Six of Crows Duology: Incorporating Culture

Justice and Writeousness

There’s tons of buzz about diversity in today’s books. Whether you think this is needed or not, you would probably agree that characters should be different from each other. After all, no one wants a cast that’s exactly alike.

The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo is pretty diverse, in the popular sense of the word (including disabilities!), but something that really stood out to me was the diversity in culture.

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Six of Crows: Multiple Points of View (Pt. 2)

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Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo, is a super fun YA fantasy heist book. It’s about six teenagers and their attempt to infiltrate the most secure prison in the known world: the Ice Court. If they succeed, they’ll be rich for life. If they fail, they die.

Let’s be clear here: I loved this book. There’s lots of great things about it, including the surprisingly fresh characters and the multiple cultures and settings. However, it definitely falls short in some areas, including handling multiple points of view.

(Spoilers ahead)

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Salt to the Sea: Multiple Points of View (Pt. 1)

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Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, is a phenomenal YA historical fiction book. It follows four young adults from different countries during World War II as their paths converge to the fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff.

In 1945 the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff sank in the Baltic Sea (the sea between Sweden and Latvia/Lithuania/Poland/etc.) while carrying around 10,600 passengers and crew. The majority of these were civilian refugees fleeing the approaching Red Army. Up to 9,400 people died, making it the largest loss of life of a single sunk ship, even greater than the Titanic, which is far better known (thanks, Wikipedia!).

Salt to the Sea‘s four main characters end up on this doomed boat as they flee from their past. (Spoilers ahead)

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Basing a Main Character On Yourself: An Alternative Perspective

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I see tons of posts about how to not write a main character like yourself. They’re full of great tips, but I have to wonder, is that all necessary?

Certainly, if you’ve written several books, it’s good to switch things up: to force yourself into a new perspective. Don’t give yourself a free ride; you’re better than that! But for a first story, or a first serious story? Don’t write yourself off as an amazing character.

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