New Release Review | King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

king of scarsKing of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Nikolai Duology #1
YA Fantasy
Imprint | January 29, 2019

About the Book: 

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 can’t tell if my King of Scars enjoyment is due in part to how it’s the first non-romance book I’ve read in (what feels like) months. Or, maybe because it’s also the first YA book I’ve read to completion since Wavehouse in June. I have to admit, I was ready for something different, so I could be completely biased here.

Whatever the reason, I ❤ King of Scars!

Finding out Leigh Bardugo was continuing in the Grishaverse brought me all kinds of joy. I’m not usually a fan of authors telling multiple stories in the same world, but I will read the Grishaverse until the dawn of time, I’m sure. I was incredibly excited when I found out King of Scars was about Nikolai. He was the character from the original trilogy I silently begged to get a followup story. I’m almost as obsessed with Nikolai as I am with Kaz Brekker.

Speaking of Kaz and the Six of Crows, I was geeked to find out King of Scars was also going to include Nina Zenik! This new duology is like the marriage of Shadow and Bone AND Six of Crows. I don’t care that, at least so far, Nikolai and Nina operate almost independently. I loved both halves of this book equally. I was never drawn toward Nikolai/Zoya, or Nina individually. Together they made one completely amazing story!

King of Scars isn’t finished yet. There’s still one more book, so I can’t give too much away. However, for those who haven’t read it yet, you are in for a ride! Keep in mind that there are some secrets revealed which may feel like they came out of left field, but if you pause and remember, there were hints all along. I’m of the opinion that Leigh Bardugo understood exactly where she wanted to take the Grisha, and just has all these secret stories she wants to tell. The lore is ever expanding, however it never feels false.

And romance? I mean, I think most of my readers agree with me, a story is always better with a little lurve.  King of Scars has romance, but my favorite kind. It’s a love story unrushed. It’s barely even touched on yet. You see it, humming underneath the castle intrigue and character plotting, but it doesn’t come to fruition. It will though, I feel it in my bones.

Most will be revealed in the conclusion -but not all.
Leave some for another Grishaverse story, please!

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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