“King of Scars” by Leigh Bardugo #BookReview

Georgia Kostopoulou

 

I’m not exactly sure if I’m mad at myself that I didn’t read this one right when I got it back in 2019, or I’m happy that I waited until Rule of Wolves was in my hands. But I’m glad for my buddy read with Geo and Vaso, the two most amazing girls! I have to say that I literally forced them to finish the most of the second part of the book overnight, after telling them how I felt about that ending! It was a shock, to say the least.

“The monster is me and I am the monster.”
― Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

The fact is that the ending of The Grisha trilogy felt right. The civil war in Ravka has ended. The dark was defeated and the light, the sun, had destroyed the Fold. Now, Ravka may have lost its King and Queen and the heir to the throne, but it has earned a dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, a true patriot that would do anything in his power to end the suffering, end the wars and see Ravka blossom again. The Triumvirate is on his side. They Grisha are Nikolai’s advisors, his allies on the future of Ravka. Zoya Nazyalensky is his general, his most trusted advisor, the keeper of his secrets and the most powerful Grisha in Ravka. Genya Safin and David Kostyk are on his side too, mending to the affairs of the state or working on Nikolai’s ingenious ideas. But the civil war has left the coffers empty and they need new funds in order to strengthen the country and their defense against the foreign enemies that never stopped their plans of taking over Ravka. The Fjerdans from the north and the Shu from the South, never gave up on their goals.

“If men were ashamed when they should be, they’d have no time for anything else.”
― Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

But not all of darkness has receded to the unknown. Some of it, a reminder of the Darkling’s power is hidden within the young king. And this dark magic grows stronger every day, wanting to take over control and threatening to destroy everything that Nikolai has managed to build. It’s a big risk, but believing in his general and having a young monk on his side, he will start on a journey throughout Ravka, on places were new miracles have shown up, trying to find the cure for the monster inside him.

After meeting Nikolai in Siege and Storm I wanted so much to read more about him! He was a magnificent character as a young prince and as the Sturmhond. The intelligent privateer with the pioneering ideas. The boy king that had to fill his father’s shoes, a job that was his older brother’s to take. But after the events of Ruin and Rising it was unclear what would become of him. Now we see that he had a good three years as a king before the monster rises again. Now, he has a bit more responsibilities on his hands, but he always loved his people. He remains his witty, clever and charming self, so he’s not changed a lot. We get to read his point of view, but we read more of Zoya’s to be honest.

“It’s not exciting if nothing can go wrong.”
― Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

Zoya is just amazing in this book. I wasn’t that fond of her in the trilogy, but I have warmed up to her so much in this one. She is strong and fierce and so powerful. We get to learn so much about her past in this book, to understand all that she’s been through, how she ended up in the Little Palace and what the Darkling had meant to her. It now becomes so clear, how she felt when Alina Starkov became the Darkling’s new favourite and I don’t blame her for that. I felt really sorry for what she had to suffer as a child but I was so proud of what she has come to achieve. And by the end of this book, she has became a new favourite character in the Grishaverse for me! A character that I really admire! Also, I soooo ship Zoya and Nikolai! I hope Leigh feels the same and these two end up together!

“Most women suffer thorns for the sake of the flowers, but we who wield power adorn ourselves with flowers to hide the sting of our thorns”
― Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

And then, there was Nina Zenik! The same Nina we met in Six of Crows duology! The amazing red haired Heartrender is acting as a Ravkan spy on enemy territory. She is there for a personal reason apart from her assignment. But she’s Grisha and she will never accept, she will never allow any Grisha suffering. Not is she can help it! She’s a bit changed, but she’s also Nina all the way. I’m afraid I cannot say much more, as I don’t want to spoil it for those that have not read the Six of Crows duology!

“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.”
― Leigh Bardugo, King of Scars

The pace may feel a bit slow to some, but there is a lot at stake and a lot of build up for the next book. So, there was a lot that needed to be put on the table and I expect to be mesmerized by Rule of Wolves. That ending does feel that there’s hell coming on in the next book!

 

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