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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way Now as enemies gather at his weakened borders the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers forge new alliances and stop a rising threat to the once great Grisha ArmyYet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger threatening to destroy all he has built With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Sualler Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanuish the terrible legacy inside him He will risk everything to save his country and himself But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal


10 thoughts on “King of Scars

  1. says:

    softly from under a pile of blankets what the fuck was that ending?I finished this book and the moment dithered in timorous silence searing and numb It was as though the world was suspended for an intermission waiting until the curtain is lifted and the next act can begin Disbelief came first then surprise Then the full scope of the ending struck me with a pang of deep resentment that this extraordinary inexplicable thing should happenLook I just want it documented somewhere that the fact we're not conferred immediate access to the seuel upon finishing this book is borderline criminal So what’s this book about? The first book in Leigh Bardugo’s Nikolai Duology King of Scars picks up three years after the ending of Ruin and Rising and catapults us into a world beginning to toppleThe Ravkan Civil war is over and the Triumvirate have forestalled carnage at least for a time For against all hope Ravka is mostly intact and still theirs Nikolai Lantsov king of Ravka wants nothing but to let the past fade to push past the ugliness of age old hates and soul warping fears and start a new era Even thoughts of the Darkling and his terrible revenge became lost beneath the placing of one foot before the otherBut with his people being stolen from within his very borders and devious forces conspiring against him Nikolai is too weary for triumph and aware at every moment how uickly it could all go wrong Every day is a new struggle to manage the sulks of princes and the fine glass tempers of kings to yoke adversaries to his purposes and keep them straight in their furrowSoon a grimmer reality gains its hold at once yawning at Nikolai's feet Nikolai hadn’t realized how deep the Darkling’s power had gone inside him hadn’t realized that it was still inside him coiled up ready to lash out in violence and rage No matter what they did he and the Triumvirate couldn’t uproot the raw wretched demon from his soul Instead they held it like a secret between them and it burned like fireTerrified by Ravka’s precariousness its thready breath the Triumvirate settle into the jarring certainty that if they'd hoped to save their countrythey had to save their king firstPeriodically a threat is brewing inside of Fjerda and Nina Zenik now a Ravkan soldier is sent to investigate it With home behind and an uncharted future looming out of the fog too distant to see clearly but coming closer all the same Nina is taunted with phantoms of the beloved dead But if she wanted to save her country she must let the ache of grief and anger lay muted in the back of her mind And even that proves to be easier said than done “This country gets you in the end brother Don’t forget it”“Not us” he said But Dominik was already gone “I’ll do better” Nikolai promised just as he had so many years ago in Mitkin’s classroom “I’ll find a way” Personally I thought King of Scars was absolutely superbUnlike the Six of Crows duology King of Scars is a tale told on a much less heroic scale The plot comes late but it comes naturally and easily I love how we gradually come to notice the strings Bardugo is pulling through the frame and how that kept me completely riveted Time skipped a beat It skipped an unknown number of beats as I drank everything in a dazeBut even than the developing mosaic of Bardugo’s world the tensely escalating threat level and the craftily honed uiet slicing of the understated prose what really pushes King of Scars from very good to great are the deep undercurrents It’s the attention and care that Bardugo pours into her characters their failures their successes their actions in the face of repeated trauma and their responses to the heat and pressures that truly pays off It’s Bardugo’s greatest gift to let the reader breathe life into her characters to create them from whatever bare bone information they've been given Her characters' minds lay open to you and there’s a sense that they'd been stripped down to their essence revealed in all their unspeakable beauty and their unbearable fragility And I absolutely loved it In King of Scars we meet new characters and old characters come into much sharper focus and step whole into the page We even see old villains in new lights our fascination with them takes on a sinister character and we wonder if we can ever really forgive themKing of Scars is mostly told from three different perspectives Nikolai's Zoya's and Nina's So let's talk about them Nikolai Lantsov Why did it matter to him what became of Ravka? Broken needy frustrating Ravka The grand lady The crying child The drowning man who would drag you under rather than be saved This country that took so much and gave nothing back Maybe because he knew that he and his country were the same Nikolai’s throne dwells within a lie; it is built on a foundation of uicksand He is a bastard but he wears his family name as a mantle of responsibility not a cloak of entitlement For so long he’d hung onto that filament of purpose—serving his country—and that purpose had been like a rope thrown into a sea saving him from drowningBut what happens in this version of the world in which he suddenly became hero and monster in one?Nikolai has a way of wearing everything on the inside showing no hint of anything but exuberant charm and smiles He wore many guises—“the obedient son the feckless rogue the able soldier the confident politician” —and he himself would tell you to trust none of them But those who mistake him for anything other than a weapon are fools of their own breed With his truths and with his lies Nikolai had turned one wheel against another against another and in due course so many stubborn wills were harnessed again and again to his purpose And it was interesting to note how Nikolai has never granted himself leniency on that account or any other he despises his endless ambition and his self serving streak He admits that it’s “the height of arrogance” that he’d imagine his rule over Ravka as a fist clenching a tangle of threads and if he opened it the threads would slip freeIn so many ways King of Scars is the story of Nikolai confronting the worst aspects of himself in an unsettlingly literal sort of way Used to his own unthinking endurance Nikolai now has to contend with the weakness We see past his blooming youth to all the messy details of life that he trailed behind him every day We see the scarred king tired beyond endurance fighting against the windmills of adversity in a lonely battle We see the man who might have filled the place at the center of himself with the answer to who he was since he’d become king but who had lost so much We see a puppet with one string remaining one hard kick and he could shrug off the earth’s bonds and reach the roof Nikolai Lantsov has his own arsenal of horrors; the dark thing sheltered inside him was the least of itThere’s something so startlingly recognizable about Nikolai’s inner battles I was still turning it over in my head when my best friend—with whom I buddy read this book—called it “a lowkey metaphor for depression” And it was exactly what was needed to shine a light on the jumble of thoughts whirring inside my mind and make it gleam I then realized that the only difference is that Nikolai’s darkness took the shape of a demon It coalesced black of skin fire eyed and huge And what teeth it had what a howl And Nikolai too could only make war with it War with the impossible War with the monstrous thing seething within him Every single dayChapter 30 in particular held my heart paralyzed within my chest We read as Nikolai engages in a conversation with the demon that’s taken hold inside him and there was this moment when he knew with stark clarity that the vicious words the monster hurled at him did not come from it but from his own innermost self guilt poisoned anxiety ridden and fear ravaged—the fear that had been with him ever since he had words to put around it that he would never be enough that the country he loved so dearly would never love him back that he was nothing than a leftover piece of something broken It was so immensely arresting to read that chapter and witness as his thoughts curved and rose gradually widening until Nikolai is emboldened by the luculent realization that “ he would never ever turn his back on a wounded man—even if that man was him” That line struck a deep chord inside me and I had to stop and let it really sink in I honestly think there’s nothing that could capture the essence of Nikolai’s character accurately than that single truth flayed and freely given Nikolai had always understood that he and Ravka were the same He just hadn’t understood how He was not the crying child or even the drowning man He was the forever soldier eternally at war unable to ever lay down his arms and heal Zoya Nazyalensky Zoya’s character is so fascinating to me She’s a goddess cinched to human shape and I am in awe of herBardugo doesn’t shy away from the painful realities of those who have been hurt and abused by the Darkling And Zoya is one of them Zoya was a weapon in the Darkling’s grip a tool of vengeance and a sop to his pride She like many others was as clay in his hands and he’d poisoned her faculties for trust and love until they were so tangled with hate and guilt and shame that she hardly knew one from the otherZoya survived her abuser she's come so far only to behold the most wretched thing the Darkling's followers in their inexpiable ignorance or perhaps worse their cold indifference have built a monument to his crimes the crimes Zoya had suffered and declared him a saintly soul This isn’t a mere tragic backstory Knock down the magical elements and there are real important issues here foremost among which is how we often reward violence with exultation instead of making sure the abusers' names remain forgotten Who would speak for Liliyana for Genya and Alina and Baghra if she did not? Who will speak for me? Zoya asksIt was also heartrending to see how Zoya begun to wield her cynicism and irony as shields to protect her softer feelings The kinder said she was cruel But others spoke of someone with only witchcraft in her veins and no warmth The you spend time inside her thoughts you realize that the thing to which Zoya assigned the name of “rage”—and only rage—was not actually that It was only the mask it wore because fear was weakness and Zoya had sworn to never again be weakThis clever illuminating contrast between the girl we meet—and not entirely warm up to—in The Grisha Trilogy and the woman Zoya has become in the wake of tragedy is deeply arresting “Zoya of the lost city Zoya of the garden Zoya bleeding in the snow You are strong enough to survive the fall” Zoya also offers a very interesting counterpart to Nikolai’s character Both of them kept their minds captive at the surface only very rarely allowing it to sink into the terrifying and unknowable deep But even when their innermost thoughts stayed hidden from each other they still noticed the weight of the secrets the other carried even if they didn’t know the shape of the secret itself I loved their dynamics so much How they became inseparable like the lines of a couplet that would lose their grip on their meaning out of context I love how they had this unspoken agreement to not bullshit each other to never back pedal or soften or sugarcoat I honestly ship them so much and I can’t wait for them to realize that her suffering and Nikolai’s tangled together could actually somehow countervail each other Nina Zenik There are some people you’re always going to be a little bit in love with Your high school sweetheart your college sweet heart Nina Zenik the first partner you live with Just accept that it’s totally normal and go on with your lifeFirst of all Crooked Kingdom’s ending still brings the taste of tears and King of Scars returned me to the sharp angles of that pain within the first few pages I cried so much reading Nina’s chapters utterly incapable of not feeling the tremors of the uaking grief within herNina Zenik is still the same Nina—and she isn’t She is still the fiercely defiantly alive Nina whose heart beat on the edge—the girl who blows up the door when she can’t find the key But if you’d met Nina in Six of Crows you’d notice how the sunnier parts of her were still lodged in the crease of her first heartbreak I was struck by the idea that soft people can become dangerous when you destroy the things they hold dearest Nina has been through so much and from those leftover shreds of her the little pile of tatters poured forth an ocean’s worth of grief and sorrow and anger And my heart hurt for her because everything she did in this book she did through a haze of traumaHowever King of Scars doesn’t end on a grim and dreary note for Nina I was left with a hopeful sensation in my heart as a stirring of embers And still as in love with Nina as I was when she was told it was unnatural for women to fight and replied “it's not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall and yet there you stand” Also I’m definitely here for the momentous thing slowly but surely taking shape between her and a certain someoneOverall I really enjoyed this one


  2. says:

    Updated with my opinions on the End Spoilers are hidden within a spoiler tagHello all and meet my ghost who is currently writing this reviewFirst of all I think there will be plenty of people who are not thrilled with the end but I am LIVING for it and I'll list my reasons at the bottom of this review under the spoiler tag However I did have some issues like the pacing and I'll talk about them below but overall ueen Leigh is so freaking brilliant I am in utter and complete shock I had to reread the last chunk about 10 times before the ending sunk in I screamed my throat raw scared my cat and practically passed outFirst of all an absolute massive standing ovation to Lauren Fortgang who narrated this book on audio and blessed me with her talent I absolutely 10000% recommend the audio version – and this goes for the original trilogy too which she also narrated The audiobooks are outstanding Yes I am unhealthily obsessed and Lauren if you read this I am sorryThat also leads me to my next point – you DEFINITELY need to read the original trilogy Shadow and Bone before reading this – which is legit one of my all time favorite series I also recommend reading Six of Crows because a main character and massive spoilers are in this book for her Basically please read through all the Grishaverse books You won’t regret it and if you don’t you will be spoiled for all of themAlright back to this barely coherent reviewI love everything about my precious son Nikolai and like always he is absolute perfection I've been BEGGING for this book for the longest time But I definitely had some issues with parts of the book – mostly about certain plot points that had me scratching my head a bit Some parts were slow Now that I’m finished I think some of those bits are growing on me but I gotta say sadly that I found myself a bit bored at times below But listen Leigh is my favorite author I freaking adore everything she writes Her worldbuilding is absolutely astounding and her characters are just I can’t I love them So that paired with the ENDING THAT KILLED ME is the reason I am rating this five stars ueen Leigh deserves nothing less I admire her endlessly I think I'll enjoy this even the second time around especially now that I know what she was building towards “One risks looking less like a monarch and like a hostage” “You have emissaries to manage these matters of state” Zoya had argued “ambassadors underlings” “The public may forget how handsome I am” Let's break it downNina This is where I had a hard time I love her I REALLY do – so much She’s hysterical and super relatable not to mention a great role model for girls She's the friend I wish I had growing up But I found myself dozing off during her chapters I’m not going to say much since we’re right at the release but she’s away from Nikolai co on some mission in Fjerda and it seemed to drag and drag I was so excited to see her interact with my crew Genya David Zoya etc but alas she’s occupied Don’t get me wrong she has some great moments – and some teary ones for sure especially if you know the ending of Crooked Kingdom she’s still dealing with this But I just didn’t love her chapters That being said I’m 1000% stoked to see the moments I craved in the seuelNikolaiMy golden son I said it above but he’s perfection He’s witty clever smart mouthed in the best way and all around charming as usual Belt up those pants friends otherwise he’ll charm them right off If you’ve followed his story you know what happened to him in RR so obviously he’s dealing with that – as a major plot point of this book ueue Britt sobbing into her tea What made me the most sad though was for a book titled King of Scars I feel like we didn’t get ENOUGH of him He didn’t have that many POV chapters and it felt like Zoya's book tbh But even still he’s a freaking badass and always manages to steal the show The two clever fox I knew this and he STILL shocked me out of my seat than once And the end? bites fist zips lips before I explode Ahhhghghghgh on this lowerZoya I like her but I haven’t fallen in love with her I will say this though – she grew on me a lot and Leigh wrote her character arc beautifully In fact that's the focus of her chapters we find out so much about her past and what really went on from her perspective during the Grisha Trilogy All that and she had some truly fantastic moments I loved the banter between her and Nikolai Now I know some of you are wondering about the ships so I’m going to post my thoughts in the spoiler tag view spoiler Alright so yes she and Niko are flirting a good chunk of the book I knew this going in but I’m not sure how I feel about it It feels a TAD forced But listen Leigh has never disappointed me before and this book certainly isn’t all about me she can write what she wants – so I’m trying to keep an open mind Basically I just want our dearest King to be happy He deserves it so much hide spoiler


  3. says:

    “Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings It’s how we survive each day We pretend the pain isn’t there that we are made of scars instead of wounds” Oh friends it has been a long while since I read the concluding events in Ruin and Rising Honestly? I probably really would have benefited from doing a reread Yet I will be the first to admit that I was complete Darkling trash back in the day and I have grown a lot as a person and realized that he is someone that shouldn’t be romanticized but I was so damn hyped for this story and to see how the people of Ravka are doing after that final battle and living under a brand new king And I can’t believe I’m saying this but I was truly let down Also I want to emphasize that a three star rating isn’t a bad rating I still enjoyed this and I loved seeing some of the character that I love with my whole heart and soul and also falling in love with a new character too But this was just so ungodly slow for the first half which is something I’ve never felt while reading anything by Leigh before I know that we had a lot of be caught up on but I just couldn’t immerse myself into the world or story until after the halfway point I really recommend that you don’t read King of Scars or this review honestly if you have not read all the other books in the Grishaverse But as a uick recap before I get into my thoughts and feelings People are still fearful of Grisha and are capturing and killing them regularly Grisha are also still becoming addicted to jurda parem and many different variations of it which enhances their powers but at a cost “The books do not tell the whole story” And this story is told in many points of views but there are pretty much only three locations that this story takes place until they will hopefully all weave back together Zoya and Nikolai are off with a new character trying to discover what lives inside Nikolai Meanwhile back at the palace family friends are teaching a young boy how to impersonate Nikolai himself so no one will know that he is away And then we have Nina off on a completely new mission where she finds out so much about herself and what is happening to Grishas in areas that are still living in fear of themBut this is a story about grief and loss and how living with those two things can impact your life beyond words This is a story about being the person everyone wants you to be while ultimately choosing the person you truly are This is a story about feeling like your life is predicted for you but realizing that you are capable of doing any and everything you want “Call me Grisha Call me zowa Call me death if you like” ➽ Zoya Nazyalensky One of the strongest Grishas ever Sualler of the Etherealki Order and is an incredible fighter and leader She was also the Darkling’s favorite but is now my favorite ➽ Genya Safin My second favorite character Genya as the Darkling's gift used to be the servant to the ueen and was treated so very terribly She is much happier now but still is living with the torture that the Darkling inflicted upon her ➽ David Kostyk A very skilled Fabrikator who helped make things to hold amplifiers ➽ Tolya Yul Bataar Tamar Kir Bataar Twin Grishas who own my heart ➽ Isaak The common boy solider who is impersonating Nikolai while he is away I fell so in love with this new character so easily truly ➽ Nina Zenik Heartrender of the Corporalki order who used to be a part of the Dregs in Six of Crows Now on a top secret mission that is about to be jeopardized because of new information Also she is on a mission for herself to finally lay someone to rest at home ➽ Hanne Fjerdan who Nina meets and instantly feels connected with Hanne is just trying to live in a world where every opportunity has been taken from her because she is a daughter and not a son ➽ Leoni Adrik both are Grishas who are accompanying Nina on her new mission ➽ Yuri A monk who is with Nikolai and Zoya who is also one of the leaders of Cult of the Starless who worship the Darkling ➽ Nikolai Lantsov The current King of Ravka who is expected to marry and produce an heir because so many foes are looking to overtake him But he is dealing with the torture that the Darkling has left in his body “A handsome monster husband who put a crown on her head? It’s a perfect fairy tale to sell to some starry eyed girl She can lock you in at night and kiss you sweetly in the morning and Ravka will be secure” Nikolai’s monster is something that no one really knows how to control but he is constantly being drawn to The Shadow Fold which was the breeding ground of unspeakable shadow horrors and where the Darkling harnessed so very much of his immense power We are also introduced to three new characters that I’m not going to really talk about because of spoilers but they were amazing I loved learning about amplifiers since there are so few people who have had them in this world and seeing the power that they bring is pretty intense and such a cool development in this story Again without saying too much I loved all the scenes involving The Fold “We are all connected King Nikolai The Grisha the Fold the power inside you The Fold is a wound that may never heal But perhaps it was not meant to” But chapter twenty five is the best chapter in this entire book and that’s because Zoya is the best character in this book Like I get that it is called King of Scars but this book was way about Zoya and her beautiful story and everything that she has overcome than Nikolai’s Especially since this book also spends half of the time focusing on Nina and what she is up to on her mission I just feel like this is not Nikolai's book; it was half Zoya’s and half Nina’s Which is fine I’m not saying I disliked that I just feel like it was a weird flex because going in you expect it to be all things Nikolai and it really couldn’t be further from the truth Plus it really doesn’t feel like his character progressed all that much either where Zoya and Nina both had tremendously big events happen that will alter their future and the very future of Ravka Okay but now I’m going to say the thing that’s probably going to make you all dislike this review but I don’t really ship Nikolai and Zoya together Like I think the story would have been way powerful if they were just friends But this weird romance is laced throughout the story even though there is no confirmation or reward or actual romance it just felt weird to read Especially with that annoying ending I don’t know I just really don’t ship them together yet but I probably will eventually And I totally would have shipped them if we would have gotten of them actually starting a romance instead of us just being like “okay yeah this is totally the direction that Leigh is leading us” Plus that ending? I really don't want another unnecessary love triangle And I want this review to be spoiler free so I’m not going to go into details but you’re either going to love or hate the ending And friends I for sure hated it One of my favorite things in literature is when a spin off series comes out and the overarching threat is the ramifications of the what happened to that book’s conclusion andor villain Having a cult that views the Darkling as a saint and worships him? That was the setup of my dreams friends And the ending just felt like such a cop out and made me so angry and it really left such a disappointing taste in my mouth “All fuels burn differently Some faster some hotter Hate is one kind of fuel But hate that began as devotion? That makes for another kind of flame” Overall I just didn’t love this the way that I truly anticipated that I would Maybe I hyped it too much? Maybe I shouldn’t have reread The Wicked King right before starting this? Maybe I’m just being salty over the Darkling? I don’t know friends but this let me down I am highly anticipating what will come with the next book and I hope to have a much higher rating and happier review Also Ninth House is going to be everything and I still cannot wait for that 2019 release Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch Content and trigger warnings for drug addiction loss of a loved one grief depiction captivity slavery implied past sexual assault numerous times numerous characters torture bullying fatphobic comments always in a negative light mention of past death of a baby attempted pedophilia suicide and war themes 1 Shadow and Bone ★★★★★2 Siege and Storm ★★★3 Ruin and Rising ★★1 Six of Crows ★★★★2 Crooked Kingdom ★★★★★ The Language of Thorns ★★★★★


  4. says:

    He straightened the lapels of his velvet coat and winked “It’s not exciting if nothing can go wrong” I feel really disappointed that King of Scars one of my most anticipated books of 2019 was only a 3 star read for me I'm not sure if I'm being harsh or generous honestly It wasn't a bad book Bardugo keeps growing as a writer and she especially shines with her dialogue I liked the characters and relationship dynamics; I loved the funny snarky conversations; I just felt like this book was so slow in parts 500 pages is on the heftier side for a YA book and I felt the drag of most of themSix of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are great books in my opinion I love the heisting and shenanigans I think they're really tightly plotted and I can 100% understand what I'm reading for Here the plot meandered Nikolai's efforts to rid himself of his monster seemed to get lost somewhere and Nina's mission to find grisha felt open ended and directionless it reminded me of Mare's journey in Glass Sword which I really dislikedThere's a real lack of focus for a lot of this book Romance is minimal which is usually a good thing but here it might have added a much needed hook I didn't feel like either Nikolai's or Nina's stories provided a significant conflict or mystery until the very end I was also bored by Isaak's chaptersI started King of Scars on such a high convinced I would love it 100 pages in I made a note saying not much has happened 200 pages in I made another note saying lots of Grishaverse recap and flashbacks; little plot progression It's a very long time until the story really goes anywhereThis all sounds really negative but it was saved somewhat by how much I enjoy this world and the characters Zoya is especially interesting Unlike some I uite liked the ending and I'm intrigued by the possible romantic directions the seuels could take If only this book didn't feel like one very long prologueBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube


  5. says:

    tea got spilled facts got spokenwe're all shook now


  6. says:

    “Lesser animals whined and struggled when they’d been caught in a snare The fox found a way out” I clambered for this book I read the preview chapters the instant they came out and raged when my Book Depository preorder didn't arrive on the release day Y U do this to me every time BD? I thought we were tightJust a note this book is not very accessible to readers new to the Grishaverse I guarantee you’ll be confused Six of Crows was accessible because it featured a new location and entirely new characters King of Scars has lots of references to previous seriesIf I had to sum up King of Scars in a single word it would be meandering Six of Crows is superb suspenseful tight plotting King of Scars feels underconceptualized as if Bardugo simply wanted to write a book about Nikolai but didn't have enough meat for a fully realized plot Nikolai's chapters were actually underwhelming The humor I fell in love with back in the original trilogy didn't land nearly as well and his character arc though satisfying seems typical and one note With that being said I did enjoy learning about his past We see him grow from idolizing Vasily to realizing his brother is not the king Ravka needs He befriends a common soldier on the front and that shapes him into the kind witty privateer Alina meets It is Zoya who really steals the show I maintain she was originally was meant to be a two dimensional Mean Girl but Bardugo does a fine job in adding depth to her character without making it appear forced Her petty cruelty in Shadow Bone is explained by her being young and arrogant and a desire to test her beauty on men We all do stupid things when we're teenagers Coming back to Zoya a few years later feels right like rereading your old fanfiction bio shudders and comparing it to the person you are now We also get a concrete reason for why Zoya abandoned the Darkling to side with Alina back Her character arc is beautiful and far potent than Nikolai's imoNina's a bit of an outlier here She's deep undercover in Fjerda with Adrik and Leoni the Grisha girl Jesper's mom saved She's still grieving for Matthias and I admit I slightly teared up when Nina finally lays his body to rest My main complaint is that her primary character development is letting Matthias go and we already knew that was going to happen at the end of Crooked Kingdom Most of what happens during her chapters is simply a long extension of stuff that seems given with minimum surprises There's a fourth POV character called Isaak too I won't say too much about his role in the book except I enjoyed his storyline the most next to Zoya’s view spoilerI’m a sucker for court politics hide spoiler


  7. says:

    Maybe a 45? I need to think about it a bit because wow that ending


  8. says:

    “Nikolai had always understood that he and Ravka were the same He just hadn’t understood how He was not the crying child or even the drowning man He was the forever soldier eternally at war unable to ever lay down his arms and heal Maybe because he knew he and his country were the same” MY SPOILERY DISCUSSION WHICH TALKS ABOUT THIS BOOK MORE IN DEPTH CAN BE FOUND HERE “It was angry hungry full of broken animal longing Though Nikolai might not like it those things were all a part of him still Like calls to like Fair Warning this review is going to have a million uotes because this book was written SO BEAUTIFULLY and Leigh please lend me an OUNCE of your talent I think anyone who is in the YA book community knows just how big a deal this book getting announced was Every single update on Goodreads was people adding or talking about it twitter was going off and speculation and theory videos kept on popping up as and info got announced I was 100% a part of this hype Crooked Kingdom was one of the best books I ever read and that entire duology owns my heart I also actually really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy for its political intrigue expansive world and interesting character who still inspire debate in the community even now Needless to say I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book for uite some time And it kind of failed to live up to my expectations? But it also way surpassed them in some regards?King of Scars splits perspective between three main characters – Zoya Nina and Nikolai There is also other perspectives but I cannot say much without spoiling We follow each after the events of Crooked Kingdom Nikolai and Zoya are trying to protect Ravka from threat from their bordering nations and rally the Grisha to support their country Nina is living in Fjerda under the kings orders to find and protect Grisha but also to fulfil her promise to Matthias to bury him back in his homelandFor me the first part of King of Scars was much stronger than the second The focus on politics in the first half was something I really enjoyed It had the same feel as Grisha but on a international scale I enjoyed that Bardugo kept up the intricacies of international politics established in Six of Crows but brought back original trilogy influences such as the power the church has within state affairs and Nikolai’s precarious position as ruler due to his family lineage The political games and Nikolai trying to control the trajectory of Ravka when faced with great outside threat was easily my favourite aspect of this book If you enjoyed the original trilogy for its political intrigue I think you will definitely like thisNina’s chapters in this were my favourites which I am shocked is apparently an unpopular opinion I don’t want to say too much because you can’t without getting into the spoilery realms but her role and what she was up to especially in the second half WAS THE BEST In Six of Crows Nina talks a lot about being a soldier and a nationalist and her love for Ravka and I think we saw that here I want even in book 2 “Call me Grisha Call me zowa Call me death if you like” Lets talk about characters I actually really enjoyed all three perspectives here Nina as mentioned was a joy and while she wasn’t one of my favourite perspectives in Six of Crows she really won me over in thisNikolai and Zoya were both enjoyable too I have seen criticism that this book didn’t have Nikolai in it that much and I don’t agree? I think he was in it uite a bit although his perspectives were perhaps the weakest Although he was fun to follow and I love him so much AND HE IS STYLISH AND FUNNY AS EVER I also felt we learnt a lot about him His character was definitely given a depth that wasn't there before and I think his inner turmoil regarding Ravka and how he came to identify with Ravka as a solider constntly at war was a really interesting development for him And definitely added a complexity to his character and his role as a king But even though I did enjoy his arc overall and I loved following him but it didn’t hit as hard for me as Nina and Zoya’s perspective I think Zoya especially just had such a strong voice in this and it definitely seemed to overshadow Nikolai at times Despite that I'm not mad about it at all I think Zoya has such a strong narrative in this book it doesn’t matter if Nikolai’s fell down a little She was one of my favourite Grisha characters and I found her backstory really interesting It was so nice to have her perspective on the Civil War and to see her relationship with Nikolai Although I really like Nikolai I was interested in getting back in this world then seeing him particularly so for me this book still worked though if you’re a die hard Nikolai fan I can see why it might not as muchThere was also some romance things going on which I am going to talk about those in my discussion Who would speak for Liliyana for Genya and Alina and Baghra if she did not? Who will speak for me? One final thing want to mention that I LOVED before we get into some issues was the theming and discussions around agency and what makes a villain King of Scars looks a lot at the repercussions of war and how The Darkling impacted each characters life The focus on how the state and states at war treat women as expendable and how each characters trauma is dismissed was something I really enjoyed Zoya’s uest to reclaim and hold on to her agency and Nina’s uest to give voice to victims was something I REALLY LOVED and haven’t seen many people talk about much “Lay down the thorn boy king Haven’t you earned a bit of rest? Aren’t you tired?'He was Saints he was He thought he had grown used to his scars but he had never grasped how much of his will it would take to hide them He had fought and sacrificed and bled He had gone long days without rest and long nights without comfort All for Ravka all for an ideal he would never attain and a country that would never care” Okay lets get into the issues – which for me was the plot pretty much the entire way through part two excluding Nina’s chapters I just didn’t like it For me the plot became kind of too outlandish and I felt the ending was definitely rushed The careful set up and the way Leigh Bardugo had seemed to plot things out with precision really fell apart for me I found everything that happened with the world a bit too wacky I also HATED the ending I cannot say what happened without spoiling but it is one of my most hated tropes ever and I am SICK of books doing it So while I felt I should have been excited for the seuel now I’m kinda just worried I also think the ending does such a disservice to some of her previous works I am going to go much into depth on this in my discussion so stay tunedOverall King of Scars definitely delivered what I was looking for in the majority of the book It was so nice to get back into the Grisha world and catch up with these characters who we haven’t really seen in a long time I thoroughly enjoyed Nina’s plot and the focus on dealing with the conseuences of the civil war that destroyed Ravka Leigh Bardugo is a really strong YA fantasy author and I think I will always enjoy her works However part two did fall apart a bit for me and the ending was something I hate So that definitely detracted from the enjoyment for me Overall though I found this extremely enjoyable and had all the hallmarks of a Bardugo book I love strong characters great worldbuilding excellent political intrigue and lush writing that sucks me right into the world “She wished she had Inej’s gift for spywork or Kaz’s gift for scheming but she only seemed to have Jesper’s gift for bad decisions” OH AND ON THAT NOTE EVERY SIX OF CROWS REFERENCE HAD MY HEART GROWING FIVE SIZES


  9. says:

    “Fear is a phoenix You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return”Do you remember holding this book in your hands for the first time trying not to ruin the glossy golden cover with your unworthy smudgy fingers while you're shaking from anticipation?Well I do Which is why it surprised me that it took me a few chapters until I started enjoying myself But when I did it was a glorious experience I was captivated by the political games the intrigues the miracles and mysteries of the Grishaverse I enjoyed Zoya's and Nikolai's banter but my favourite chapters were definitely Nina's Her journey through the north and her mission to uncover the dark secrets of that little Fjerdan town kept me on my toes It felt like one of those spy novels where the protagonist is left alone in a wintery and bitter cold alpine region only to discover that some monstrous war machine is secretly being developed in a hollow mountain I loved every second of it It felt dangerous and excitingOverall the writing style plot twist and world building are on such a high level that I couldn't not give 5 stars But that doesn't mean that this book was flawless There are a few things that bothered me and the first one is one of my most hated tropes spoilers ahead1 Reviving the already defeated and killed antagonist I mean how would you feel if Voldemort suddenly returned? Or how DID you feel when Harry's scar started itching again in Cursed Child? Not that Cursed Child is anything but fanfiction I refuse to see it as a seuelIt's a cheap trick It's lazy You couldn't create a better enemy so you just take the dead guy and give him a new wardrobe Not with me What makes it even cheaper is that it's the obvious and lazy thing to do Honestly I don't understand why you all swoon over the Darkling and I'm sure you love that he's back but Leigh you can do better than that2 There is too much going on Part II of the books was filled to the brink with magic and plot twist And it was just a tiny bit too much for me to be entirely realistic On the one hand because of what I said in 1 on the other hand because if there is so much that you cannot see coming it loses its credibility So when that female Saint whose name I already forgot turned out to be the big baddie I didn't buy it And when Zoya and that other Saint whose name I also forgot killed each other to create a new amplifier it seemed somewhat overdramatic3 Initially I didn't even think of this criticism but when a friend mentioned to me that he wonders why the book is called King of Scars when Zoya's and Nina's POV overshadow Nikolai's I couldn't help but agree Moreover Nikolai's chapters seem somewhatunneccesary compared to Zoya's While Nina is somewhere in Fjerda Nikolai and Zoya are almost always in the same place at the same time basically telling the same storyNow that I got that off my chest let me just say that I am really looking forward to the seuel I would love to find out about the Shu and their kingdom I also just want to see Jarl Brum destroyed once and for all And I cannot wait for the title and cover reveal I hope we get them soonFind of my books on Instagram


  10. says:

    The time that passesthe I realize that I did not and do not care about this bookI was excited for it for no real reason Not only did I not finish the Grisha trilogy I DNFed the second book one of maybe 7 times I have ever ever done that in my whole life I actually could not even force myself through itI had a passing interest in Nikolai but that’s mostly because everyone on the internet screams about him and there are VERY few things I love than jumping on a bandwagon I wanna be one of the cool kids you guys Let me sit at the popular kids table I can be into the same things you’re intoHere’s the issue The thing that makes Nikolai a good character in the Grisha trilogy is his sassy side character energy He doesn’t have to have a real Serious Character Development Arc because he’s there to be fun and snarky and a royal roguish pirate What a combination So good on paperBut then you give him a whole duology and we have to careee about his internal monologueeee We have to want to know how he feels and why and what Tragic Thing In His Past That Is Always Dad Related is making him act the way he isI don’t care about why sassy side characters are sassy I just need the sass to propel me through a five hundred page high fantasy plotline I only sparingly care aboutThat’s the issue with this whole book It’s an elaborate plot that takes about 250 pages or so to find itself and figure out what the hell is going on and then it gets weirder and confusing but no interesting or fast paced It’s like 500 pages of world building for a world we already know It is difficult to care about this It is even difficult when you do not care about a single one of the charactersI have high standards for Leigh Bardugo characters Maybe that isn’t fair I definitely didn’t give two shts about a single person in the whole Grisha trilogy Grishaverse and in fact craved a brutal death for each and every one of them so I could a be rescued from the crushing monotony of their bratty thoughts and feelings and b actually be interested due to there being a single action packed or exciting moment But I DID love Six of Crows Oh god did I love that gang Well really I loved like three of them which is approximately a 50% success rate which is a failing grade But for ME that’s an A Because never do I ever like three characters in one bookHoweverI didn’t like any of them in this one soThere are like a million characters in this book who are given traits and characterization by which I mean maybe 10 or 15 but they all still feel so boring None of them are my cup of tea If any of them fell off a cliff at any given point in this book or the next my reaction would be “Okay Fine” Not even mild surprise Just acceptanceBecause to reiterate I did not care about this book I did not care about its plot and I did not care about a single characterAnd yes I’ll read the next bookBottom line I D O N ’ T C A R EBut I’ll try to pre reviewthis book has left me a shell of the person i used to bereview to come 25 stars yes i am reading this book and no i haven't read the grisha trilogy it's called living on the edge you should try it sometime me yeah nikolai is ok i guess but the grisha books are garbàgeleigh bardugo announces nikolai duologyme instantly