Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars (King of Scars #1)
Leigh Bardugo
Published on January 29, 2019

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About King of Scars

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.

King of Scars on Goodreads

My Review

Okay. So. I went into this book with some big reservations. When I read SHADOW AND BONE, I was pretty solidly team Alina and Nikolai, so I kind of never got over the fact that they didn’t end up together. I also really didn’t feel like I had a deep connection to or understanding of Zoya, so I wasn’t sure how to feel about reading her perspective. I was looking forward to reading more of Nina’s story, but also not sure I was ready for the wall of grief she’d be experiencing.

So that’s where I was when I picked up the book. It took me a while to get into Zoya’s character. I’m kind of a fool for witty banter, so the back-and-forth between her and Nikolai or her and other members of their team definitely drew me in. Her backstory also deepened her a LOT.

That last quarter of the book, though. Like, I was enjoying reading and getting more into the story all the way through, but once I got to that last 25%, I was definitely hooked. The stakes went up SO much. Zoya and the dragon. Just. Wow. Nina and her plot to change the game in Fyerda. So amazing.

So yep. I pretty much went from finishing the last page of KING OF SCARS to immediately opening up to the first page of RULE OF WOLVES because now I need to see where this ultimately goes. I’m calling that a win.

I think the SIX OF CROWS duology is still my favorite of the Grisha books, but this one is a very close second.

King of Scars on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Nina is bisexual.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. A soldier makes a comment that a girl looks like she’d be fun in bed. Nina admires another woman’s beauty in a romantic way.

Spiritual Content
References and some deference to the Fjerdan god, Djel. In Ravka, the people mainly worship saints. There’s some exploration of what it means to be a saint and who should qualify for sainthood.

Violent Content
A horse nearly tramples a soldier, injuring her head. Poison and drug addiction cause injury and death. Some scenes show battle violence. An assassin kills someone and injures someone else. An army of the dead attack a group of soldiers and others.

Drug Content
A highly addictive drug called Jurda Parem changes a Grisha’s power (it’s fatal to non-Grisha) and causes immediate, intense addiction. Nina has taken it before in a dire situation and now carries a sensitivity to it. Nikolai has a team studying the drug looking for a cure or a form that enhances power without creating an addiction.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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