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After finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.
6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it
Image via Goodreads
While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.
5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes
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Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.
4. It delves into real-world issues
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Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.
3. The writing is extraordinary
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Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.
2. The diversity is on point
Image via We Heart It
Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.
1. It’s going to be a TV series
Image via Vox
This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.
Featured image via Affinity Magazine
Celebrate George R. R. Martin's 71st birthday with four of the author's top-tweeted portraits from the past year.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to Hogwarts while the events of the seven books were taking place? Wonder no more. Emily McGovern has laid it all out in her brilliant comic series, My Life as a Background Slytherin (and Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor). Tag yourself I guess? Here are my faves.
I’m just saying, her objection DOES make sense. Now, maybe this was explained in a tweet or something, I don’t know, and I frankly don’t care. Most of England is south of London, and much of Wales, as well as all of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Do they take a boat, travel down to London, then travel all the way back north to Hogwarts like, three times a year? I have questions, I tell you. Why can’t your parents just drive you and make sure your entrance is super embarrassing? No. Gotta go to London, ride a train, ride in a carriage drawn by invisible death horses. Gotta keep it simple. Am I the only one who’s got this many thoughts on this?
Well, I’m not sure it’s courageous exactly, but you know if anyone was blatantly defying Umbridge for cigarettes or whatever wizard teenagers do, it would be the Gryffindors. They’re like, prohibition? Violence? Autocratic rule? Sounds like an opportunity for HIJINKS. They’re a strangely cheerful bunch. They really do make the best of Hogwarts and it’s nonsense. Painful death? Let’s check it out. Lethal forest? Sounds like good old slumber party fun. Ghosts? That’s a friend. Dangerous death match for children? Sounds like my kind of party. They might be courageous, or maybe they really just have no sense of danger whatsoever? Not judging, just saying.
These are determined people. Gotta make sure those plants are doing well. Still nice and angry. So obviously the willow was planted to protect the passage to the house in Hogsmeade where Lupin went when he transformed but actually like… think about that plan. We’ve got a werewolf student. Give him a potion to soothe him when he transforms? Maybe that’s not invented yet. Put him in a medical coma for a few days behind a screen in the hospital wing? Not extra enough. Just put him in a dungeon? The castle has plenty. No. He needs a secret tunnel, to a secret house, hidden behind a secret tree that beats up a ton of students. It’s foolproof.
Wizards have been persecuted in the past, so we need to make a safe place for magical children! We’ll put a giant snake dungeon, moving staircases, lots of trap doors for falling through, an evil forest with murder centaurs and spiders the size of mini vans, and let’s make ex-death eaters professors and also current death eaters, we’ll hire a werewolf and he’ll be the SAFEST one! We’ll have such beef children fight for centuries! Dementors on campus? Great idea! Child death match? Let’s do it! Dangerous time machine? She’s thirteen, she can handle it. Get locked out? Sleep in the hallway and DIE.
Featured image via My Life As A Background Slytherin
Alright, so you know we’re obsessed with SparkNotes’ twitter. Or, I am at least. The memes are so dank. And now there’s a master list of everything they’ve posted about Hamlet, or at least a lot of it, and it’s all iconic. Here we go.
When Your Dad Tells You to Do Something
Clean my room? Murder your killer? Totally, I’ll do that right now. Just let me finish this chapter. Level. Book. I’ll TOTALLY remember the stabbing stuff after that. I’ll even clean up the blood. When I get to it. No one’s perfect, you know?
When You’re Totally Not Jealous
Hamlet might have been the first emo. Maybe. Certainly he was pretty early. Like, I get it man, intellectual and philosophical despair or whatever, your stepdad SUCKS, but maybe go outside. Get some sun. Maybe some soft serve. Commit a murder. Whatever works?
The Roulette Wheel of Murder Excuses
No, I totally didn’t kill my brother, it was, um… *turns around and furiously spins visible wheel* … a snake! Yeah. It was a snake. You know how it is. So many venomous snakes here in Denmark, it was bound to happen sometime. Totally innocent.
Ignoring the Obvious
Look. Your father died in a mysterious snake accident. Your uncle MARRIED YOUR MOM. That’s a yikes in any context, but it’s a super yikes here. Go and get all philosophical about it if you must, but Claudius is barely even trying to hide his misdeeds. Get to the decision, man.
Did You Ever Feel Like a Vine Could See You?
Look, Claudius, if you’re going to pull off a murderous coup, you’ve gotta have just like, a little tiny bit of chill. I’m not asking for a lot. This is like a vampire freaking out and running from the room every time you mention the sun. If you’re going to murder your brother, at least own it.
When the Paper is Due Tomorrow
Maybe just do to him whatever you did to Ophelia. Too soon? #opheliadeservedbetter Seriously though, you live with the guy. Literally just stand there and kill him when he STOPS praying. Kill him in his sleep. Do something. Honestly, Lettie, kill or do not kill, there is no try.
Absolutely No One
Formally. Informally. Hamlet had the emotions of a Romantic, about a hundred years too early. I feel like the romantics would have really Gotten him. (Or like, four hundred years before his time. Imagine Hamlet with a floppy fringe. I digress). Either way, he’s an emotional mess, but mostly valid. #opheliadeseRVEDBETTER
All images via Spark Notes