Friday, 24 April 2020

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Published: January 29, 2019 by: Imprint
Pages: 527
Rating: 3/5 stars

Fresh off of Ravka's bloody civil war, Nikolai Lantsov is trying to get his country back together. The young king is riddled by growing enemies with a thirst for power. And, he has got a dark energy inside of him that grows stronger with each passing day. With the help of some former allies and new ones, Nikolai must rebuild Ravka's shattered state, and attempt to control himself and his magic at the same time.

I am not an expert when it comes to the Grisha universe. I read the Six of Crows duology a long time ago, and just recently started the Shadow and Bone trilogy. The kicker is, I have only read the first Shadow and Bone book so far, and I got really confused by the order of all of these series, so the entire Shadow and Bone series kinda got spoiled for me by reading this book. I thought that I could read this before finishing Shadow and Bone and everything would be ok. *shrugs.*

I'm not too bummed about getting the series spoiled for me, but I think that does reflect on my opinions on this book. Because I wasn't aware that this book takes place after Shadow and Bone, I was really confused about some of the things they were talking about. Again, this is my own bad, but it still did squander my interest in this book.

I was really happy to see Nina in this book. She is such a badass character from Six of Crows, and I was happy to see the crossover. I think Bardugo is doing something that Rick Riordan does so well: create a whole universe of stories that intertwine. I get really into crossovers, so I was happy to revisit a favourite old character of mine.

Bardugo's writing is beautiful, as always. I didn't like fantasy books for the longest time, but the Grishaverse is such a fascinating world that drew me right in. I think Nikolai is a very intriguing character, and I enjoyed learning more about him. That being said, I think I needed more background knowledge from the other books to help me along the way.

So overall, I think the reason I wasn't sold on this book is mostly my fault. I plan to finish Shadow and Bone, re-read Six of Crows, and the maybe revisit this series. That being said, I am happy to be a new fan of the Grishaverse!

Have you read King of Scars? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. I always read things out of order... oops! I think it's on account of comic books - I'm not gonna read 50-75+ years of canon full of alternate timelines, universes, dimensions, and retcons, just to catch up with the current stuff, y'know? XD <3

    1. I totally get your point! This is the first time I have read something out of order because I am a perfectionist, but when series are so long, sometimes you don’t have a choice.

  2. I literally reread Shadow and Bone and then finished the trilogy last year so I could read this book haha. I'm sorry this book spoiled that series for you. I adored Six of Crows and was so happy Nina was in this one. Her saying goodbye to Matthias was heartbreaking. While I really enjoyed this one, I did think some of the pacing and interweaving of stories was a bit off. The SoC duology is better in my opinion. Fabulous review, Emily!

    1. Thanks Erin! I think I will prefer Six of Crows out of the three series in the Grishaverse. So far, those books seem to have the most lovable and well written characters!

  3. I think I have told you before that I am really behind when it comes to the Grishaverse books, haha. I remember really liking Nikolai in Siege and Storm though (hopefully I am thinking of the right character...) so I feel like I will enjoy King of Scars.. if I ever get around to it :')
    I used to read series out of order a lot when I was a kid - mostly because I didn't have Goodreads to tell me what order books were in. Then for a while, I got really strict about reading things in publishing order (mostly because of the Shadowhunter books). These days, I'm back to not minding so much again.
    Great review :)
    - Sabrina @ Wordy and Whimsical

    1. I haven’t read Siege and Storm yet, so it could be Nikolai you’re talking about, but not sure. I totally relate on being behind on things haha! I don’t think I would mind reading things out of order if the books weren’t so spoilery. I think in this case, there were way too many reveals I wasn’t prepared for.

  4. I've yet to pick up any of Bardugo's books. One of these days...

    Too bad this one got spoiled for you.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. I’d definitely say give them a try! I know they are so beloved in the book community, that tbh my main reason for starting them was because I felt like I was missing out haha.