Six of Crows is a clever, gritty novel set in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. A spinoff of Bardugo’s debut YA trilogy Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows gives us a wily street gang, clever cons, and a seemingly impossible heist. Kaz Brekker is the kind of antihero that keeps readers on their toes. If the Netflix TV adaption has left you craving more, here’s a list of similar stories with more magic, thievery, and quirky characters…
1. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
Kell is an ambassador for Red London who smuggles magical artifacts on the sly. He is also one of the last “Antari,” magicians with the ability to travel between parallel worlds. When one of his deals ends in trouble, he escapes to Grey London and crosses paths with clever thief Delilah Bard. Cue the witty banter as Kell and Lila team up to confront a dangerous magic threatening the precarious peace between Londons. With his sharp mind and practical, businesslike attitude, Kell is a character who would make even “Dirtyhands” Kaz Brekker proud.
2. Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn is the first novel in an epic fantasy series about the struggle between an enslaved people, the Skaa, and the evil Lord Ruler who has oppressed them for a thousand years. Enter Kelsier, a Mistborn with rare power who is a key player in the rebellion to unseat the Lord Ruler. Alongside Vin, his protegee, and a criminal crew of “allomancers” who burn metals to activate magic, Kelsier embarks on a high-stakes adventure. Brandon Sanderson weaves a classic story of good versus evil, with a unique system of magic and an unpredictable plot.
3. The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Sargent is not a psychic like her mother, but she amplifies psychic gifts like a battery. Even so, she shouldn’t be able to see the spirits who walk the “corpse road” on St. Mark’s Eve. So when she sees the spirit of a soon-to-be-dead teenage boy, she becomes irrevocably linked to the privileged and charismatic Richard Gansey III. He is a “Raven Boy,” one of the wealthy students at the local private school. Despite herself, Blue is pulled into Gansey’s quest to find the tomb of the legendary, long-lost Welsh king Glendower. Blue, Gansey, and his best friends Ronan and Adam are a “found family” like Kaz and the Dregs. Though The Raven Boys gives us multiple intriguing mysteries to unravel, it’s the characters and their motives that draw you in.
4. Heist Society, by Ally Carter
Katarina Bishop comes from a notorious family of con artists. Though she, too, is a talented thief, she chooses to leave that life behind. That is until a dangerous mobster accuses her father of stealing priceless paintings from his personal collection. Determined to clear his name, there is only one thing for Kat to do–catch the real thief and steal the paintings back. Heist Society is a mischievous YA contemporary that gives readers a glimpse into the glamorous and often dangerous world of art theft and clever forgeries. Like Kaz Brekker, Kat assembles an unlikely crew to pull off a daring heist.
5. The Young Elites, by Marie Lu
Adelina is a “malfetto,” an abomination scarred by the deadly blood fever that swept through the nation 10 years ago. Little does she know, the illness has also left her with a dark, unnatural gift. Survivors with power like hers are called the “Young Elites.” She is hunted by the Inquisition Axis and admired by the rebellious Dagger Society, but all Adelina wants is freedom. In this fast-paced tale, Marie Lu gives us another fierce antihero fueled by a dark past and a desire for vengeance. You’re not quite sure whether to condemn Adelina or root for her, but nevertheless, her journey is one you won’t want to miss.
6. The Gilded Wolves, by Roshani Chokshi
In this lush YA fantasy set in 1889 Paris, the Order of Babel governs the Houses of France led by powerful families with the gift of creation, called “forging.” Severin is a wealthy hotelier, a talented thief, and a thorn in the Order’s side. In exchange for his rightful inheritance, he agrees to hunt down a long-lost, powerful artifact on behalf of the Order. Like Kaz, Severin is a scheming con artist motivated by his thirst for revenge. He assembles a crew of equally talented outcasts, and together, they embark on a dangerous mission to recover the artifact. The Gilded Wolves gives us dangerous magic, a diverse cast of characters, and a treasure hunt with clever twists and turns.
7. Nocturna, by Maya Motayne
Finn is a “faceshifter” who uses her shapeshifting magic to become a better thief. When she’s caught by a powerful mobster, he threatens to rob her of her magic unless she agrees to steal a treasure from the royal palace. This is how Finn crosses paths with Prince Alfehr, who hopes to use magic to bring his brother back from the dead. Together, they accidentally unleash an ancient power that threatens their world as they know it. There are disguises, heists, and close calls. Nocturna is a fast-paced adventure set in an enchanting Latin American inspired fantasy world.
8. The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner
Gen is a thief locked away in the king’s prison. He’s given a chance to earn his freedom when the king’s scholar, the magus, asks him to help recover a legendary treasure. Gen is snarky and crass, but not to be underestimated as he manages to stay one step ahead of the magus on their rocky journey. Megan Whalen Turner gives us a clever thief, political intrigue, and a twisty treasure hunt in this YA fantasy. Books like The Thief and Six of Crows remind us that there’s more to a true page-turner than unrelenting action.