Is Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars also moi tsar?

And so it ends… I have officially read all the novels within Grishaverse. And I dare to say that it has been one the most amazing journeys I’ve taken.

So much has happened! Let’s recap. A month ago I decided to start reading YA fantasy again and chose Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse as my first read. A great decision.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the brilliant stories of the all these characters. First I read Shadow and Bone trilogy which consists of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. Then, I picked up Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
And now we’re here. At the end of the road. What an adventure! Such beauty, such heartbreak.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in a duology. It follows the story of the young king Nikolai Lantsov as he battles old and new enemies, but also Nina Zenik who has left for Fjerda to say goodbye to the love of her life and fulfill her last promise to him.

Lesser animals whined and struggled when they’d been caught in a snare. The fox found a way out.

It took me a century to read this book. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I did. I enjoyed it so much. All these characters have crawled into my heart and it felt so scary to feel them slip away. So I read slowly, painfully slowly. I savored every word.

I don’t know if this is a controversial opinion or not, but I felt like these wasn’t enough Nikolai in this book. The book is named after him and yet half of it was about Nina. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Nina! However, I just wanted to read about Nikolai. He is maybe my favourite character and I wanted more.

Because of that I often found myself annoyed when it was Nina’s chapter. I found her story interesting, but in my opinion it would’ve been better if she was given her own book? I guess, it’ll be clearer in the second book of this duology why Nina’s story is meant to be told now.

My hypothesis is once again proven right. The character development in this book is stunningly well done. I loved how all the characters struggled with their demons (sometimes literal demons), but they managed to make peace with them and sometimes even use them to their advantage.

The most noteworthy is the character development of Zoya Nazyalensky. I loved her from the beginning, when she first appeared in Shadow and Bone. Her strength and grace is enchanting. Because of that it was even more enjoyable to find out more about her. Her origin story if you will. I loved how she was always strong, she just hardened with every hardship. I’ve noticed that every time there is a female character similar to Zoya, they always have a sob backstory which explained that she was once fragile and soft, but then danger struck. Zoya was always strong! She did become stronger with time and perhaps a bit detached from other people because of the hardships she endure, but when you take all that away she is still Zoya.

“And what are your plans for the evening, darling jailer? Headed to a secret rendezvous?”
Zoya blew out a disgruntled breath as she bent to fasten the last fetter and check the security of the locks. “As if I have the time.”

Nikolai… what is there to say? I fall in love with him more and more. I fear there is nowhere deeper I could fall. He is so witty, so nonchalant, so charming… it is always such a joy to read his thoughts and interactions with other people. Also, he is extremely intelligent. Perfect. A bit demonic, but that’s just spice.

She could never accustom herself to this intimacy – the dawn quiet, the rumpled sheets, the tousled hair that made Nikolai look less like a king than a boy in need of kissing.

I loved reconciling with Genya, David, Nadia, Adrik… they never fail to make me smile! I’m still in love with Genya, but that’s to no one’s surprise. However, Tolya and Tamar. I’m still holding that grudge.

How am I now to continue with my life? I guess I’ll have to reread all the books. It’s really hard to say goodbye. And yet here we are.

(until the second book comes out)

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7 thoughts on “Is Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars also moi tsar?

  1. Great review, so happy to read you enjoyed it so much! I cannot wait for the next book in the series, though afterwards I know I will be sad and hoping for more Grishaverse.

    Liked by 1 person

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