I don’t know about you, but sometimes I physically groan every time I see a book being described as ‘The NEXT SIX OF CROWS’. It has become apparent that comparing books with bestsellers just doesn’t always work because certain readers who absolutely LOVE Six of Crows (as I do, I’m actually rereading it at the moment) will end up disappointed.
Why would they be disappointed? Because Six of Crows is a heist book with a heist trope that almost every single book or movie or anything that involves a heist has. It pertains to a certain theme that comes with the trope. This includes a gang of unlikely individuals coming together to achieve something, that one surprise romance and subtle tension between a couple within the gang and how these people are all bringing specialised skills to the team to carry out this heist. This ISN’T unique to Six of Crows and while SoC is an exceptional book, it saddens me to see people read other heist books and feel disappointed because of this comparison.
To prove my theory, that not every heist book is the same nor is it constantly trying to copy Six of Crows, I read a bunch of different heist books from very different authors this week to see what I thought about them. Let’s get onto my reviews!
The Gilded Wolves
by Roshani Chokshi
This was absolutely gorgeous! Not just in its intricate cover but its wonderful story. This is the book that kind of inspired me to do this heist-themed read because I heard Thoughts on Tomes recommend this book and also criticise its constant comparison with Six of Crows. Having read it now, I can see the similarities because this world also has magic as well in its premise but overall it knocked the heist trope out of the park for me.
The Gilded Wolves is set in 1889 but in a different world where forging is a thing and history is vastly different because of it. The world seems to go around the mysterious Order of Babel; an organisation that hunts down rare artefacts and treasures and has a significant amount of power and clout because of it. Our gang’s leader, Sevérin, is a French-Algerian that was born from one of the major families in this society but was denied his inheritance. When he happens to get coerced into finding and retrieving a specific artefact that may actually destroy or save the world, he puts together his rag-tag group of associates who work with him at the hotel and goes on the hunt to reclaim his title and his inheritance.
I loved all the characters, the world-building was so interesting and the stakes were most definitely high. There was a lot of diversity, puzzles and secret societies. The relationships were so well written and the multiple character pov’s never once hindered the plot or made things confusing. By halfway through the book, each main character in the group was so distinct and unique with their own multi-faceted histories and personalities that added spark to the overall team. The world itself was so rich and well set-up that it was so easy to fall into and need to read chapter after chapter. The plot twists were actual plot twists that I didn’t really see coming and the ending most definitely changed things. I’m so keen to read the next instalment in this series. I’m so glad I bought this on a whim a few months ago and finally got to see what all the hype was about. Highly recommended!
by M.K. England
This book was one that was sent to me for review a LONG time ago (eek 2018) and one I recently talked about in my posts where I detailed some unsolicited copies I’m super keen to read soon. This was described as a fun, diverse space heist and boy did it definitely deliver. The Disasters is about a few teens who are all rejected at the space station academy they applied for and by luck, manage to survive an attack and be the only witnesses to it. The perfect scapegoats; they must try to evade their enemies and alert Earth and other planets on what really happened while simultaneously saving the world.
I think what was most interesting about this book was that it wasn’t a traditional heist. It involved stealing quite a bit but it never felt like the heist was the one goal and that just added quite a bit of depth to the story. This book was plainly just a lot of fun – it reminded me a lot of Hovercar Racer and the Alex Rider because it was pure fast-paced adventure that wasn’t too serious and wasn’t too complex. Any kid in primary school that would usually read middle grade would 100% love this story and the fact that it had such a young YA writing style made the diversity in this book so much more important.
For young readers to see the representation of a disaster bisexual, people from other cultures of different races, with different religions as main characters were amazing to read. It never felt like they were just put in there to get brownie points either, these characters were so genuine and confident in themselves as who they are. The writing style also reminded me a bit of Maria V Snyder’s Navigating the Stars because it was so colloquial. It was as if Nax, our protagonist, was simply talking to us instead of narrating and the banter and sarcasm really brought out who he was as a character. This was definitely a fun, super quick read that I really enjoyed. I’ll be looking forward to more books by M.K. England for sure.
Ace of Shades
by Amanda Foody
Last but definitely not least, this has to be my absolute favourite from this heist-theme booklist. I also rated this a 5-star because I absolutely LOVED this book. I did not expect to enjoy it so much and it gave me everything I wanted and more. To be quite honest, I was more worried that it was all about card games cause I’m not any good at them but it was not just card games lol.
Ace of Shades is about a young woman called Enne who ventures out to the City of Sin, called New Reynes, to find her adoptive mother with her only clue being one name; Levi Glaisyer. She finds herself in unknown waters without much knowledge or many friends in a dangerous and power-hungry city led by gangs. Levi happens to be a gang lord on the street and trying to pay back some debts and takes her on to find her mother at the price of thousands of volts (a cool electric currency) to pay his enemies back and then some. They both end up on this dangerous quest as Levi’s enemies threaten their lives and more, as the mysterious Shadow Game run by the city’s elite is started up again.
I can’t explain how good this was. It just was. The world-building was something else – it was so vivid and immersive; I loved the brief glimpses into the history of this world that added so much depth and context. It’s not just a world where everybody has 2 talents to their names but it’s one post-revolution where citizens are still fighting over their political beliefs.
Enne and Levi were such great characters and their relationship was written perfectly and this again wasn’t a stereotypical heist because they were looking for someone and it leads them to a lot of action and so much danger. The story was so engaging, mysterious and I honestly don’t know if the City of Sin was supposed to be inspired by Las Vegas but it seriously gave off underbelly England vibes for me.
I can definitely see why this book would disappoint someone when it’s compared to Six of Crows because it was just unique and definitely not what I’d describe it as. There was so much more to this story than the search for Enne’s mother and I’m so freaking excited for the next book! I’ve been told it’s even better than this one and it’s 100% going on my wishlist for me to buy next. Oh, did I forget to mention that the Levi is another bisexual main character? I LOVE the level of representation in YA books I’m reading lately so much.
I am one happy bookworm to have read these books in the last week and it honestly just shows the calibre and breadth of heist books available to us. I feel more excited about heist books and the heist trope in general and will probably be excited to pick up a book compared to Six of Crows in the future – not because it may be similar to SoC but because it will undoubtedly bring much satisfaction and the adventure that SoC did.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on book comparisons for a book’s marketing?
Until next time,