Published by Henry Holt and Co. on September 29th 2015
I loved this book. It’s an absolutely perfect combination of superb characters, dark world with intriguing magic and wonderfully clever and twisted plot. A winning package nicely wrapped up in this author’s lovely writing style with great dialogue topping the lot.
To cut a long story short, and if you want the speedy version, read this book. If you want to find out a little more and read some gushing then continue on.
Firstly, I haven’t read the previous trilogy by Bardugo and can firmly say that I don’t think it’s necessary to have done so in order to enjoy this story. I’ll also mention that not having read the first I have no idea if this review will contain spoilers so please be aware of that before reading on.
I won’t elaborate too much on the plot. We find ourselves in the busy city of Ketterdam and in particular focus on the Barrell where the seedy underworld thrives and gangs jostle for superiority. The Dregs are a gang ran by Kaz Brekker. He ultimately answers to a crime lord but in practice he has put the Dregs on the map, so to speak, and made them a force to be reckoned with. Known as Dirty Hands because he’ll take any job for a price, Kaz is about to be offered an obscene amount of money for a seemingly impossible task. This is a job that will test his wits to the full but if he manages to pull it off will make him wealthy beyond his dreams.
This story is a heist with a difference. The ultimate con job to obtain something that is being sought by many and could be disastrous in the wrong hands. It will involve a select number of people, all chosen for their own particular skill and all with their own individual motivations. It involves a gang putting themselves into a situation that any self respecting criminal would normally avoid like the plague and it’s set in the magical world of the Grisha.
In terms of the writing. Bardugo pulled me into the story and the world effortlessly. Her writing is really captivating and the world here is easy to envision. No clunky info dumps that pull you out of the story but a great combination of easy detail and flashbacks that slowly create a perfect understanding of the people and places visited. On top of this she manages to achieve that perfect mix of anticipation and fear that make you want to race forward at breakneck speed but also fear to do so at the same time. And, if that’s not enough to have you chomping at the bit this is a story with multiple points of view. This isn’t always easy to pull off and let’s face it can sometimes end up with characters that seem to morph into each other and become difficult to distinguish. No fears of that happening here. These characters all stand on their own two feet. They’re flawed, they come with intriguing back stories and, more importantly, they’re easy to like. Let’s face it, multiple povs is difficult to achieve because more often than not you end up with a favourite character and it’s irritating when you’re pulled away from that particular thread. With this story I liked all the characters and so the chapters were all compelling to read about.
To the gang themselves. A quick inventory. Kaz, the brains of the crew. Quick witted and ruthless. Inej, otherwise known as the wraith. A sad backstory with insight about how she manages to be so stealthy. Matthias, you could say is the brawn and also provides invaluable Intel on the Ice Court. Nina is a Grisha soldier. She practically oozes with confidence and sexuality. Jesper is the sharpshooter with hidden talents and, finally Wylan, he’s the mystery card, definitely the real misfit of the piece but his inclusion will eventually be revealed.
I love all these characters I have to admit. The way they interplay with each other. The banter and the different relationships that eventually become intricate to the story. Okay, if I was pushed I would have to say that I love the storyline between Nina and Matthias
Basically, I loved this book. It has everything I want to read. It’s clever, fast paced and totally gripping. Magic, in fact super, drug enhanced magic, adventure, twists and turns and seemingly impossible obstacles to overcome, a light touch of romance that just sweetens the plot and adds to the gang dynamics and a finale that will leave you clutching the book with white knuckles and bemoaning the fact that it’s all come to an end too quickly. When is the next book? Enquiring and needy minds want to know.
This review originally appeared on Lynn’s Book Blog