A Non-Review: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh Bardugo

A Non-Review: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: September 29, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 9, 2015
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha #0.1) & Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1), Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

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.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction–if they don’t kill each other first.

The “non-review” isn’t really something I intended to be a regular thing when I first posted it as my thoughts on REBEL by Amy Tintera but it felt appropriate to bring back for my thoughts about my SIX OF CROWS re-read. A “non-review” is less of a review of the actual book and more thoughts, feelings, and a bit of discussion based on how my reading experience went. I thought it would be a good thing to use for my SIX OF CROWS re-read feedback since I had quite a tumultuous time trying to write my original review.

Leigh Bardugo is one of my all-time favorite authors. I obsessively collect anything Grisha-related and just fell in love with her writing throughout the whole Grisha Trilogy. Naturally, SIX OF CROWS was one of my most-anticipated books like, ever so I was so disappointed to feel like it just wasn’t a five-star read for me (I mean, it was four stars so it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it). I read SIX OF CROWS several months before it released, immediately after I obtained a copy at BEA 2015 back in June. Since I had so many mixed feelings on how the book sat with me that pre-ordered the audiobook version so I could start it as soon as the book was released on sale to the public.

My experience with the audiobook was fantastic. It’s a cast of narrators, a different one for each point of view in the book and they pretty much all kill it. I had so much fun listening to the book and I really felt like that helped me connect to each voice even more which was something that I noted on my first read. I felt like I was left wanting more backstory and development of each character, something to pull at my heartstrings a little bit more since this crew of criminals is so hardened and tough and I really think being able to hear those voices brought a new level of connection to each one for me. I also really think that just re-reading the book helped a lot since I didn’t need to focus on the basics as much and I could shift to the details, personalities, and nuances.

Honestly, I think my biggest “struggle” with my original read of SIX OF CROWS was that I was just too excited. I’m usually complaining about the hype of a popular book that kills it for me (which really is just impossible to avoid when a community is so large and so excited), but how do you prevent your OWN hype from letting you down? SIX OF CROWS was honestly a fantastic book. I did bump up my rating from around four stars to four and a half (still not QUITE five for me yet) but I had to ask myself, what was really missing that I didn’t feel like I could give it a perfect rating? It had everything that I loved, everything was amazing… and I figured it out it was ME. I think I had just hyped the book up so much in my head (“omg a new book by my favorite author!”) that I had set it up to just totally blow my mind without even knowing how the book would feel. I spent time imagining how it would go, what it would be about, who the characters would be, etc that I essentially had an idea in my head of what the book would be and that turned out to be pretty far off. That’s not a bad thing at all — I mean, the book was GREAT and honestly better that it didn’t go the way I imagined! But I did have an expectation that just led me in a different direction and SIGH. It was my own damn fault.

The terrible thing about it all is how impossible it is to avoid hype. Whether it’s from the community or from yourself, there’s only so much you can do to avoid excitement and speculation. SIX OF CROWS wasn’t the only book to suffer from this self-inflicted hype either. It’s happened to me with more than one series conclusion this fall and I think that’s because I’m just SO excited for these books by my favorite authors that I’m just hyping it up too much for my own good.

The other dilemma I have here is that if a book is good, it’s good. If it’s hyped up and deserves the hype, you’ll still love it. It’s undeniable that QUEEN OF SHADOWS had some immense hype surrounding it and I still savored, adored, and absolutely fell in love with that book. I think I had the same amount of anticipation for QUEEN OF SHADOWS as I did for some other incredibly popular books lately, so that makes me even question if this is a valid reason or if I’m making this excuse because I just don’t want to say that I didn’t love these books from an author whose work I’ve obsessed over. I suppose it could be a mixture of both. Maybe I was okay with QUEEN OF SHADOWS because I really did have an idea of how it might happen and my expectations were closer to actuality. Maybe it was because things were still on the same track as the first three books (same characters, following the same plot, etc) whereas with SIX OF CROWS, I met all new characters, it was a different time and place, and I had a hard time adjusting to the same world but in a totally different aspect.

I’m not quite sure what the “right” answer is, but it if is me hyping up books too much for my own good, I hope I’m able to corral that a bit and quickly. I’ve still enjoyed all of these books but I do feel a sense of “that wasn’t quite what I thought it would be” and I don’t really know how to handle that. I’m not sure there is a way to avoid getting too excited for a book because that’s also what I love about being a reader! Books are a gloriously fun thing to be passionate about and it’s impossible not to catch on to that excitement and let it spread throughout the community to help support your favorite authors and push books into the hands of other people.

What do you guys think? Have you ever hyped a book up too much for yourself? Do you struggle with expectations changing your opinion of a book??


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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7 thoughts on “A Non-Review: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1) – Leigh Bardugo

  1. acps927

    I just finished Six of Crows, and like you, I rated it 4 stars. I think I had it slightly hyped in my mind, but I felt I think what hurt most was I just incredibly confused during a lot of it. I had no problem keeping everything straight in the previous Grisha books, but this time it was impossible for me to remember the differences between the different nationalities and most of the places. I didn’t think the pacing was as tight as her previous books either.

    And I even went through something similar with my previous read, Winter. I love The Lunar Chronicles so much and I wanted this book just to blow Cress (a 5 star book for me) out of the water and it didn’t. I thought the pacing lagged in places and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel it was as well-done as Cress. I’m very happy with how the series ended overall, but the book itself wasn’t everything I dreamed of, if that makes sense. I think it’s very easy to build up our favorite authors and anticipate loving each book more than the last, but they’re just not going to write perfect books for us every time. Which is FINE. Can we really expect that? So I definitely understand!

    The audiobok for Six of Crows sounds neat though! Maybe one day I’ll check it out.

  2. Danielle @ Love at First Page

    Ah, I’m sorry this happened to you! Especially over a book that was written by one of your favorite authors. That’s a really hard disappointment to swallow. Six of Crows was my first Leigh Bardugo book and I was blown away… but I didn’t have those massive expectations that you had. Something similar happened to me with The Boy Most Likely To – I had MAJOR expectations, and I can pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like. But I do know what you mean about really liking a book, but just not having that inexplicable “it” factor that takes it into WOW territory. I think it’s totally a connection/personal thing.

  3. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    I’m planning to read this book soon…I didn’t finish the Grisha Trilogy (read the first book only) but I get the hype over a book, especially a favorite author.

    Not related to your review but I just want to share my thoughts about expectations. I have been waiting for a few years for a certain author to return to writing one of my favorite genres (she went to write a different genre that I did not read), she did this year and that book is still in my currently reading shelf. I wasn’t impressed by the first few chapters and it pains me to say this because I had such high expectations with this book and this series. *Sigh

    I totally get you and I’m sorry the book didn’t meet wow you.

  4. Angela @ Angela's Library

    I felt the same way about Six of Crows. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year…and a let-down. It’s not that it wasn’t GOOD (I gave it 3 or 4 stars, can’t remember which), it just wasn’t what I EXPECTED. Kaz just didn’t do it for me, and the jillion points of view kept me from getting sucked into any one character’s story. Very disappointing.

  5. Audrey Greathouse

    Aww, it is so hard when an author does something amazing and pegs your hopes and expectations so high for everything else they produce. I hope whatever comes next turns into a five star read for you! It is hard to keep yourself braced for variation and a little deviation from a great author’s usual standard in writing.

  6. Lauren @ Bookmark Lit

    You did IMMEDIATELY start this after BEA…like literally the train home 😉

    I started it in September and struggled with the print. I just couldn’t focus on it for some reason. I waited until the release and continued with the audiobook, which was totally fantastic. Hearing all of the voices added SO much to the story and kept me engaged.

    I am truthfully TERRIBLE with hype. I have a post about it next week I think! Whether I build it up in my own head, or everyone else does, I end up being a black sheep so freakin often. You hear how amazing a book is and when it’s not LIFECHANGING, you can’t help but feel disappointed. But, it’s even worse when you do it to yourself. I’m so bad with this. I just think a certain book is going to be so perfect for me, I wait forever to read it because I’m weird, and then it’s just…not as good as I built it up to be. There are plenty of books that prove me wrong on this, for sure, but it’s a weird phenomenon. I don’t get it. Like you said with SOC vs. QOS, what’s the difference? How come one personal hype was different from another? I don’t know the answer so this all probably pointless, but you are NOT ALONE!

  7. Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    I’m sorry to see that you didn’t love it as much as you thought it would, but I totally get the whole hyping it up too much thing. That happens to me allllll the time. If I love an author I will get excited about anything they write, and that does not always work out in my favor. Another thing I’ve noticed I do is hype up a book so much that I convince myself I like it way more than I actually did, and then I’ll look back on it later and realize it wasn’t as great as I thought it was. But you’re right–it’s such a beautiful thing to get excited about books, so I really wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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