Six of Crows Literary Elements

Six of Crows Literary Elements


Fantasy, adventure, young adult.

Setting and Context

The city of Ketterdam, a slum city filled with crime lords, and the Ice Court, a notorious prison. The world is fictional, but the atmosphere is reminiscent of 18th century Europe.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is told through a third-person omniscient narrative that follows the six main characters.

Tone and Mood

The tone is mostly suspenseful, with an air of action and mystery. At times it changes to be much more lighthearted.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The six members of the Dregs-Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, Nina Zenik, Matthias Helvar, Jesper Fahey and Wylan Van Eck- all act as the protagonists of the novel, as they share the narration and each contribute to the plot. The antagonists are Jarl Brum, who commands the Ice Court and tries to prevent the characters from rescuing Bo Yul-Bayur, and eventually Van Eck, who double-crosses the Dregs at the end of the novel.

Major Conflict

The Dregs must infiltrate the Ice Court, an impenetrable prison, to save Bo Yul-Bayur, who has been imprisoned. He is the inventor of a drug called jurda parem that can give Grisha exceptional powers, and that drug must be secured before it lands in the wrong hands.


The climax occurs when Van Eck double-crosses the Dregs, revealing that he only sent them on the rescue mission to gain the formula for jurda parem for himself and sell it for profit.


When Wylan tells Jesper that he prefers numbers and equations to words, he foreshadows that he doesn’t know how to read.
Jesper’s extreme skill with guns foreshadows that he actually has magical abilities and is secretly a Grisha.


“I’m a businessman.” –pg. 23
While Kaz does conduct business activities, he is much more than a traditional businessman- he is a crime lord known for beating, killing and threatening people who don’t give him what he wants, and the deals that he conducts are nontraditional, from the trading of illicit substances to tracking down people who are behind on their gambling debt.
“We won’t have a problem with Fifth Harbor again.” –pg. 63
Kaz solved the problem with Fifth Harbor by threatening several enemy gang members and beating the others; he explains the situation very simply when recounting the experience to Per Haskell.
“The brain is just another organ.” –pg. 76
The brain is easily the most complex organ in the body, and is responsible for every one of the body’s functions.


The crow motif- the name of the gambling den, the crow carving on Kaz’s cane- alludes to the traditional association of crows to death. The dregs bring death and destruction on the Ice Court.


“Huge alabaster vases overflowed with more white roses, and men and women- some masked or veiled, some with faces bare- waited on ivory couches, sipping near-colorless wine and nibbling little vanilla cakes soaked in almond liqueur.” –pg. 73
This description brings to mind images of a clean, white room, in stark contrast with the location's purpose- the building is a brothel.


Matthias was part of an army that prosecuted and burned innocent Grisha in Fjerda, but he believes that Nina is a monster for simply having been born with magical powers.

Fjerda is a country that is covered and snow and is notorious for its cold temperatures, but when Grisha are found and executed, they are burned alive.


A year before the start of the novel, Nina tells a ship of traders that Matthias is a slaver so that he can be sent to prison and avoid a potentially worse fate. At the end of the novel, Nina once again makes a difficult decision to save the rest of the crew- she swallows the jurda parem to amplify her powers and defeat the Fjerdan guards that are attacking them.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Synecdoche: "The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true." -pg. 135
The heart is a synecdoche for a person's love and affection.
Metonymy: “Though, if the Black Tips thought tricks like this would keep the Wraith from her goal, they were sadly mistaken.” –pg. 20
Individual members of the Black Tips, not the entire gang as a being, were responsible for the traps placed to stop Inej from arriving at the meeting place.


“The Ketterdam weather was not cooperating.” –pg. 3
Weather is not a sentient being that can cooperate with a situation.

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