Ravka isn’t free from evil even though the Darkling is gone and Nikolai has to fight against the evil in Ravka and in himself.
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 Army.
Yet 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 Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish 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.
Title: King of Scars
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication: January 29, 2019 by Orion Children’s Books
Target audience: Young Adult
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Rating: 🌵🌵 ½
After reading the Six of Crows duology, I expected this to be better. But I completely discarded the fact that the Grisha Verse is the basis of King of Scars. And that was my doom.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Grisha trilogy. The first book was fairly entertaining. I gave it three stars. The second and the third book nearly killed me though. The only thing that kept me reading was Nikolai Lantsov. Still, I was so damn happy when I finally finished the trilogy.
Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom on the other hand are absolute masterpieces. I love them with all my heart. I suppose when King of Scars was announced, I kind of forgot all about the bad stuff and focused only on the good, meaning: Nikolai, Nina and Leigh Bardugo’s writing.
Speaking of the good stuff, let’s start with that, because there’s not a lot of that.
Leigh Bardugo’s writing is as lovely as always. Period.
Ravka was many things to him: a grand lady who required constant courting, a stubborn child unwilling to stand on its own, and most often, a drownin man – the more Nikolai struggled to save it, the harder it fought.
The dialogue was amazing. I mean, that was to be expected, considering that Nikolai is in this book but still. I loved all the banter and I marked over 20 passages. It really was that good.
Don’t argue, David. Makes me want to blow something up to assert my authority.
Bardugo introduces a few new characters but there’s one that’s especially grown on me: Isaak. I can’t really go into his role in King of Scars because spoilers but believe me when I say that he’s the most adorable person on this planet. He’s awkward and anxious and so relatable. Some were bored by his chapters but I really enjoyed them!
At night, Isaak fell into bed and lay staring at the ceiling, heart pounding, thinking of the many things he’d done wrong and the many things he was bound to do wrong tomorrow.
And yes…. that would be it. The parts that I enjoyed. Now we come to the not so good parts that are responsible for making me give this book only 2.5 stars.
This book was so damn slow! Most of the time nothing was happening and there was no reason to read on. That’s usually not Bardugo’s style. No idea what happened this time. And then it’s not like this is a short book. We get over 500 pages of basically nothing. I mean, after 250 pages something starts to happen but I couldn’t bring myself to care. It just didn’t feel very important or threatening to the characters and it’s oh so predictable.
“Why do you never kiss me sweetly in the morning, Zoya?”
“I do nothing sweetly, Your Highness.”
When it came out that Nina would be in this book, everyone lost their shit. Understandable. Nina is a queen. I really wanted to know how her life would look after Crooked Kingdom. But somehow, this was not as great as I hoped it would be. Nina’s story is kind of boring and doesn’t even have anything to do with Nikolai’s problem. Switching between these two stories was even worse. Just when you thought that maybe things were starting to look more interesting, you’d be dragged into the other story, and so on it goes, never being able to get invested in either of these storylines.
“Of course,” she said. “Matthias, your country can kiss my fat Grisha ass.”
There are a lot of things that don’t make any sense if you asked me. I can’t really elaborate on them because spoilers, but it’s shitty. And this book totally blows the magic system to bits! I was just like “What the fuck, Leigh Bardugo? You really gonna do this?”
And lastly, the ending. Some people hate it, some love it. I definitely hate it. It was hinted at through the whole book, but I didn’t want to believe that Bardugo was really going to do it. She did, though, and that’s a tragedy.
Have you read King of Scars or any other book by Leigh Bardugo? What did you think? Let me know down below in the comments!