This week was National Teen Read Week and to kick it off, the South Dakota Library Association opened voting for South Dakota's YARP (Young Adult Reading Program) books. Some people may think that young adult books are just for kids, they must be simple books, that the books have nothing for adults. You couldn't be further from the truth. YA books may have characters that are the younger, but the action, the decisions, the complexities that they struggle with are something all ages can relate.
One of the books on the YARP list for high schoolers is Six of Crows by Leigh Burdargo. The main character is Kaz Brekker that is already a criminal mastermind. He gets offered an opportunity to break into a fortress to bring back a man producing a drug that enhances special powers. To accomplish this task, he gathers up five other people (some who would like to kill each other) and develops a plan to break into the impossible.
The story is set in a world that reminded me of great fantasy books like The Ranger's Apprentice, Wheel of Time, and Fellowship of the Rings. The plot is full of twists and turns as would be expected with a good crime novel. The author is also very deft at mixing in the back ground of the different main characters to allow you to create a picture of who they are without being overtly obvious and allowing for a continued level of mystery even in the end. It was wonderful to see the development of the group as well as the individual characters.
Like any new world, it did take a little bit to begin to understand the rules surrounding the book. At times I did feel that some of the twists were artificial and a few were of the expected variety, but that did not take away from the action and the unique way that the characters sought to deal with it. On the whole, I recommend this book to any one that likes fantasy mixed with action or a good crime book.