This review at The Fantasy Review of King of Scars is spoiler-free, but will contain spoilers for the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology .
Although I was thrilled that Bardugo was expanding the Grishaverse with what is called the Nikolai duology, I had actually lowered my expectations for King of Scars, as I had already seen mix reviews .
The events of this book take place about two years after the end of Crooked Kingdom, and by and large follows King Nikolai Lantsov and his struggles to strengthen the nation of Ravka. Apart from Nikolai, we besides get POV chapters from Zoya Nazyalensky, a knock-down Grisha Squaller and Nikolai ’ s general. We besides get chapters featuring Nina Zenik, a Grisha Heartrender who was once character of the Dregs.
I have expressed my love of the Grishaverse with see to its world-building, and I do like how Bardugo expands on this. In King of Scars we get to see more of Ravka, adenine well as the state of Fjerda. We get a lot more of the universe ’ mho history, with stories of the saints and details on the cultural differences and the governments of different nations .
I besides think it was interesting to see how Bardugo presented the kind of modernization of the nations. The Shadow and Bone trilogy felt more like a upstanding, old school illusion with soldiers that had powers akin to magic ( but don ’ thymine permit Zoya hear you call it ‘ magic ’ because she will most likely lunge a lightning rigidly through you ). then Six of Crows gave readers more of an urban feel to the narrative, featuring guns, explosives, and mechanically enhance soldiers. King of Scars was a sort of blend of the two, with the world still feeling charming but with just that hint of more modern details .
The charming of King of Scars remains the same as what was presented in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, though this time around more people have become Sun Summoners after Alina Starkov sacrifice. Nina ’ s fresh power over death is besides shown hera. In my opinion, we don ’ t actually get adequate scenes covering charming in this book, so that ’ s a *sad face* for readers hoping to get that here .
Grishaverse fans who loved Nikolai and Zoya from the Shadow and Bone trilogy will greatly enjoy seeing these two try to navigate the building complex politics of Ravka. I am a huge sports fan of both Nikolai, with his beaming appeal and acuate with, and Zoya, with her no-nonsense attitude and cruelty. I LIVED for their banter, and if you love character duet where one is all “ fair weather and daisies ” and the other is a “ crabbed goose ”, I ’ thousand certain you ’ ll enjoy the parts of this book that feature of speech Nikolai and Zoya .
I was excited at first to get chapters from Nina ’ s POV, but I struggled to understand their significance. Her narrative felt a piece disconnected from that of Zoya and Nikolai, and truth be told it didn ’ t even feel like I was reading about the amazing Nina Zenik we met in the Six of Crows books .
There were a few new characters here a well, but I did not feel peculiarly attached to any of them. If anything, I ’ d say a couple of them I authentically hated, and I don ’ t very like what their presence brought to the history.
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King of Scars is a reserve that very much focused on politics : how Nikolai dealt with Ravka ’ s lack of funds while being on the brink of another war, how he and Zoya needed to forge alliances with the early nations, all while trying to root out traitors and thwart assassination attempts. Nina ’ mho parts ran along a exchangeable vein, though I was not excessively invested in that separate of the book .
With all that in mind, King of Scars makes for slower read than all the other books in the Grishaverse. I personally didn ’ t mind this much, a hanker as I was following the floor through either Nikolai or Zoya ’ randomness POVs, but I know this book might not necessarily become a darling of many Grisha fans .
I have commented on Bardugo ’ sulfur inconsistencies with tempo in my review of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and I wasn ’ metric ton expecting such inconsistencies to be present in this koran ! probably because Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, being fast-paced reads that had 0 dull moments, made me think the writer had solved the pacing issues I found in her first trilogy .
I felt that the whole begin of the book moved at a slower pace, and then within the stopping point draw of the book a reasonably huge plot kink was introduced, giving very small time for all those involved in this twist to be properly fleshed out. Which is a shame because this twist was something that I was very intrigued by, and then it merely kind of…faded .
The pace was equitable very off with this book, so I ’ molarity not surprised that a lot of readers were a snatch disappoint. *cue more deplorable faces*
I ’ thousand tempted to just type in “ HAHAHAHAHAHA WHAT ” and leave it at that.
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The ending of King of Scars is THE DEFINITION of “ love it or hate it ”, and I sadly fall under the “ hate it ” class. Like, I hated it so much that I good spent the adjacent few hours after finishing this book giggling at myself over how wyrd this ending was .
so this was not the best book ever, but it wasn ’ t besides severe either. I ’ m not sure I like where Bardugo is going with this floor, but I ’ ll be certain to read the future book just to find that out .