Review: King of Scars

Posted February 16, 2019

Review: King of Scars King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Orion on 29th January 2019
Genres: YA Fantasy, Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased

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.

My thoughts on King of Scars

Well, I LOVED King of Scars and savoured it for as long as possible!

Another trip into Bardugo’s brilliant Grishaverse, this time with Nikolai – a firm favourite of mine from the previous books set in this world.

Told from multiple perspectives – some old, favourite characters and some new – King of Scars takes place after the action-packed Six of Crows duology. It made me laugh, gasp, fear and fret.

I read Bardugo’s incomparable dialogue and interactions with a grin on my face and a full heart, so glad was I that I should get to be with these characters and this world. Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina all have their own chapters and stories in King of Scars – each with their own demons to face. We also have some new characters whom Bardugo blends seamlessly with our old friends and foes.

Can I read it if I haven’t read the other Grishaverse books?

I’ve seen many people online ask if they should read King of Scars as their first foray into the Grishaverse.

My answer – you could but I wouldn’t.

I have no doubt that you’d enjoy King of Scars, but you’d be missing out on so much.

While I think that Bardugo has done an excellent job in gently reminding readers of the happens in the previous series, you’d be missing the characters’ backstories, not to mention the history of Ravka and the Grisha, as well as many references, and, naturally, spoilers for The Shadow & Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology!

So, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a trip through the Grishaverse from the beginning…

The Shadow & Bone Trilogy

1.  Shadow & Bone

2. Siege & Storm

3. Ruin & Rising

Six of Crows Duology

1. Six of Crows

2. Crooked Kingdom

You won’t be disappointed – and quite frankly I’m jealous that you still have that journey to embark upon.

(you can find my previous Leigh Bardugo reviews here if you need further convincing, but why would you?)

All in all…

For existing Grishaverse frequenters, this is a book that you don’t want to miss! We are treated to Nikolai in full swing (he makes me snort with laughter), Zoya as terrifying as ever, and Nina who is still dealing with the aftermath of her time in Ketterdam.

It’s brilliant. It’s Bardugo!