Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Title: King of Scars
Series: Nikolai Duology #1
Written by: Leigh Bardugo
Published: January 29, 2019 by Imprint (Macmillain)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.  

When I finished this book, I was still completely in shock from it. I loved The Grisha trilogy when I read it back before Ruin and Rising came out and since then I have been totally in love with this world and everything Leigh rights. So when I heard she was fighting a series about Nikolai I was so excited. And this book did not disappoint. It was a gripping and amazing read.

One of the things that excited me most about this book was the characters. In this one we are able to catch back up not only with characters from the original Grisha trilogy but also Six of Crows. I loved being able to catch back up with Genya, David, Tolya, Tamar... the list goes on and on. It felt like falling back into the original series. But the real best characters are the narrators. There are alternating perspectives between Nina from Six of Crows, Zoya from Shadow and Bone, and of course Nikolai from the original trilogy. Nina I loved in Six of Crows and being able to see her deal with what happened in that book was amazing and heartbreaking. She is one of the strongest characters both physically and emotionally. Nikolai was maybe my favorite secondary character in the original trilogy. I am also down for a lovable rogue and he fit the bill. He’s smart and charming but he’s also complex and very brooding in this book. You get to see him at his best and his worst.

But the best main character in this book, and the one who I think deserve a whole new paragraph, is Zoya. Zoya is a pretty minor character in the original trilogy. She’s sort of a foil for Alina and honestly didn’t make much of an impression. But in this book she made a huge impression and in the best possible way. She’s everything I love in a badass female character. She’s tough and ballsy, but also vulnerable and brash. Zoya is a total sass factory and her banter with Nikolai is on point. But she’s also this freaking amazing Grisha that reminded me of the perfect combination of Azula and Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. And not only did she have great development, but we learn a lot more about her back story in this book which made her even more sympathetic. I cannot speak highly enough about Zoya. She’s freaking amazing in this book.

The real amazing thing in this book is the plot. Leigh really knows how to tell a story. Her books have always had incredibly intricate plots and this was no exception. It really built to a thrilling conclusion with s twists and surprises that had me so shocked that when I finished I was left string at my book for fifteen minutes unable to come to terms with what had happened. It had a very mean cliffhanger too that has be wanting book two immediately. There are a lot of moving parts to this story and Leigh handles them with care and ease but I do feel a little bit like it is incomplete. The actual story of this book resolved despite the cliffhanger but it didn’t all come together. I know it’s all connected and I feel those connections falling into place but they didn’t actually do that yet. And for me, this made the book feel a little lacking. I’m tough on books with multiple perspectives though so it could just be a person preference.

What did work with the multiple perspectives was the world. What I love about this world is that after five books (six of you count Language of Thorns) it is both familiar and new at the same time. Being familiar with everything I can just dive back into it without needing an explanation about what is happening. Leigh can show us instead of tell about everything, which is something she does really well. But at the same time we are learning new things about the history and religion of the world. Not to mention all the political intrigue and plotting. It all worked together to further develop a world and magical system that I already love and am excited to learn more about.

All and all, this book was so amazing. It once again showcased what an amazing fantasy writer Leigh Bardugo is. She has crafted a thrilling story with an intriguing world and complex characters that I fell further in love with.

I give King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! It’s a must read for fans of her work and if you like fantasy and have not read Leigh Bardugo, change that immediately!

Have you read King of Scars? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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