King of Scars

Nikolai Duology #1

Leigh Bardugo

fiction fantasy young adult
adventurous slow-paced

527 pages | first published 2019

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.

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adventurous 95%
dark 50%
mysterious 43%
tense 38%
emotional 35%
funny 32%
challenging 9%
sad 9%
hopeful 8%
lighthearted 7%
inspiring 2%
reflective 2%


medium 63%
slow 23%
fast 13%

Strong character development?

Yes: 74% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 5% | N/A: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 9% | No: 2%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 19% | No: 12% | N/A: 1%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 83% | It's complicated: 12% | No: 3% | N/A: 0%

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