Title: King of Scars
Author: Leigh Bardugo
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.
I’ve missed Ravka and all it’s Grisha glory.
But most of all I’ve missed its people.
Leigh Bardugo manages to create fascinating and interesting characters that you feel invested in and want to follow and despite following several different P.O.V.s, you’re pretty much equally interested in all of them, whether it be cocky and charming King Nikolai or badass, but heartbroken Nina Zenik.
You are invested in these characters and I have often experienced when reading a book with multiple P.O.V.s that for some of them, I’m just flipping the pages to get to a character I actually want to read about.
But not in King of Scars.
Here, I want them all!
So, I’ll admit that I don’t remember much of the ending of Ruin and Rising, but I went with it anyway and I understood, probably 79% of the references and names. Not bad, but could have been better if I’d done a reread of the books before starting King of Scars – also, getting older, my memory is getting crappier and crappier by each book, more so when I don’t get to writing a review immediately after finishing a book. It’s been over a month since finishing this one and I am struggling to remember the details.
But what I do remember is that I loved this book! And hey, that’s what counts, right?
King Nikolai Lantsov is a smartass, to put it mildly, but he is struggling with a dark secret that has infected him since the Darkling’s fall, which is threatening to break free and hurt people. I don’t remember if this infection happened in Ruin and Rising or if it’s brand spanking new information, but I was there for it.
Bardugo manages character-building so well, because I cared for all of these characters and felt connected to them in one way or another and that is not something any author can pull off.
Of all the different P.O.V.s I think my favourite to follow was… Nina. Her quest to give Matthias a proper farewell in Fjerda is just so heartbreakingly beautiful and, of course, she wreaks a little havoc along the way.
The pacing of the story was good and despite its length, it didn’t take me forever to finish reading it, simply because I kept turning pages to find out what happens next.
Leigh Bardugo has created a fantasy world I would love to visit. I love the inspiration she has taken from our world, especially Fjerda, which is Scandinavian inspired in terms of appearances, names and places. I mean, take a look at the gorgeous map and you will find Kenst Hjerte way up north.
Hjerte means heart in Danish and Norwegian, and being Danish myself, I find it simply awesome and a little special that I understand these words that may just sound foreign or made-up to other readers. See, another connection to this story that I love.
King of Scars had it all.
Action, magic, suspense, anticipation, surprises and heartfelt moments that made your heart flutter. A book that I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to as well as the Netflix Original Series. I mean, I don’t even know who I’d want cast as Nikolai.
Have you fancast your favourite characters yet?
Do I recommend this book?
Yes. If you are a fan of the Grisha Verse and Six of Crows, you should definitely pick up this book.
Don’t read it if you haven’t read the Grisha trilogy and Six of Crows duology as it contains all the spoilers in the world and you would be SO confused as to what was going on.