Title: King of Scars
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Run Time: 16 hours, 13 minutes
Trigger Warnings: Suicide, semi-graphic death, blood and gore (please inform me if I have missed anything and I will update this section)
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.
Well, guys. This is it. The moment we’ve all been waiting for…King of Scars has finally been unleashed upon us mere mortals in all of its glory. So of course I devoured it as quickly as I could, leaving no room for the rest of my dinner.*
*This is a joke. Books are not meant for literal consumption. PLEASE DON’T EAT THE BOOKS, GUYS!
So what did I think? Simply put: I loved it! Now. Does that mean it was without issue? No, but most of my issues were minor and I found that the things I loved massively outshined the things that I didn’t love.
W H A T I L O V E D
✦ Zoya! Okay but where has this girl been hiding? Because it’s clear she’s been a star all along! Zoya was by far my favorite character of this book. Her arc was so beautiful! I loved how much backstory we got for her and how much growth we saw from her. I can’t wait to see where Leigh takes my precious bitter bean! spoilers PLUS I’m totally on board with the whole Zoya and Nikolai ship. Call me Team Zikolai!…Er…Team Noya? Zoykolai?? Nik—whatever it is, I like it! end spoilers
✦ Nikolai! Nikolai was my second favorite part of King of Scars! I love how much depth his character gained. This book really shined a light on Nikolai’s character beyond painting him as the handsome, charming boy king and mischievous secret privateer we knew him to be. I felt like we started to get a good look at the darker parts of Nikolai, the worry and anxiety that plague him and the fierceness that he can show as king. But I’m hoping this was just the beginning and that we get to see even MORE depth and growth from Nikolai in book two.
✦ The themes! I love the themes Leigh wove into the story about facing and accepting your inner demons. It was subtle, but it was still there and seeing my beloved beans tackle such themes through their various trials made me so happy!
W H A T I D I D N ‘ T L O V E
✦ Nina. I went into this book absolutely pumped for Nina’s chapters but I’m not gonna lie: they were
kinda a letdown. They were just. So. Freaking. Slow. And it doesn’t help that, as of right now, Nina’s storyline just barely ties in with Nikolai’s and Zoya’s. Plus her character just seemed kinda…idk, kinda flat I guess. I’m hoping she shows more growth in book two and that once her storyline really clicks into place with the others, the pace will pick up.
✦ Isaak. Meh. I understand the narrative purpose of his chapters, but honestly I found them pretty dull. It was hard because we barely know Isaak and don’t really get to know him and then…well…so it seemed kinda pointless? I mean I feel like we could’ve easily portrayed the same progression of event through the eyes of a character like Genya and then the narrative voice might’ve been more compelling…
✦ The Pace. It seemed a little wonky? Largely I think it was because of Nina’s chapters, which I felt like really interrupted the flow of the story since their storyline didn’t connect with the others…
✦ spoilers The Saints and Elizaveta. I feel like the whole saints storyline was such a missed opportunity when it comes to world building and the creation of a compelling antagonist. I mean, we spend approximately 50% of the book focusing on the saints only to learn that Elizaveta isn’t actually the Big Bad in the end. It all just seemed pointless. And, while we learned snippets of Grishaverse history, I just wanted more. end spoilers
✦ The Ending. Meh. I’m not irate about it. I am still intrigued to see where it goes. That being said, it lacked a certain explosiveness that I like endings to have…
So that’s all I got for ya, folks! Ultimately, I had some minor issues, but that didn’t stop me from falling in love with this book. I can’t wait to see what’s to come!
L O V E K I N G O F S C A R S ?
C H E C K O U T M O R E !
- Listen to my Zoya Nazyalensky inspired playlist above!
- Check out more of my King of Scars edits/aesthetics/gif sets over on my visual book blog, Inspired by Books!
W H A T D O Y O U T H I N K ?
- Have you read King of Scars? What did you think of it?
- If not, do you plan to read King of Scars? What are you looking forward to?