King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Info: Audiobook by Audible Studios, narrated by Lauren Fortgang
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
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.
Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse is one of my favourite series, and I just knew King of Scars would be a great choice to get me out of a reading slump. This is the first book in a duology, but it follows the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. I would definitely recommend reading the previous books as the protagonists in King of Scars are returning characters from both of the previous series. It was interesting to follow characters beyond their original stories, see how the traumas of the previous books have impacted them, and explore how their characters develop further, which made me feel an even stronger connection to them than I did before.
In King of Scars, we follow multiple POV characters like in the Six of Crows series, and I really enjoyed getting to see the different perspectives. I’m intrigued to see how Nina’s story ties in more with the main plot in the sequel, as her plotline did feel quite separate from Nikolai’s in this book. Both plotlines were engaging and the character development was very strong. Having seen how their characters started out in previous books, it was great to follow their progression in King of Scars, and Leigh Bardugo did a fantastic job of developing each of the three protagonists. I especially liked getting Zoya’s perspective, she’s a really interesting character with a lot of depth and it was great getting more insight into her past and her inner thoughts and feelings.
The plot shifts in an unexpected direction midway through which really threw me off at first because it came totally out of the blue. It left me feeling a bit unsettled and took me a few chapters to get on board with it but it turned out to be quite intriguing, though in some ways threw up a lot more questions than were answered.
There were so many twists at the end which kept me glued to the page (well, my earphones), and I am very glad the sequel, Rule of Wolves, is already out because I am really invested in this story and want to see how it all ends. If you are a fan of the Grishaverse, then stepping back into this world will feel like coming home, and you’ll find yourself wanting to keep returning to it over and over.