, with plenty of action, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed. It was pitched just right, and the world-building was believable and imaginative.
It's a big five stars from me! I look forward to starting the next one.