Reviews

King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo

foxyreadings's review

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3.0

To be honest, I don't really know what to think of this book. It wasn't bad, I genuinely had a good time reading it. But it wasn't what I was expecting at all. I was expecting lots of Nikolai's wits, plots, and action filled with Grisha magic, and what I got was a very slow-paced book focusing a lot on the characters' past.

And it's not much about Nikolai actually. That probably was my biggest disappointment. I loved this character in Shadow and Bone trilogy, so witty and fun, and I was so looking forward to a whole duology with him as main character. But King of Scars isn't Nikolai's story, no matter what the blurb let you think. Sure he's there and plays a significant part, but he shares the main stage with two other characters, Zoya (from Shadow and Bone too), and Nina (from Six of Crows). Actually the character that made the biggest impression on me in King of Scars is Zoya. She has a strong personality, she's very clever, and the stories about her past revealed here give a better understanding of her actions in Shadow and Bone.
It was good to see Nikolai again, but I found him different. He was a lot darker and a lot less fun than when we got to know him as privateer Sturmhond in Shadow and Bone. That's probably because of his demon inside, but still, I was quite disappointed.

The story alternates points of view between Nikolai, Zoya, Nina, and Isaak (new character, a young soldier who impersonates Nikolai at the court while the king is away battling his demon. I liked him a lot). While Nikolai's, Zoya's and Isaak's chapters narrate the same plot, Nina's chapters however focus on a different side plot as she's on a mission in Fjerda to save Grisha girls there. Honestly I didn't care too much about this side story, it didn't seem much related to the main one, and also I didn't have many feelings for Nina, but it might be because I am not familiar with her. She's not properly introduced because you're supposed to know her from Six of Crows (and I only read book one, which I barely have any recollection of). So here's a warning: make sure you have read the entire Grishaverse before starting with King of Scars!

The ending was interesting though, and I'm curious about the second book.

joareads's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

An interesting addition to the Grishaverse with the book focusing on Nikolai, Zoya and Nina soon after the events of the Six of Crows duology.

It's great to see more of the charming Nikolai and discover how the events in the Shadow and Bone trilogy affected him, as well as Zoya and learn more about her character, shaped by her past. Nina is on her own mission and in mourning - it's heart-breaking to see how she's affected after the events in Crooked Kingdom.

The path this book takes is rather... unexpected with a new villain briefly introduced and another come to say hello. I love Nikolai's wit in this and his interactions with Zoya, although they fall a bit short towards the end. We get to see how Adrik is faring and another new character is introduced in Nina's part. The ending of this book is a bit of a shock and leaves the story hanging on possibility.

Not my favourite of all the Grisha books, but still good. 

smzhou's review against another edition

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4.0

Actual rating: 4.5 Stars

Loved Nikolai and Zoya's characters, as well as the plot. My main issue is that Nina's story seemed extremely disconnected from the rest of the plot, so I often wanted to skip her part to get back to the main story.

erinchurchman's review against another edition

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3.0

hrrrrrmmmmm hrm. hmmmm. okay i wasn’t a big fan of the ending BUT ZOYA AND NIKOLAI!!!!! I LOVE THEM I DONT CARE ABOUT ANYTHUNG ELSE! THEM! THEM!

mereadingbooks's review

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adventurous dark emotional funny tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

The last fifty pages totally made up for the slow middle part. Thank god, Bardugo's still got it!

Second time around this is even better! I think the audiobook version really adds to the atmosphere of the story.
What I love most about this is how much these characters have grown and developed over the course of this series.
On to the next one...

tranganhdong's review

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5.0

Okay I went into this fully thinking it would follow Zoya and Nikolai’s romantic relationship but was blown away by the complexities of Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina each working through their respective grief and trauma. As a big grishaverse fan I absolutely loved this continuation of the series. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was so drawn in by the story and every plot twist had me stunned! I think this is a great improvement on the original Shadow and Bone characters, it was so interesting to see more depth to Nikolai and Zoya’s characters.

Zoya has always been a favorite of mine but has become even more so with this novel! We got to see a lot of Zoya’s inner turmoil and her personal struggles and the events that have shaped her life. Reading about her childhood was absolutely heartbreaking and getting to see her process the trauma that the Darkling inflicted upon her even more so. Seeing how the Darkling hurt both Nikolai and Zoya (as well as Genya) so deeply really drives home his evilness and his inability to be redeemed. Zoya’s strength and the lengths she has gone to appear strong and to become actually stronger was just so admirable and I cannot wait to see more of her in Rule of Wolves.

Similarly, I loved peeking behind the curtain of Ravka’s favorite privateer! Nikolai has so much depth to him that we hadn’t gotten to see in the original Shadow and Bone trilogy and I think in this novel we really got to see him shine. I also think he may be my perfect man but that’s a different conversation.

And Nina, sweet Nina, who has been through so so much. Watching her have to grapple with Matthias’ death left me sobbing, she harbors so much strength and love for him and I just want her to be happy. Also Hanne being Jarl Brum’s daughter, oh my god. 

Overall, I loved this novel and I can’t wait to dive into Rule of Wolves next! Leigh Bardugo writes these characters so wonderfully and I am so happy I get to see more of them. Also every six of crows mention made me physically cry, I love them so much and it makes me weepy knowing Nina thinks of them often (even if she forgets wylan rip).

lamcginnisbooks's review against another edition

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5.0

As a huge fan of Six of Crows, I’ve been slow to dive into her Grishaverse, but I couldn’t pass up this cover (which I’ve had my eye on for months now). Picking up this book, I’ll say I wished I’d read the other Grisha books first, as I felt a bit lost in the beginning, but Nikolai’s story soon had me reeled in and I loved his character so much by the end. Nina’s (from six of Crows) character has a chance to really show her strengths in this book, and I felt her development came full circle, after being under-utilized in the Crows duology. Bardugo’s tight writing style is present, making for a fast read, with only a couple of places where I felt backstory or description bogged down the action.
This book has a great ending, especially for those who love a good plot twist, and since this is a two book series, it does end with a cliffhanger.

tarynmaestri's review

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adventurous emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

the_darklinette's review against another edition

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5.0

You guys know from previous reviews that I’m totally in love with the GrishaVerse, but to be honest, I didn’t expect i’ll enjoy King of Scars as much as I did. The book showed huge improvement on the Grisha in terms of everything : the writing quality, the plot, the character development, the twists and definitely the cliffhangers.
The title makes what’s the story about so obvious, if you already read the 1st trilogy. If not, it follows the story of Nikolai, a king, and his Triumvirate. Both are attempting to maintain order and stability in the land after a civil war. That would include marrying some rich princess to form alliances, but what the king keeps turning into his worst (to not spoil you), that kind of arrangement might be the main lead to unstability. Oh, Six of Crows fans, especially Nina, you’ll definitely enjoy her appearance in this one.
Anyways, to not bore you, the story is engrossing with a plot that just takes off running from the opening chapter. You’ll definitely love this book and I’d say go for it, but you really have to read both Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology to not get confused.

fran9804's review against another edition

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4.0

Me puso muy nervioso, y ese final fue shockeante