Rating: 4/5 Swords
Warning: Mild Spoilers
King of Scars is book one in Leigh Bardugo’s Nikolai Duology. A tale involving everyone’s favorite privateer, as well as further intertwining the Six of Crows duology and Grisha trilogy, this was probably one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Having seen Nikolai in both of Bardugo’s previous series, it was high time for Nikolai to have his own series, and I wasn’t disappointed.
King of Scars follows three main characters – Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina. Since the war, Nikolai hasn’t been the same. A darkness grows within him everyday, threatening to ruin his beloved yet frail kingdom of Ravka, as well as hurt the ones he loves. Zoya, now a general after the war, is facing her own demons. She feels it her responsibility to protect the king, as well as keep those around him from harm. But Nikolai’s dark power is growing stronger, and with its rise, memories that she’s tried so hard to bury are resurfacing. Nina is struggling in her own way. Far from Ravka, in the bitter cold of Fjerda, she’s on an undercover mission to free Grisha from the clutches of an army who hates them.
Three stories. Three different points of view.
All will change when Nikolai’s demon power proves too great a threat to the throne. Zoya and Nikolai will have to embark on a journey with a dangerous, fanatical monk to find a cure that shouldn’t exist. And in Fjerda, Nina will have her own choices to make when her undercover mission clashes with her personal agenda.
If there isn’t a cure, if there isn’t a change, Ravka will fall back into ruin, and no Grisha will ever be safe.
Okay, first and foremost, I know that’s a really short summary coming from me! Unfortunately King of Scars is set in a time period after The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology, so I really didn’t want to spoil anything for those of you who may not have read the other two series yet. I’ll go ahead and include a link to the official synopsis for King of Scars here in case you’d rather look at that.
As to my thoughts… HOLY WOW. THIS BOOK DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!!
Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology are two of my all-time favorite books, and I enjoyed her Grisha Trilogy as well, so I had really high expectations for this new novel. Nikolai’s sass is still just as wonderful as I remember it being in the other two series, and while I hadn’t liked Zoya in The Grisha Trilogy, she became my fast favorite in this book. Bardugo’s world building and deep, dark story elements were present as always, making this book absolutely decadent.
Also, the flirting between a certain two characters in this book is so perfect I just can’t. It only takes a couple chapters for you to ship them.
That being said, there were actually some misses for me with this book that I wasn’t expecting. I loved Nina in Six of Crows – she was one of my favorites. But in this book, I didn’t like her point of view chapters all that much. It wasn’t because she was unlikable or that the chapters were written poorly. It was just because her mission ended up being so different from Zoya and Nikolai’s mission that it felt like I was bouncing between two different stories instead of just point of view chapters. Another thing I didn’t enjoy all that much was that on Nina’s personal agenda, she has to bury someone (who will go unnamed for spoiler reasons), and shortly after burying that person, she loses all sense of grief and becomes attached to someone new. Her grief felt very shallow and very short-lived, and while I know that’s not how it was supposed to come across at all, Bardugo really could have strengthened that part of the story. Finally, in the last few chapters of the book, something happens that is very cliche. I won’t mention it because, again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I was really disappointed how Bardugo used the cliche as an “easy out.” I feel like there could have been so much more potential with the ending if the cliche hadn’t been there.
Though, on that note, I will add: THAT ENDING! There are a lot of people I’ve talked to that were able to guess the plot twist at the end. I don’t guess plot twists easily, however, so the twist came as a complete surprise! I am SO SO ready for book 2!
All in all, an excellent four star read! Bardugo has done it again.
Have you read King of Scars yet? What are your thoughts on it?