Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
If you, like me, had doubts about reading this novel due to an unfortunate experience concerning the Grisha Trilogy, have no fear, this novel exceeded my expectations and contains no resemblance to the aforementioned series. This is such an exciting and fun read.
The multiple perspectives belong to six crooks with a variety of skills. All of them have unique backstories that have forged them into the people they’ve become. Over the course of the novel their struggles and relationships are revealed so that we slowly come to understand their characters. Kaz is the undisputed leader of this little band of criminals, he seeks revenge with a ferociousness and cold calculation that is both chilling and impressive. Jesper and Wyland, be still my heart, are a cleverly crafted duo which serve to provide comic relief against the stark backdrop of their perilous mission.
The women in this novel are on par with their male counterparts and are essential elements to completing the job they’ve been given. Inej is a shadow, she moves unseen among their world and unfortunately is, even to us readers, unknowable. Nina is fun and loud, abrasive in an endearing way and easily loved. The tentative friendship these women strike up is born of necessity but quickly flourishes under difficult circumstances.
This novel is extremely fast paced, with disaster quickly following disaster to create a beautifully orchestrated mess of schemes and strategies which are born not only of planning but also of happenstance. Moral ambiguity and quick thinking are a must to be part of this group. Despite this, the job they’ve taken on is actually integral to saving their world, turning a seemingly nefarious job into a quest led by heroes. I have to applaud Bardugo in crafting plot twists which I could not predict and keeping a pace which didn’t slow or become overwhelming at any point in the novel.