Review of King of Scars by Leigh Bargudo

King of Scars (King of Scars Duology Book 1) by [Leigh Bardugo]

Face your demons…or feed them. The dashing young king, 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, Nikolai 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 general, 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.

This book took me forever to get through. There was nothing necessarily wrong with it, but it was long, and a large part is due to not liking one of the characters that is a primary force in it. I did grow to like the character by the end, and was wishing and hoping for happy endings, but of course it is a duology so hopefully such things will be answered in book 2 (which I am currently more than halfway done, having not written this review immediately after finishing the previous one). I’m certain I had a lot of things to say, that I don’t quite recall now, but I’ll do my best.

I really enjoyed how this continued with characters we knew from previous books in the same grishaverse. I love Nikolai and I’ve wanted him to have a happy ending since the first three books (I was team Nikolai all the way in the Alina/Mal/Darkling/Nikolai debate). Seeing Nikolai as he struggles to find himself and his place was great, and while I really might not have liked her to start, getting to see more of Zoya and perhaps understand a bit of all that she was dealing with was good too.

One of my biggest issues with the end of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom was poor Nina and Matthias. In my head, I immediately thought then that Nina and Nikolai would end up together. Alas, that does not appear to be, but I do hope she ends up happy and free.

On to finishing Rule of Wolves…

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

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