by: Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 5/5 stars
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.
Hello. Hello. Hello again, just stopping by on my little blog here to tell you how flat out AMAZING Leigh Bardugo's books are and how my brain is now a complete pile of mush filled with nothing but clouds and day dreams most of which consist of dragons, witty waffle remarks, and the dreamy face and thoughts of my beloved Nikolai.
Ok so I did things a bit backwards here (mostly because I can and because I wanted to) and plopped this book into my hands without having read a single page of the Grishaverse trilogy (why yes, yes I know this is a bit messed up and true followers of the Grishaverse may be very cross at this but I just didn’t have the patience to read three more books) (especially when I already KNEW I would love Nikolai so I really just wanted a book all about him.... can you blame me?) * tsk tsk*
ANYWHOOOO..... I READ THE BOOK AND LOVED IT. Of course this should be no surprise since I am such an incredible, indulgent, lover/worshipper of the Six of Crows Duology (its been two years since I’ve read them and I feel like it was just yesterday)
“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.”
This book also takes place in the same world as Six of Crows and the Grishaverse and even though I did not read the Grisha Triology I found this book very easy to follow along with! Leigh bardugos world building is amazing as ever (omg when you hit part two... lets just say there was some dragons and castle action going on that hand me like... *jaw on the floor*). But truly it is Leigh Bardugos characters that continue to remind me why I love reading so much in the first place.
I mean this book was great because I got reunited with one of my bookish character loves from Six of Crows, Nina!!
This book completely reminded me of the kinds of characters Leigh bardugo had in Six of Crows that completely stole my heart... as well as shredded it through a blender... and yet here I am coming back for more (she's that good). Nina is SO FUNNY and confident and very much about what she's going to do what she needs to do to get this done because she don't have time for hearing other peoples shit about her plans or ideas (I laughed out loud so many times. Especially when waffles where mentioned... I really want waffles after reading this book).
“One could plot violent espionage and still hope for dessert.”
Nina is also incredible because she is confident but also raw and makes my heart ache at how real and fierce and brave she can be while still wanting a hot bath and a steaming plate of waffles. There were times in this book were I wanted to cry (if you’ve read this than you know just what/who I am crying over) but Nina is so incredibly strong and she handles her undercover mission so beautifully and bravely that... UGHHH I am just so in LOVE with these characters!!
“It's not exciting if nothing can go wrong.”
I also really liked Adrik and Leloni I thought they were adorable in there highly optimistic and extremely brutey ways. They were very likable side characters and I hope to see more of them in another one of Bardugos books.
BUT OMG I’D BE LYING IF EVERYTIME KAZ BREKKER’S NAME WAS MENTIONED I DIDNT FREAK OUT! ( same with Inej... because LOVE her!!)
“She wished she had Inej’s gift for spywork or Kaz’s gift for scheming, but she only seemed to have Jesper’s gift for bad decisions.”
But if I am being completely honest here the chapters I really really liked the most were both Nikolai’s and Zoya’s...
I mean COME ON HOW COULD YOU NOT LIKE NIKOLAI?? He is sooo funny and omg some of his lines were so quick and witty and just so off that wall that I found myself laughing for like five minutes straight while reading this. He is just an uncontrollable ball of delicious cream puffs and I just want to devour him whole!!
“Do that thing you do where you use too many words to say something simple and confuse the issue.”
I mean come on, Nikolai is just uncontrollable yumminess in my opinion. A complete babe. But despite his charming, and completely out the box wit (the way he is always toying with Zoya... thats the kind of spice I am TALKING ABOUT people). There is also a darker side to him. Especially since he is still battling the Darkling inside of him.
I kind of saw the Darkling as almost a metaphor for depression. Nikolai has a lot of pressure on him as the King of Ravka and an almost never ending list of duties and problems that he needs to solve. Not to mention there all trying to keep the peace after just having ended a war three years ago. Its a lot for one guy to handle, especially when he needs to appear like he has it all together, all the time.
“The monster is me and I am the monster.”
Despite this darkness inside of him (or maybe because of it) I imediently loved Nikolai and need more of him!! But I also really really liked Zoya!!
She’s kind of a unique character because she is so incredibly sharp and edgy all the time. Like a ball of fiery anger meets the blade of a double edged sword. It was especially interesting to see how even Nikolai could not soften her sharpness (which I very much appreciated because I am waaaay more about characters loving each other for who they are and not trying to ‘fix them’ or ‘change them’ for what they believe is better). In fact Nikolai seemed quite found of her meanness and sharp, angry tongue.
“Zoya of the lost city. Zoya of the garden. Zoya bleeding in the snow. You are strong enough to survive the fall.”
And of course Zoya was a total badass as well. I really liked her chapters and completely and totally with every fiber of my being SHIP HER AND NIKOLAI. But we shall see where my predictions go because boy does Leigh Bardugo like to torture you with bread crumbs because I really have no clear idea of either of them feel!!! (I just know it in my heart to be true *sighs dramatically like the hopeless romantic I am*)
“Say something spiteful.”
“Why?” she asked faintly.
“Because I’m fairly certain I'm hallucinating and in my dreams you're much nicer.”
“You're an idiot, Nikolai.”
I also liked Genya and David. They were completely and totally adorable. Loved how Davids head was always in a book and how he would just pop up and be like ‘yes thats mildly concerning that the world is burning’ only to quickly continue on with the reading!! Also loved the twins Tamar and Tollya. Really great group of interesting misfits trying to rule a country.
“Just a moment," David said, planting a finger on the page to mark his place in his book. "What was your name ?"
I also enjoyed the addition of Issak halfway through the book his chapters were very fun and I loved the angle/ plot twist the book took towards the end with the addition of him (that ending though!!!)
And of course in classic Leigh Bardugo fashion the ending was a total hit out of left field and now I am left staring longingly at my palms wishing that the sequel to this book was in them. I highly recommend this book to fans of six of crows or Leigh Bardugo in general! Also to those who are fans of more character focused books (which I am ;) because the plot takes a little while to get going on this one! Overall so good. Great characters, magical world building, new characters and plots overlapping, very entertaining and very much drizzled with lovable characters, King of Scars is not a book to miss out on!
So what do you all think? Willing to give this one a read? Already read it? LMK in the comments below!