If you ask me for a book recommendation, I won’t hesitate to tell you about Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Even if you say, “Eh, I’m not much of a fantasy reader,” I’ll completely ignore you and continue to go on about how it’s more than a fantasy duology. I mean, it’s got everything: heists, double crosses, romance, magic, and so much more. If all that doesn’t convince you, I’ll just keep bugging you until you finally break down and read it.
Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology is a reading experience I wish I could relive again for the first time. There’s so many moments that had me on the edge of my seat and frantically turning the page, so eager to know what happens next. I’m talking the kind of eager where you have to put your bookmark under each line you’re reading so you don’t accidentally look ahead in your desperation to learn what happens next.
To honor the amazing Leigh Bardugo on her birthday today, I want to share some of the moments from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom that unapologetically live in my head rent free, 24/7. Obviously there are spoilers ahead, so turn back now if you haven’t read the books. Better yet, save this article, go read the books right now, and then come back here to relive all the heart pounding and heartbreaking moments with me.
1. Every Jesper and Wylan Moment
I think the last time I used the term “ship” when talking about a fictional couple was back during my cringey 2014 Tumblr phase, but I’m not ashamed to say it when talking about Jesper and Wylan. They’re just perfect together. Jesper’s chaotic nature just matches so well with Wylan’s proper upbringing.
The fact that their “first kiss” consisted of Jesper kissing Kuwei by accident just makes me love their relationship even more. I really have no other words for the relationship of Jesper and Wylan, they’re just so adorable together. They’re the couple in a book where any time you see their names on the page, you can’t help but say, “Oh, this is going to be good.”
2. THAT Scene With Kaz and Inej
Kaz taking off his gloves in Crooked Kingdom to help Inej tend to her wounds is the equivalent of Puritan women showing their ankles. It’s not necessarily scandalous because it’s like, just his hands, but it also makes you want to gasp and clutch your imaginary pearls. The fact that Kaz pushes aside his aversion to touching flesh, all for Inej, is sickeningly sweet.
It’s incredibly romantic because of the fact that it isn’t your typical romance scene. There’s no kissing, no ~spiciness~ , just raw intimacy. Despite the trauma that haunts Kaz, he still wants to have some level of physical connection with Inej. We love a guy who sheds his armour (physical and emotional) for the one they love.
3. Nina’s Post-Parem Powers
Nina’s been through a lot. She deserves all the waffles and toffees and anything else her heart desires. She uses the dangerously addictive jurda parem the help the Crows escape Fjerda, and then has to face the uncertainty of withdrawals.
But the use of jurda parem changes Nina’s powers, and now she can control dead bodies and communicate with them. It’s rather terrifying when it’s first revealed, but also incredibly bada**. Which is fitting, because Nina is awesome. And again, she’s been through a lot and deserves all the waffles she’s obsessed with.
4. Every Time The Crows Say, “No Mourners, No Funerals”
I mean, that line is literally chills-inducing for me. Any time they say it to each other you just know sh*t’s about to get real. It’s like saying, “May the Force be with you,” in Star Wars right before a battle is about to happen. Sure, it’s the most quoted/iconic line in the series, but for good reason!
It’s a way of saying good luck before a big heist, but with dark undertones to it. They’re thieves, and let’s be honest, there’d be no fancy funerals for them if they died. It’s an ominous reminder that’s not lost on them or the readers.
5. Matthias’ Death
You practically ripped my heart out with this one, Leigh Bardugo. I think I knew deep down either Matthias or Nina wasn’t going to make it to the end of the story unscathed, what with the frequent mentions about how they wanted a life together once the heist was over. I was in denial though, and thought, “Maybe Leigh will surprise us all and not break our hearts by tearing apart our favorite enemies-to-lovers couple, but nope. She did it. She killed Matthias, and in doing so, broke my heart.
What’s worse is Matthias was killed by a young drüskelle, and dies in Nina’s arms. Then Nina cried, which made me cry. Nina cried some more, and then I cried some more. Overall it was just a lot of tears during the final chapters of Crooked Kingdom, fictional and real.
6. Inej Being Reunited With Her Family
Ugh. Okay, so Crooked Kingdom through me through a loop with Matthias dying, but then ending it with Kaz finding Inej’s parents and bringing them to Ketterdam?? Somebody sedate me. Crooked Kingdom is truly the definition of an emotional rollercoaster. Whether we’re talking about the emotional journeys of the characters or the fate of their heist, this book just doesn’t let up.
Kaz revealing to Inej that he found her family and brought them to her is truly one of the most beautiful and heartwarming moments I’ve read in a book in a long time. Reading throughout the books about how Inej was taken from her family was heartbreaking, so seeing her be reunited with them was, in my opinion, a perfect ending for her. And then you make it Kaz who found them for her?? Sedate. Me.
Thanks, Leigh Bardugo
So there you have it. There’s a lot of other moments that I love from this duology, but these were the first ones that came to mind for me. I mean, I could go on and on about this series because it’s just that good. But rather than turn this article into a book about why I love Six of Crows, I’ll just end it with this: Happy Birthday, Leigh Bardugo. Thank you for giving all of us bookworms a series to obsess over long after we’ve read the final pages.