A review by tranganhdong
King of Scars, by Leigh Bardugo

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).