Audiobook Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David Ledoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Series: Six of Crows #1
Published by Audible Studios on September 29th 2015
Length: 15 hours 25 minutes
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.
So here it is. A review that I am disappointed to be writing because I just couldnt bring myself to love this book that so many others have loved. I will forewarn you, I may sound like a jerk in spots. But, my reaction is what it is, so I will share it with you anyway. There’s bound to be readers out there that will have a similar experience as I did, though many will have the same reaction as the reviewers that have written glowing reviews for this one.
In case you haven’t gathered already, I went into Six of Crows with high hopes. A number of reviewers that tend to have similar taste as me really enjoyed this one (and rightfully on their part!). However, I think I had a different experience with it. I can’t say the book is without its merits, but I can say that it might not have been the best choice for me. Ultimately what failed to work for me was the characters and their relationships (especially the romantic relationships, oh my holy ANGST. Serious amounts of ANGST. And I can do angst, but evidently I can’t do ANGST). In a book like this, that is critical. The story overall is somewhat familiar and the world building is not terribly complex. That’s the case with lots of great books, but that also means (for me), my enjoyment is going to ride on my reaction to the characters.
Also, I have also made it abundantly clear in other reviews that I am very picky about humor in books. The humor in this one fell flat for me more often than not as well. Sometimes instead of just ignoring it and moving on instead I can find it irksome when I read passages I know are supposed to amuse but they really don’t. It’s like hearing canned laughter on a sitcom that’s so generously dispersed it seems to play for every line. “Hi” *canned laughter* “I lost my pencil” *canned laughter* “My favorite cat died” *canned laughter*. Obviously the book contains no canned laughter in either print or audiobook format. But it does contain jokes that are blatantly obvious that just didn’t amuse me. It’s like a textual canned laughter equivalent. So what I was left with was a book where I knew I supposed to be laughing when I would be rolling my eyes and characters that I didn’t care about nearly as much as I should have and romances that just made me want to throw up a tiny bit. Yeah, I guess I’m not being as nice as I could, but that is how I felt.
So, plot wise, this book has a ton of potential. A group of six very different people come together to try and pull of an impossible heist. Nothing terribly original, but quite often fun. Kaz, the leader of this group is approached to break in to an un-penetrable prison to free someone. He gathers his team, suspense, mayhem and canned laughter ensue. Honestly, I was a bit bored. OK. To be fair, I am probably overplaying the humor. It wasn’t so prevalent as I am making it sound, but I just so didn’t like it when it did rear its ugly little canned laughter head, I seem to be dwelling on it.
This is a really hard one for me to rate, because most of my complaints (rants) I think are legitimate traits of the type of book it is. So, despite my above rants, I do believe this is not a bad book, I can appreciate the enjoyment other people have taken from it. But to be honest, I had to find reasons to motivate myself to keep reading/listening. I am just not the correct audience for this one at all. There are Young Adult books that I have really truly enjoyed, I refuse to dismiss the category, but this book was the quintessential example of what I don’t enjoy in books often marked as Young Adult. So, if you do frequently enjoy Young Adult books, you can probably just dismiss my complaints as a crabby ranting blogger. If you are like me and find that there are more misses than hits in the category, then I would recommend a bit of caution, at least know what you are heading in for. I was very tempted to set the book aside in favor for something else, and while I did finish it, I have to say the odds of me reading the next one are quite low.
Audiobook Notes: Over all the narration was good. It had a full cast, which is often nice. My only issue with the audio was often the humor that didnt work for me was stressed a bit too much by the narrators. Now, this is probably more a factor of the jokes would make me roll my eyes in the first place, but hearing a character deliver the lines with extra emphasis on the points that make me roll my eyes didn’t help.
And to see more positive reactions to this book (offset my rant), here are reviews that will do a much better job highlighting the strengths of the book: