Six of Crows

Author : Leigh Bardugo
Succeeded by : Crooked Kingdom

I didn’t know what to expect when I started the book. I just associated it with the word “heist”. I didn’t read the blurb at the back for some reason before I started it, but I was given to understand that it was good , so I decided to give it a shot. I went in thinking about “Ocean’s 11”, “Now you see me” etc.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover the characters as they were being fleshed out, each more enigmatic than the last – the best of all being the main anti-hero Kaz Brekker. What a well-created character! But just as I falling in love with him, the other characters – Jasper, Inej , Nina and even Matthias and Wylan were given their backstories and it was impossible to restrict my affection to just the bastard of the Barrels. I liked that none of them were..perfect. They all had their flaws, their weaknesses and most of all, motives. Each of them had a reason for being a part of the plot. This is a good segue into the plot itself – It wasn’t a straight B & E and the number of obstacles in their path were to be many. The fact that Matthias and Wylan were familiar with the target destination was of assistance without making it too convenient. The minor twists towards the 60-70% mark were very welcome even though things were never boring, even till then. I loved the non-overt romantic relationship between Matthias and Nina, the description of discovery of feelings Kaz has for Inej and vice-versa and even the dynamics between Jesper and Wylan. It was a nice journey to see of a somewhat dysfunctional team coming to trust each other over the course of the mission.
The introduction of the Grishaverse terminologies took some getting used to but despite not having read the other books in the universe, I was still able to understand the different specialties of each of the Grisha – the Fabrikators, the Heartrenders etc. Good magic system. All of this takes place in a city called Ketterdam and Bardugo builds place descriptions just as vividly as she builds character sketches.
Overall, I completely enjoyed the book and, being part of a duology definitely has a story to complete. I look forward to reading “Crooked Kingdom”.
4/5.

Subjective Rating: 4/5

Shadows of Self

Author : Brandon Sanderson
Preceded by : Alloys of Law
Succeeded by : Bands of Mourning

The second book in the Wax and Wayne trilogy (Not sure if there’s a fourth book to come?) is titled “Shadows of Self” and is titled so, in my opinion, because there’s some heavy introspection that goes on in this book – both on Wax and Wayne’s part. We get some deeper insights into what makes these characters tick in this book. The plot revolves around a rogue murderer that’s going around creating all sorts of mayhem in the city, shaking its very political pillars in the process, starting with the killing of the governor’s brother and it’s upto Wax, Wayne and Marasi to get to the bottom of it. Brandon Sanderson’s magic system itself is somewhat diminished in its use here and the book seems to revolve more around the characters’ interpersonal relationships and how they grow in the process.

Marasi learns how to be more effective in her new role as a detective (having abandoned her original career as a solicitor), traversing the different challenges her office throws at her by way of petty jealousy from her colleagues, Wax and Steris learn to be a little more comfortable with each other, even as Wax is tormented by visions of his old paramour Lessie and even Wayne is shown to have a regretful side, a face we would not expect the playful, impish character to have. There is this amazing flashback-exchange between Wax and his uncle that reveals how Wax was a “lawman” even as a young boy. There is no dearth of excellent dialogues that are very relevant even in our non-allomantic dull real world which suck you into the book the way only Sanderson can. The villian, revealed to be a kandra, plays an important role as well (actually, a-duh-moment), exploiting the weaknesses of Wax and society as a whole.

This book is.. good – the story, the familiar characters, the fights – they’re all very good. I don’t bemoan the time I spent reading it, because I really had fun. But it falls short of a 5-star because the original Mistborn trilogy was still So much better. Let’s see if the next book in the series – Bands of Mourning can change this opinion of mine.

Subjective Rating: 4/5

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Author : George Orwell

This book was a roller coaster of emotions, culminating in the equivalent of a huge tidal wave crashing against a boulder, scattering into indiscernible droplets of water. The story describes a dystopian world (or is it?) where every action of every individual in the land of Oceania is monitored by an all-seeing, all-knowing body called “Big Brother”. The system is one devoid of free thought and speech, the very first scene opening with scenes of hatred towards the only attempt at a revolting entity (Goldstein). Amid all this, there are still those who understand that this is not how the natural order of things should be, that they should not be rewriting history to match the present or the past predictions of Big Brother, that people should not be “vaporised” for committing thought crimes and the story follows one such individual — Winston. His journey from cautious citizen to a reckless revolutionary is a breath of fresh air in the suffocating environment of Oceania, as he finds a cohort in the plucky, young Julia. Together they dream and scheme and believe they aren’t alone, and find this to be true when they meet O’Brien. 


And just when you think the uprising just might be successful, that there just might be a chance that the underdogs shall prevail….. George Orwell picks up your heart, puts it in a box, drives a nail through it and smashes the box with a hammer, burns what’s left of it and scatters the ashes in a meadow where a cool breeze blows them away…

Subjective Rating: 5.0/5.0.