why the Six of Crows duology is good
a list for people who have not read it, by someone who adores it
canon disabled characters. yes, that's right. characters. more than one.
a fat main character, known for her flirtatious nature and beauty, and never brought down because of it!
chronic pain rep!
seriously!! two disabled main characters!
an ADHD main character
good rep of trauma (of all sorts) and its effects
and also PTSD
(one of the two characters has dyslexia. the other has a break that never healed and uses a cane!)
G A Y
literal found family.
make that found CRIME family!!
interracial relationships (two!!!)
really, really good character development!
death to the "I can fix him" trope
heists. so many good heists.
*TWO* DISABLED MAIN CHARACTERS, GUYS
the six main characters are all incredibly likable in their own ways
In conclusion: there is something for everyone in this duology. Please read it!
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Books That Will Ruin Your Life
(trigger warnings under the cut)
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
This book, which is about 800 pages long, is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read. It follows four friends after they move to New York City and pursue their goals, but most of the story focuses on one of the men: Jude St. Francis, who has a mysterious past that has wrecked him emotionally and physically. But despite the darkness of the subject matter (and it gets DARK) the acts of love and kindness and friendship from the people in Jude's life will bring you to tears. It’s a gorgeous study of trauma, human relationships, and the marriage of joy and pain that inevitably comes with living. I read it two months ago and have thought about it every day since. It’s one of those books you want everyone to read and no one to read. (DEFINITELY check out the trigger warnings for this one.)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson
This book is a sprawling political fantasy, packed with detail and diversity and some of the best, most complex worldbuilding I've ever seen. Baru grows up under the shadow of imperialism and eventually joins a rebellion to break free of the empire that has begun to take over the world. She's also a lesbian, which is forbidden in the new empire, but against herself is drawn to the enigmatic Duchess Tain Hu. There are devastating twists, loves, and heartbreaks that will break your heart along with Baru's. To say anything else would be a spoiler, but if you like complex, morally ambiguous fantasy, check this one out.
As Meat Loves Salt, by Maria McCan
This book follows a man named Jacob as he slowly falls in love with a fellow soldier during the seventeenth century English Revolution. After the war, they attempt to establish a utopian farming commune and keep their relationship together. This book is a really interesting foray into 17th century England, but it is ultimately a dark, passionate tale of obsession and vindication that will leave you as sick with the actions of the protagonist as he is with himself.
The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara
This book is written as a memoir of a disgraced scientist, who discovers a hidden tribe in a small Pacific island that he believes holds the key to a longer (and even immortal) life. You almost forget that the events of the book are fiction and not a real memoir--everything described seems meticulously researched and vividly real. As always, Yanagihara’s writing is gorgeous, absorbing, and well-paced. It's a haunting tale of how science, hubris, and greed can lead to someone's personal downfall, as well as colonialism and cultural genocide.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
You might have already heard of this one, but I had to put it on the list anyway! After a traumatic accident kills Theo Decker's mother, his life is thrown into turbulence and eventual crime, all stemming from a stolen painting. The story is tense, beautifully written, and will make you root for yet another morally gray narrator. For fans of dark thrillers, art history, homoerotic friendship, and/or coming-of-age stories, this one is for you.
Daytripper, by Fàbio Moon and Gabriel Bà
Although Daytripper is a graphic novel, it deserves a spot on this list. It follows Bràs, a Brazilian writer, and his journey through specific turning points in his life, each represented as a "death." The art is gorgeous and the story flows impeccably, capturing the beautiful mundanities and joys of life. This book will leave you touched, inspired, and deeply affected.
The Vintner's Luck, by Elizabeth Knox
After a vintner saves his life, an angel named Xas visits him every year for a single night. As the vintner grows, so does their relationship, just like a fine vintage. It's difficult to say too much about the plot without spoiling the story, but I can say that this book explores the nuances of human relationships and the love we feel for each other, as well as the hate and fear that can pervade those relationships.
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is one of the greatest American novelists and Beloved is my favorite of her works. The book follows Sethe, an ex-slave, and her daughter Denver as they reckon with a ghost from Sethe's past that begins to haunt them more literally than metaphorically. The story is both captivating and difficult to read, but Morrison's writing is gorgeous and the characters come to life on the page. It superbly explores the depth of trauma and motherhood, as well as depicting the horrors of slavery in a way that doesn't feel cartoonish or exploitative.
Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng’s work has gotten a lot of hype recently, and for good reason. This book follows a family after the middle child, Lydia, drowns. We see the buildup to Lydia’s death and its brutal aftermath, as relationships are challenged within the family. It’s a brilliant look at familial dysfunction, generational curses, and interracial marriage in 1970s America, and a deeply haunting portrayal of how these issues can tear apart a family.
A Little Life: graphic self harm, suicide/suicidal thoughts, graphic child sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, child physical and emotional abuse, disordered eating, forced prostitution of a minor, discrimination against disabled characters, PTSD, drug abuse/addiction, child death, mental instability, emotional manipulation, gaslighting.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant: homophobia, eugenics, violence.
As Meat Loves Salt: rape, domestic violence, physical violence.
The People in the Trees: child sexual assault, child physical and emotional abuse, suicide, cultural genocide, animal abuse.
The Goldfinch: substance abuse, underage drinking and drug abuse, suicidal behaviors/attempts, age gap relationship, child neglect and abuse, violence, racial slurs, casual racism.
Daytripper: suicide, graphic self-harm, graphic violence.
Beloved: racism, slavery, child death, graphic violence.
Everything I Never Told You: child death, racism, xenophobia.
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