by Leigh Bardugo
Read by: Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Elizabeth Evans, and Tristan Morris
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Content: There is a lot of violence, some of it on the graphic side. Illusions to prostitution, and two swear words (they stood out). It’s in the YA section (grades 6-8), but I’m glad I read it. It’s probably on par with Hunger Games, so if your kid/you can handle the content of that, this one is probably okay.
I put this one off. I know I did. I know I should have read it last fall when it was Hot and Everyone was reading it. But, I was busy, and I kept putting it off. Until I was in need of a new audio book and I stumbled across this one. I finished it, went into work and declared “So THAT’S what I was missing!” Yeah.
Kaz Brekker has worked his way up in the Dregs — a criminal gang in the island city/nation of Ketterdam — and has a reputation for being brutal and willing to take anything on. So when he’s tasked with springing a scientist out of the most secure prison in the world — the Ice Fortress in Fjerda — of course he accepts. The price is right, after all. He gathers together a crew of six people — ranging from a merchant’s exiled son to a Grisha — and they set out to achieve the impossible. Of course, they don’t get along, there’s a lot of internal mistrust and bickering. And, of course, things go badly. (I was wondering how it was all going to fit in one book. The answer is it does but it doesn’t.)
This was enormous amounts of fun. Perhaps part of that fun was the audio form: there were five different people doing the five different narrators, which helped immensely. I really enjoyed the way each one did the other characters slightly differently as well as the way each actor interpreted their own character. It definitely added something more to the book.
I have to admit that I liked this one better than the Grisha books. For whatever reason, I love heist books, I love books with twists and turns (though some of the twists were unfair; she didn’t give me enough information to see things coming and I was genuinely surprised a couple of times) and this one had both. I came to like the characters — Matthais the Fjorden had the most character growth (I wanted to throttle him in the beginning), but I loved the rest of the crew as well. I liked the diversity — it felt effortless and natural rather than an author just trying to be diverse. Bardugo expanded the narrow world she’d created in the Grisha books, and gave it much more depth, which I absolutely adored.
I’ll most definitely be picking up the next one (maybe even in audio) to see how this adventure ends.