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King of Scars #2

Rule of Wolves

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The Grishaverse will be coming to Netflix soon with Shadow and Bone, an original series!

The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.

The Demon King. As Fjerda's massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king's gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

592 pages, Paperback

First published March 30, 2021

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About the author

Leigh Bardugo

70 books156k followers
Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of the Grishaverse (now a Netflix original series) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology—and much more. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies including The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Los Angeles and is an associate fellow of Pauli Murray College at Yale University. For information on new releases and appearances, sign up for her newsletter.

She would be delighted if you visited her at LeighBardugo.com and fairly giddy if you liked her selfies on Instagram.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 18,358 reviews
Profile Image for jane.
73 reviews82 followers
March 27, 2021

EDIT: after a couple of hours of sleep there’s honestly so much more i could talk about. from both of leigh’s heroines (old and new) being shoehorned into a maternal role that fits neither of them, to nina’s rushed romance with hanne and the way leigh handled zoya’s suli heritage. but there aren’t enough hours in the day and patience in me to discuss it all.

i know this is 4 days before the official release date, but my copy got shipped early.
heads up: if you're a die-hard fan of leigh or king of scars, you won't like this. so look away.
i'll try to make this as coherent as possible. it's 2am, forgive me.

the last time i sighed so hard at a book was when i read acotar. so strap yourselves in.

this book is full. too full. there's too many things happening, so much so, that some lose their significance in the grand scheme of things, e.g. at some point in the book nikolai has a nearly deadly accident with one of his flying ships but it is glaced over within a page even though leigh supposes nikolai is deeply shaken by it. and then it's never mentioned again.
within the first few chapters ravka is meeting fjerda on the battlefield and after a first victory for ravka the war suddenly disappears. there's no retaliation until about halfway through when fjerda bombs os alta and then the violent conflict disappears again. only in the last quarter of the book do the armies meet on the battlefield again. it's hacked off, the brunt of the war, the terror and violence lessoned by every single thing leigh throws in in between. because there is a Lot she has decided to throw in.
besides ravka's war with fjerda, there's the trouble with princess ehri and her guard mayu, there's queen makhi and her plot, there's jarl brum, the fjerdan crown prince, the lantsov pretender, the apparat (???), the blight (that she's calling VAMPIRE), A WHOLE HEIST SHE SQUEEZED IN and of course, the darkling (more on him later). because of the constant pov switch between five characters there are times were several chapters fly by before you get to read a certain characters pov and storyline again and it rips you out of the action.
speaking of the povs: there's too many of them in my opinion. king of scars already struggled with the divide between nikolai, zoya, nina and isaak and rule of wolves fairs no better. jumping back and forth between nikolai, zoya, nina, mayu AND the monk gets tiring and as forementioned just rips you out of the individual storylines.
there just certain plot points that should've stayed on the editing room floor. for example mayu's whole pov. while i can appreciate that leigh finally decided to flesh out shu han and its people more and to try and step away from this cartoonish Evil Country image, it derailed the second half of the book. ravka is on the brink of collapse, nina is risking her neck in fjerda and suddenly you're in shu han, listening to mayu's existential crisis. not to mention that before giving her this pov, leigh has done almost nothing to spark interest in this character. she was an assassin sent to kill nikolai. that's the end of it. but she got a whole pov out of it. i couldn't bring myself to care.
the heist. what was that. i knew the crows were going to make an appearance at some point because leigh said so (and the crows are probably by far the most popular grishaverse characters) but this was too much. while i enjoyed kaz, jesper and wylan's appearance (a breath of fresh air, really), it was, again, too much. writing out a whole damn heist while this book was supposedly about a king and country at war felt....redundant. especially with everything else that was ALREADY happening in this book.
the cameos. like i said i enjoyed the crow cameos but it just filled the book and felt in my honest opinion too fan service-y.
the apparat thing. let this man die. PLEASE. that last minute reveal of him wanting to build a new country under the pretender's banner with zoya as his saint was just....what. not only was it completely out of left field but it was unnecessary. i know leigh used it to trigger zoya's acceptance of her powers but she literally could've done that in ANY other way that would involve plot points that were previously mentioned.
the blight why the fuck would she call this "vampire" when there has been no previous mentions of vampires existing, that's RIDICULOUS. it made a grand entrance in the beginning of the books and then, like everything else, was swept under by everything else that happened in this book. its attacks are mentioned several times in this book, but the horror and the threat of it aren't built up enough to make it into the world destroying threat leigh tells you it is in the end. and it is only dealt with in the very end. second to last chapter. no, i'm not joking. if the blight was this important she should've dedicated WAY more time to it, to the search of the monastery. it just fell short in the end.
i could go on because, again, there was just TOO MUCH. but this would get too long. alas, let's move on.

i didn't know where else to put this but playing up genya and david's romance so it would hurt more when she killed david off was a cheap fucking shot.

the writing was disappointing, to say the least. after six of crows, i thought leigh would improve even further than she already had since the og trilogy but rule of wolves proved to be a regression. it is repetitive. the "banter" is generic and you can't really assign it to any character, the lines are practically interchangeable at times. she also can't seem to decide whether she expects you to have read her previous books in the grishaverse and know certain things or whether she wants to explain everything again. the explanations of events of previous books are quite frankly boring, and they happen again and again. not to mention that she even tries to explain the same things several times. i know what sun soldiers are, leigh. you've explained it 3 times in this book.

the darkling. the boogey man of the grishaverse. where do i begin? she should've let him stay dead. his presence serves next to no purpose. only in the end he's conveniently the only immortal being around to sacrifice himself to stop the blight. which brings me to my next big point: leigh needs to decided how the fuck she feels about him and how she wants to write him. because this is a mess.
i already have a bit of a grudge over his characterization (and inconsistency thereof) in the og trilogy but i'll leave that out of this today. so, let's focus on rule of wolves.
throughout this book the darkling swings back and forth between being a deeply troubled, ancient and powerful man, who starts to faintly doubt himself and what he has done in the past and a mustache twirling, cartoonish mega villain. and it is infuriating. leigh has him tell us his past, has him quietly yearn for kinship and for safety for the grisha, his people, and in the next moment he's back to making grand schemes of terrifying the population into obeying him. she paints him as sympathetic, a man that can be understood and then she randomly adds in more crimes he apparently committed. one second she has him help nikolai fight against fjerda and the next he suddenly wants to leave him to die. it doesn't add up. it's inconsistent. he tentatively starts to second-guess himself but in the end she has him declare that he regrets nothing he has done in a textbook villain monologue. it's ridiculous.
which brings me to my next point:

leigh has an agenda. it's clear as day, especially in this book. there are several scenes where she outright wags her finger at the reader, scolding them for daring to interpret anything in her works differently than she wanted them to. the most glaring of them all is the meeting between the darkling, alina and mal. very aware of the criticism of the ruin & rising ending, she has alina explain how actually, she didn't give up her powers, she was punished for being greedy like the darkling (because remember, he's the Big Bad Boogey Man) and now that she lives a quiet life tending to orphans with the man who really wanted her not to have her powers in the trilogy an elephant never forgets, malyen, she's happy. in this effort to justify herself, leigh bends alina so far out of character that she forgets she knows the darkling's name. yeah. she has characters mention several times that the darkling isn't deserving of redemption, in those words. yes, they actually say redemption. we get it leigh, you hate him.
then there's the double standard within leigh's magical system. she has a whole scene of a character talking about how the grisha powers are the "small science" and how everything needs to be in balance or else. yet zoya is part of this very conversation with basically unchecked power. she can master all summoner powers, she can read other's emotions, she has visions and of course, she can turn into a dragon. there's no established boundary to what zoya can do but balance is important. alright.
another thing that annoyed me a lot was the fact that leigh spent considerable time having her characters discuss humanity, the horrible position being at war puts you in, the terrible decisions one has to make and nothing groundbreaking ever comes out of it. lines like "we are all monsters now.", "i am the monster, the monster is me." and "mercy means nothing if we can't protect our own." are supposedly there to embrace moral grey areas, to show case how difficult decisions sometimes have to be made. yet, the darkling is condemned for his every action even though he did it to protect his people. it doesn't add up. either you fully embrace this moral grey space or you keep your fingers away. this flip-flopping is incosequential and annoying.
in general, leigh wants you to interpret her work exactly as she wants or she'll nag at you through her story telling. it's petty and not a good trait in an author.

the final fight with the fjerdans was....something. zoya flying in as a lightning spewing dragon seems like a fever dream and i honestly have no words. and the open ending with zoya sending word to kaz....please don't. let these books and characters rest. don't be cassandra clare.

yes, there were things i liked! i adore these characters, which is why i sat through this book in the first place. so, here's a list of some positive things:

- nikolai and zoya! their moments were incredible! i'm a sucker for royalty x general ships and they delivered. the scenes in zoya's garden and nikolai's confession tore me apart. why could we not have more of this?
- the crows! jesper and wylan being domestic and in love? sign me the fuck up! kaz still being a scheming bastard, outsmarting everyone and longing for his wraith? yeehaw baby!! inej sailing the seas unbothered, hunting slavers and being extra as fuck? what a queen
- the darkling's pov. when it was good, it was good. it made glaringly obvious all the potential that he had and i mourn it every day.

this book was a mess. there's no way around it. if you enjoyed it, if you loved it, good for you. i wish i was you. but for me this is a no. zoya, nikolai, i'm so sorry leigh didn't think that you could carry these books. you deserved more than this.

one last thing: how the fuck is jarl brum still alive after all of this?
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews560 followers
October 13, 2021
“All the Saints and their ugly mothers.”

Bardugo has outdone herself again! Based on a lot of reviews, I didn't expect this series to measure up to the standards set by SoC - and the first book did feel like a step down - but Rule of Wolves makes a phenomenal comeback! For me, this second book is right up there with SoC duology, and I loved every bit of it.

“I have a surplus of bad ideas,”

It feels repetitive to mention how much I've come to admire Bardugo's writing, world building, and character building, but, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge those excellent traits. I think she can make anything immersive enough to keep a reader engaged. But Rule of Wolves isn't 'anything'. It makes up nicely for the somewhat slower-paced King of Scars by delivering a highly eventful, and a thoroughly entertaining wrap up to the duology which is full of suspense, mystery and anything else one could hope for. Considering the length of this book (compared to previous ones), KoS could've easily been a trilogy. It certainly would've been possible with how much was happening in this book. I'm really grateful that Bardugo decided to pack everything here, and not to keep the readers waiting for a third book.

“I like to keep all of my potential assassins in one room.”

The story picks up from that annoying ending of King of Scars, but the author introduces a set of twists at beginning, to eliminate the predictability of the story. We get a couple of new POVs, and some brief side quests to Shu and Kerch. It's a little difficult to say anything here without spoiling, so I'll just stop at saying there are some nice surprises waiting for SoC fans. I thought it would be annoying to read The Monk's POV, but it turned out good, if not amusing. Just like with King of Scars, even with the new POVs introduced here, more than half of the book orbits around Zoya: She is definitely the main character in Rule of Wolves. But I'm not complaining, as she has become one of my favorite characters in Grishaverse. Although, I feel she may be a little too over-powered here. The gloomy nature of Nina is not much changed, and I think Bardugo is not willing to make her character appear shallow by making her quickly recover over the loss of Matthias. I definitely hope to see her in future Grishaverse books. And finally, with beast or no beast, Nikolai is awesome as ever, and full of humor.

“We could play cards,” suggested Nikolai. “I’ve been working on a new poem—”(Tolya) “Or we could shoot ourselves out of a cannon.”(Nikolai) “A bit of culture wouldn’t hurt you.”(Tolya)

Saying the plot was eventful is an understatement for this one. There was so much happening, and it often felt like reading a sequel to SoC. The suspense kept on building, and the ending was spread throughout the last quarter of the book instead of confining it to the last few chapters. It made the ending much more satisfying, and helped tying up a lot of loose ends. It was nice, for once, to have a proper ending.

“I think strong men show strength, but great men show strength tempered by compassion.”

This time, with this being the last book and one with the big war, I thought I was prepared for loosing one or two characters towards the end, but Bardugo caught me off-guard. That bomb fell fell out of nowhere - literally and figuratively - and it was nearly impossible to recover from the melancholy it caused even after the end. And then, again, when it came to the last two chapters of Nina, Bardugo almost had me again. That could've broken the ending for me, but luckily, she must've been in a good mood when she wrote Nina's last chapter.

"I have a gift for order and a taste for chaos."

For me, I think this is the first time that a second book of a series worked out this well, by elevating the overall quality of a series. While S&B trilogy was good, I don't think I'll re-read it in foreseeable future. SoC was incredible, and I can't wait till I get to re-read the duology, but as both books of that duology were equally good, no surprise there. This duology had a very different effect. Although I did enjoy King of Scars, it didn't have that 'must re-read' quality. But Rule of Wolves made me re-think that. The second book was a huge step-up from the first, and it not only became great on its own, but also elevated the overall quality of the duology, making one certainly wish for a re-read.

“Love is not known for making men reasonable.”
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
June 13, 2021
This book would best be enjoyed by readers who are mega-fans of the Grishaverse characters and want to see more of them. Narratively however, this felt unnecessarily long and convoluted to me due to the number of character perspectives and storylines shoved in. I think the book would have been stronger if it the plot were more contained, rather than trying to expand the politics and magic system in ways that didn’t make sense, and if it had focused on a smaller number of central characters to fully develop them. This was supposed to be Nikolai’s duology plus Zoya as the other main character, and it feels like we lost that focus by doing too many other characters and storylines for the sake of pleasing fans. I’m all for Leigh Bardugo getting her coin since the Grishaverse is definitely making her bank, but I would have much preferred starting over with a new set of characters and problems within this world, rather than trying to continue storylines for existing characters that don’t quite work.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,747 reviews5,292 followers
Currently reading
March 8, 2022
Mark my words, on May 6th, 2018, that I'm calling it now: the title of this book needs to be... Queen of Mourning. Page 455 of Crooked Kingdom, y'all. King of Scars? Queen of Mourning? Doesn't it have such a good ring to it?!

... don't talk to me. 😑
Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
December 30, 2021
we have officially reached the point where i no longer really know what constitutes a good or bad installment in the grishaverse. ngl, rule of wolves was a big long messy mess but i had fun??? definitely haven't screamed this much while reading in a loooooooong time (rip my poor vocal cords).....zoyalai endgame was excellent too, and totally worth the wait <3
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,194 followers
Want to read
February 6, 2021
this book can slap me and i would still say thank you
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
April 24, 2021
omg. stop it. LB did NOT just make the final chapter a teaser for a third six of crows book. im screaming.

the entire book was worth it just for that alone.

5 stars
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,383 followers
July 18, 2022
Normal people: Rule of Wolves sound awesome

Me who read Crooked Kingdom & is still traumatized: Why does it have wolves in the title? :((((((
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
August 2, 2023
This book is my divine reward.

For years, I have been punished for being what many would call "stupid." I read books by authors I have never enjoyed. I continue series whose first book I two starred. I pick things up based on hype, when that has historically never worked for me.

And in return, I read disappointment after disappointment, book I don't like after book I don't like, synonym after synonym.


I should not have liked this book. I shouldn't have picked it up ever, let alone preorder it. And yet.


Look at that rating!!!

This book was extremely good, to me!

I did not like the first book in the original Grisha trilogy much, and yet I picked up the second. I did not like the second (to the extent that I had to DNF it, which has happened approximately 10 times out of 1200 opportunities), and yet I read the first book in this duology. And I did not care for that book AT ALL, and still I paid human money for this one before it even had a cover!

And for my faith and loyalty, God Leigh Bardugo has seen fit to give me this present.

This was just so good.

Even though it had a million perspectives, and even though I historically didn't like any of the characters they followed, I enjoyed just about EVERY ONE this time. Even though in the last book, the pacing was off and nothing happened and even when it did I didn't care, this was NONSTOP FUN and ACTION. Even though the characters I hated in prior books appeared in this one, I WASN'T MAD.

Add in appearances from characters I actually did like, and a romance I was actually invested in, and politics that were compelling AND logical, and I'm a happy camper.

A happy camper who has no choice but to believe that the universe revolves around her, and that this book being specifically for me is the proof.

Bottom line: NEVER GIVE UP! Annoy everyone around you with your cynicism and grumpiness forever. You'll be duly repaid.


in case it wasn't clear from the fact that i read a 600 page book in a day:

i liked this.

review to come / 4 stars?

currently-reading updates

a readathon in to finish as many of my unread books as possible seemed like a good idea.

then i remembered i own 80 of them and most of them are either extremely long or impenetrable classics. or both.

clear ur shit prompt 7: read a book with gold or silver on the cover
follow my progress here

tbr review

i did not like the grisha trilogy. i did not like the first book in this duology. but i did preorder this, because i'm LOYAL.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
June 21, 2022
3 ½ stars. Rule of Wolves, the sequel to King of Scars and the latest in the Grishaverse, is… all over the place. Containing both some boring elements and some fantastically compelling ones, I honestly didn’t love the first half. But after spending about half of this complaining, the last hundred pages had me on the FLOOR and also fixed at least 60% of my problems with it.

The plot is a bit scattered between different arenas. As the book begins:
▷Queen Makhi of Shu Han attempts to protect neice Akini, while her sister princess Ehri is alive and missing. Last book, Makhi had her assassin, Mayu, try to assassinate Nikolai, in revenge for Fjerda’s killing of her sister. Meanwhile, Nikolai and Zoya must also deal with Shu Han’s KerGud program, which fuses things to the bones of Grisha and corrupts their humanity.
▷The Darkling, resurrected last year by Elizaveta, is still trapped by Nikolai and Zoya. They hope he can stop the Blight, the real enemy of the novel.
▷Nina is trying to make fake miracles at the ice court under Brum’s eyes while spending time with his heir, Hanne. Meanwhile, she’s going full Rasputin in trying to manipulate Prince Rasmus of Fjerda and his mother, the two of whom are currently protecting Demidov, pretender to the throne of Ravka.

Several plot threads exist here, and I find two of three of them hugely compelling. The King of Scars duology focuses on the general beginnings of people believing in saints, falling into some interesting cultural trend storywriting. The focus on international politics is really compelling to me. In Shadow and Bone, there’s a tendency to focus on implication rather than genuine politic. The highlights of the novel tend to fall in its political machinations and power plays — [Spoiler]

While some wonderful work is done with the side characters especially towards the second half — [spoiler] — something was often missing to me. Half these characters are just… interior monologues, and not as much interaction as I’ve come to crave from Bardugo’s writing. The main enemy of much of the novel is an existential threat, a blight, rather than an actual character. This left me craving more with side characters such as Adric and Leoni and less with the Darkling.

I couldn’t shake the feeling through much of this book, actually, that I was reading the coattails of a past book. What worked so well about King of Scars was that, though of course we’re working with characters from past books, the development of Nikolai and Zoya felt new. They’d never had points of view, and thus could continue to grow and change.

Yet some of this book felt like doubling back to the first series in a bad way. While I genuinely like what’s done with The Darkling here — [spoiler] — I still think the Darkling being back is a lazy storyline. A new plot was needed. And [spoiler] Like much of the book, it’s riding the coattails of how beloved a character already was, rather than building something new.

But even with all of that, several points redeemed the novel for me. Zoya and Nikolai as characters are deeply compelling. Zoya and Nikolai each suffer from a syndrome I would like to refer to as “the irredeemable monster complex” — when a character is utterly convinced they are an irredeemable monster, and they are ready to keep that locked inside them for the rest of their lives. Zoya’s arc is a particular standout; her [spoilers] is one of the highlights of the novel. And Zoya and Nina’s relationship, which appears as a throughline, is so important to me.

Perhaps more importantly, the ending is absolutely pitch-perfect. The ties between the Nina arc and the Zoya/Nikolai arc is unexpected, but perfect. The conclusion to Zoya and Nikolai’s arcs together is utterly perfect to me, something I would not have considered but absolutely love as an ending. And I enjoy the ending to Nina and Hanne’s arc quite a bit as well; it’s bittersweet, but deeply compelling. Also, [spoiler] . Overall, while this novel wasn't perfect, it left me with a good taste in my mouth that I don't think I see clearing anytime soon. I'm so glad to have gotten to spend more time with this world.

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Profile Image for krista ☽✧.
172 reviews530 followers
April 28, 2021
This is what love does. In stories , love healed your wounds , fixed what was broken , allowed you to go on. But love wasn't a spell , some kind of benediction to be whispered, a balm or a cure-all. It was a single , fragile thread, which grew stronger trough connection , trough shared hardship and honored trust.....''

But maybe that was the trick of it; ; too survive , to dare to stay alive , to forge your own hope when all hope had run out. ''

summary/opinion , no spoilers off the previous books.
5 starsss✨✨✨✨✨👀
This book was such a journey once again created my the brilliant Leigh Bardugo. This book was everything i hoped for after finishing king of scars. It is a journey of people who fight four their country , the dream of a better world , a world where grisha will be free and where Ravka will be whole again , a journey of hope for the country and for the charracters own wounds. The story is about fighting for that hope and the dream and it is about healing your wounds mentally and accepting yourself the way you are with your past included. This book brilliantly got all the grisha books together and made all the individual stories connect as a whole in a brilliant way.

This revieuw contains spoilers for all the previous grisha verse books including king of scars. It also contains spoiler for rule of wolves itself but those are at the very last of this revieuw marked with bold spoiler tags !

Rule of wolves starts off right where king of scars ended. The darkling has returned like aloa bitches here i am again and he is now in a special cell in Ravka. It follows the povs we also had in the last book of ; Nikolai Lantsov who we need too protect at all cost who is now one with the demon inside of him and batteling for a better Ravka for the upcoming war against our lovely Fjerda , Zoya Nazalensky who is now one with the dragon and the spirit of Juris and who is fighting with her past and the acceptance of it while also batteling with nikolai against Fjerda and Nina Zenik who is still in the lovely Fjerda with Hanne and our lovely * cough * Brum trying too get information from the inside of fjerda too get too Nikolai. We also have some more povs in this book that i wont tell you about but which where intresting too the overall story.

The plot , world
The plot of this book was so freaking intense and just AMAZING. it is super fast paced and the stakes are high troughout the whole book , we have plently of plottwistst too keep us on our toes and makes us want too scream intoo the void very loud. We have multiple povs that show different sides of the story. The book is definitly charracter driven and driven on the struggles of the charracters and the orad towards fighting for a better future and accepting themselves but it is also very much plot driven , its just the perfect mix between these two elements that makes you connect somuch. The plot is just so intense and has lots of twistst and such a great plot/charracter driven combination that i live for.

Nikolai Lantsov , the person who looks like a cinnamon roll and actually is a cinnamon roll
Nikolai is officially my number one favorite male charracter. I love this male so much. Leigh created a very sarcastic charracter who has somuch hope in his heart and gives that hope too others and is willing too do anything for that better world and no matter how dark the days get he makes a new sarcastic comment and holds on too this hope and drives Ravka trough all the bad. But Leigh also really shows with his charracter that even if someone is on the outside very outgoing and cheerfull inside they can be struggeling and this is so important , Preach Leigh. My bby deserves nothing but happiness and this duology gave him somany more layers of depht. also he gives us amazing banter ,we stan him here on this page.

'' Is it the shadow inside you that makes you brave ? ''
'' I should hope not. i was making bad decisions long befor that thing showed up. ''

'' was that what drew him to this life as king ? He longed for peace for his country , but did some part of him fear it aswell ? Who was he without someone to appose him , without a problem to solve ? ''

Zoya Nazyalensky , the general who looks like like she could kill you and actually would
DAMN. what a female charracter. Zoya is so complex and her story really came too life in this duology. We have somuch more depht too her and her story really came together in this finale book. Zoya is brave and fights for the things she believes in and she is slowly going too the journey of accepting herself and her past , of letting love in instead of pushing it away because she is scared of getting hurt. I love watching her development somuch. Zoya chose mercy when it was so easy too chose vegance. this is what i call charracter development pREACH. This girl is amazing.

You are strong enough to survive the fall.

But that was an old voice , the voice of a hurt child who had no one to trust , who feared there would always be someone more powerful and cruel then her. She would forever be a bloodthirsty , furious girl , but she might allow herself too be something else too. If she had helped to earn piece for Ravka , then maybe she could grant her own heart a bit of piece aswell.

Nina Zenik , looks like a cinnamon roll but could actually kill you
Nina Zenik , my queen of waffles. This girl will forever be one of my favorite female charracters. She is brave , can be impulsive , loves waffles , is stubborn and wants her way , is passionate and loves very deeply and is sassy , Krizzie is that you ?? i relate too her a lot and i love her story in this duology , the story of grieve but about finding happiness again and about accepting the things that have happend and give it a place.

Also all the side charracters i still love , they all have their own personality and add something too the story and all the banter the charracters have together is too live for.

Romance I live for the slowburn between Nikolai and Zoya , they developt even more together in Rule of Wolves and i just screamed at all the scenes they have together. In my opinion they have somuch chemistry and the scene where nikolai follows her too the garden is cheff kiss. I also love their banter , no what i live for it. And the way they accept eachother for who they are with their flaws and how they can be themselves with eachother but OH THE SLOWBURN , the angst HELP.

Overall this is such a good sequel in this duology and i loved it even more then King of scars , the plot is constant full of action and high stakes and tension , the romance is slowburn and full of chemistry , there is great banter and amazingly worked out charracters OH AND emotional pain i warn you. i cried my eyeballs out at 1 am.

- THE CROWS OHMYLORD the crows appeared. i honestly screamed when kaz showed up and then Jesper bby and Wylieeee. AND THEN AT THE END INEJ. YES !!!! i loved how this book connected all the stories together. The story of the crows , the story of alina and mal [ yes they also appear and i actually liked it even tho i died a little when i heard mal speak ew. ] , the darkling and the charracters from this duology like this is just masterpiece work connecting all these pieces. AND THE BANTER OF THE CROWS. i wheezed so hard and my heart is happy.

'' because unlike Kaz , i have a conscience. ''
'' I have a conscience, '' said Kaz. '' It just knows when to keep its mouth shut. ''
Jesper snorted. '' If you have a conscience , its gagged and tied to a chair somewhere. ''

- Zoya becoming the dragon OHMYLORD I SCREAMED. this is just ugh. i sobbed and screamed.
- i loved having a darkling pov , it makes him even more complex and it was intresting too me too look inside his mind and it shows us that he is indeed just so afraid of being forgotten and being unremembered , alexander.
- THIS LINE I SOBBED ; '' Nikolai followed his queen trough the mountains and knew hope would leat them home. '' ZOYA BEING QUEEN YES.
- the transgender rep of Hanne !!! i love this and saw it coming. i love how leigh includes this without it being forced.
- i still dont like Nina with Hanne a lot but i am glad they are happy. i just dont stan but the romance is good. But i just want matthias bby oops. i am biased.
- this line from Nikolai too zoya. goosbumps everytime ; I will always seek to make it summer for you. '' fuck i am so happy they are endgame and happy together now. they deserve it somuch. Thier chemistry is just +++++++
- THE PAIn , david his death fucking broke me and i am still a mess. on the fucking wedding day Leigh is a monster. i hate her yet i love her.

last quote i swear ; '' Then i would gladly be your prince , your demon consort , your demon fool.'' '' you will grow to hate me. Im too sharp , too angry , too spitfeful. ''
'' You are all of those things , but you are so much more , Zoya. Our people will come to love you not despite your ferocity , but because of it. Because you showed mercy in our darkerst hour. Because we know that if daqnger comes again , You will never falter. give us that chance. ''

''Get a message to the crow Club'' she said '' Tell Kaz Brekker the queen of Ravka has a job for him. '' FUCK WHAT A WAY TOO END THE BOOK , I AM 100 % SURE NOW WE ARE GETTING ANOTHER SIX OF CROWS BOOK AND I AM SCREAMING STILL.

read this book , be in pain and be happy. NOW
Profile Image for Nash (all too unwell).
324 reviews881 followers
September 15, 2021



Profile Image for Mariah.
1,221 reviews450 followers
March 31, 2021
"Maybe that was the trick to it: to survive, to dare to stay alive, to forge your own hope when all hope had run out."

This all started in Shadow and Bone, and seeing how far we have come, all that these characters have gone through to get here is just

I honestly don't understand how people skip that series and think they can fully grasp the impact of what goes down in the SoC and N duologies ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Some non-spoilery thoughts for you:
-How I went from hating Zoya to her being my favorite character in the series is just... Hats off Ms. Bardugo.
-I thought I couldn't despise the Darkling more than I already did?? But then Zoya's POV, and Genya's reflections on their time at the Little Palace and the stuff that went down during TGT just doubled that. So there's that. Fuck the genocidal gaslighting asshat.
-I will never hear the word 'Privateer' and not giggle.
-The way this is relevant and relatable. The diversity. The impact. Wowww.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,310 reviews44.1k followers
August 27, 2022
This series already started growing on me as I read more about characters’ POVs and getting more connected with them, being wooed by the mesmerizing world building and more action packed, riveting storyline, multiethnic, crowded, varied characterization with LGBTQ representation, the epic journey and mind blowing cliffhanger which makes you bang your head against the wall a few times because you need to wait for the next book to learn what’s gonna happen next and you keep praying the author determines good faiths to your favorite characters!

The story takes off where the things left off at the first book with blazing, whirlwind start.

Nikolai’s dealing with the bastard rumors which threatens his reign and focuses on complicated trade relationships, his soon to be bride is gone thanks to his sister’s big plan to get rid both of them at the wedding day.

And poor Zoya is dealing with the burden of more dangerous assignments which forces her to face with Darkling as Nina works as a spy, living a double life, around Fjerda to find proof to silence the bastardy rumors and learn more about their secret war tactics to be used as leverage, confused with her feelings about Hanne.

But a mysterious blight’s sudden appearance changes the game. The blight starts destroying everything at its path which forces Nikolai does something imminent to save Ravka before things are getting out of control.

As we may imagine the story ends with another cliffhanger which makes us bite our nails harshly .

It’s impossible not to awe of author’s powerful, detailed writing style I am truly jealous of and I can trade my husband’s one kidney to be nearly as talented as her and teaming with the amazing characters ( especially Nikolai and Zoya are my favorites) you feel closer at the ongoing chapters. I enjoyed this second book of the series more than the first one! I highly recommend you to be part of this journey! This is extraordinary!

Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
April 16, 2022
I’m on BookTube! =)

”Men who see too much have a way of losing their eyes.”
“And queens who trust too little have a way of losing their thrones.”

Don’t you love it when those bitter truths are thrown in your face? *lol* Queen Makhi and Yerwei were quite the duo and they continued to cause a lot of trouble in the second book. Despite that they weren’t an all too huge part of it though and I guess that was okay?! I have pretty mixed feelings about this series because on the one hand I absolutely adore Nikolai, Zoya and Nina, but on the other hand I always had the feeling that there could have been more?! It’s really hard to put this into words but I guess what it ultimately comes down to is that I didn’t enjoy the “King of Scars” duology as much as I thought I would.

I know I’m probably the only unpopular opinion here (at least when you look at all those raving 5 star reviews) but at the end of the day all I can do is to add my two cents and to hope that people will understand where I’m coming from. I mean 3,5 stars rounded up to 4 is still a great rating, because I DID enjoy the book, it just wasn’t what I expected? Hoped for? Wanted? XD Of course Leigh Bardugo can write her story the way she wants to, she’s the author after all, but I personally think there was a lot of potential that was lost somewhere along the way. No matter if it’s the storyline of the Starless Saint or how everything worked out with the Fjerdans in the end. There were so many possibilities how things could have developed and changed but most of them weren’t even used or used in a way I couldn’t get behind.

I know it’s always tough to write a good and well-rounded ending and I guess there were just too many things to handle after the final pages of the first book, but I still wish some of them would have been done differently. Anyway! My ship sailed, Leigh killed me once again and the conversations and easy banter were amazing and fun as always. So yeah, there were many things I enjoyed and that caused me to give this book four stars in the end. Before I go on and on I better just head to my spoilery characters section though and write all those mixed feelings down over there.

The characters:

Ravka is probably not the best place to be on a vacation right now, but we still hope you’ll enjoy our hospitality. Discover our new inventions and don’t get too close to our spoiler machine. It’s not functional yet and might vomit spoilers all over you! But who knows, maybe this is exactly your cup of tea: Wanna step a little bit closer?! ;-P


”How unfair. I have plenty of faith,” Nikolai objected.
Tolya raised a brow. “In what?”
“Good engineering and better whiskey.”

Me too, Nikolai, me too! *lol* I really love Nikolai Lantsov and he’s one of the most precious beans of the entire Grishaverse. (The only other bean at least as precious is Wylan. ;-P) Unfortunately my boy had a lot to deal with in this book and his character development definitely was more on the grim and serious side, which is understandable if you have to fight for everything your entire life. And boy did he fight! Nikolai gave everything for his country, his blood and sweat and tears, but in the end a small rumour was enough to kick him off his throne. I hated this so much because, yes his father was Opjer but his mother was still the queen of Ravka and he was more of a king than anyone else that claimed their right on the throne. It was unfair but I suppose that’s how people are. Just because he wasn’t the king’s son and had a demon within him they turned their backs on him and decided they wanted another leader. The injustice of it all... I’m still not over it and it makes me so angry!! T_T My precious Nikolai deserved better than this. After everything he did for his country... he deserved better than this... *sobs* I mean yes, he’s still somewhat the consort of the new queen but urgh he almost died for them, he bled for them and that’s how they thank him for it?! >_<

”War was like fire – sudden, hungry, and easiest to stop before it had taken hold. He would do all he could to contain this blaze. He feared for his country and for himself. He’d be a fool not to. But some part of him, maybe the privateer, maybe the demon, maybe the prince who had clawed his way to the throne, was itching for a fight.”

”Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up – even when all hope is lost.”

”All over Os Alta today, there are funerals. People are grieving. We are facing a new and terrible challenge, a different kind of enemy and a different kind of war, but just as we grieve together, we’ll face this new enemy together. We will fight just as we grieve, side by side.”

”He was happy to pick up a sword or a pen on Ravka’s behalf, to go without sleep or comfort in order to see a mission through. But kings didn’t take action – not the way that a privateer or even a general could. Being a king meant second-guessing every move, considering countless variables before making a decision, knowing that each choice might have consequences that others would pay for.”


”She could never be sure if it was her own voice or Juris’ that spoke in her head. She only knew that his presence within her was real. No figment of her imagination could be so irritating.”

Ahh Zoya! My queen had a really nice character arc and I’m very thankful for that. I loved to see how she forged her own path and figured out how to resolve her issues. I think the most important thing for her was to accept herself and to learn how to love herself, because if you don’t do that you’re not open to let other people into your heart. The only person that stood in her way was Zoya herself and I’m glad she finally opened up to others and allowed herself to be human. It didn’t only make her stronger but also a better person. Or dragon?! I cannot not talk about her turning into a fierce dragon because OMG!!! That scene was totally amazing! Ravka’s new queen is quite literally a fire breathing dragon saint! *lol* Also I have no idea why their people accept a dragon on the throne but not the kind of monster Nikolai has become, because erm yeah... both not exactly human, but okay?!

Sweet words and grand declarations were for other people, other lives. She brushed the hair back from his face, placed a kiss on his forehead. “I would stay forever if I could,” she whispered. He wouldn’t remember anyway.

”Did she want to forget? What a gift that would be. To never feel as humans did, to never grieve again. Then it wouldn’t be so hard to leave this room. To shut the door on what might have been. To say goodbye.”

”And if something happened to him on that battlefield? She’d been too afraid to say yes to him, to show him the truth of her longing, to admit that from the first time she’d seen him, she’d know he was the hero of all her aunt’s stories, the boy with the golden spirit full of light and hope. All Saints, Zoya wanted to be near that light, she wanted to feel the warmth of it for as long as she could.”

”She would forever be a bloodthirsty, furious girl, but she might allow herself to be something else too. If she had helped to earn peace for Ravka, then maybe she could grant her own heart a bit of peace as well.”


”Her friendship with Hanne had helped to heal that wound. This mission, this purpose had helped, but the pain was still there and she suspected it always would be. His life had been stolen from him, and Matthias had never had the chance to find his own purpose. I served it, my love. I protected you. To the very end.”

So while Zoya and Nikolai fought for Ravka, Nina continued to be the spy in their enemies’ home. Which was a necessary role but still didn’t satisfy me? I mean I get why Nina remained in her role as a spy but I really wish her character’s story would have gone in a different direction. Especially at the ending. I mean she lost so much and all this just because of Brum and the Fjerdan’s old beliefs that Grisha are witches, yet she still stays in Fjerda to change the country for the better and this even as Mila and not as herself. *sighs deeply* I don’t know why Nina and Hanne being doomed to be in someone else’s skin for the rest of their lives is getting to me so much... but I think it has to do with me feeling good in my own skin? I remember being upset about Wylan posing as Kuwei and how much I hoped for him to be tailored back into his old self. It’s just... it doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s because I’m gender fluid and it took me so long to understand myself and to be able to express my male and female side. The fact that you’d be stuck in a body that isn’t yours and this for the rest of your life? It’s just... argh! *shudders* I don’t like this idea. At all.

”You are the lowest form of man. Without honor, without integrity. Djel djeren je töp.” Djel turns his back on you.
“Mila!” Ylva gasped.
Brum’s lips flattened. “You are no longer welcome in our home.”
Nina laughed. “I don’t keep company with vermin. My place is with the wolves.”

The Darkling:

”Human life is worth preserving. But human lives? They come and go like so much chaff, never tipping the scales.”

And here is another plot line that could have been so good but ended up being a wasted opportunity. I mean what exactly was the point in bringing the Darkling back into the game? Aside of the nice talk he had with Alina and Mal he didn’t really add anything important to the story. His followers were in no position to give him the power he craved for and his fruitless journey to sainthood was pretty disappointing, dull and unnecessary. The only thing his character was good for in the end was to stop the plague from spreading. And he did it willingly... I mean the most egoistic and notoriously pitiless character ever just allowed them to spike him on a huge thorn in order to stop the blight?! Suffering for eternity and going through immeasurable and excruciating pain. Did I miss a memo?! Apparently he only came back to fulfil that purpose but it was a story line I just couldn’t wrap my head around, especially because his sudden willingness to sacrifice himself for others was so out of character. >_< Why Leigh?!

”He would go to the Fold. He would find those who followed the Starless Saint.
He would teach the world awe.”

Prince Rasmus:

”It’s hard to believe in a god that would deny me breath.”

The Prince of Fjerda and his servant Joran. Pff... another storyline I have to pick a bone with. I really liked the idea of the prince of Fjerda having a good heart and understanding the needs of his people because his health has been bad ever since he was born. He could have had such a unique outlook on things and strengthened by Hanne’s powers he could have changed Fjerda for the better. But nope, that’s not the story we got. Rasmus turned out to be an even worse tyrant than his father and Brum and in the end he died because Hanne was forced to kill him. I dunno about you but for me this was like a slap in the face. XD Not happy about Hanne and Nina posing as the prince and Mila for the rest of their lives. I mean Hanne might be okay in his body (she could have tailored herself male though and she could have still been herself) but Nina in Mila’s body and this until she dies... Okay I won’t say more.

”I know the way people talk about me. I know they wish I hadn’t been born at all and that my little brother could be the one to inherit.”
Hanne’s face was fierce. “Well then, you must stay alive to spite them.”

The relationships & ships:

Zoya & Nikolai:

”What they had endured on the Fold had connected them in some way, and he knew he would see Zoya when he turned – yet the sight of her struck like a sudden change in the weather. A drop in temperature, the crackle of electricity in the air, the feeling of a storm coming on.”

Zoyalai!!! My ship finally sailed and gosh was I happy about it! Those two were killing me with their tender moments, soft touches and easy banter. <333 Whenever they were in a scene together you could basically feel their chemistry crackling on the pages. I’m kinda sad we didn’t get even more of their moments because they were all so special and sweet, but I guess it’s better this way, because otherwise this would have turned into a lovey dovey romance and we all know Zoya isn’t exactly the romantic kinda girl. XD We’ll leave that to Nikolai because I’m sure he’ll spoil her senseless. *lol* Still, it took so long for Zoya to admit her feelings for him and I was so angry at her after the talk they had on the ship. I mean it almost took Nikolai dying for her to realize that she could have lost him forever. Then again this was totally in character for her so I can’t be mad at her. XD Also ADKFASLDFJSALKDF why is Nikolai so soft!!?? I can’t with him. I want a Nikolai Lantsov in my life! <333

Zoya sat down beside Nikolai on the bed, trying not to jostle him.
“You must be still,” she murmured.
“Don’t go.”
He shut his eyes and gripped her hand in his. Zoya knew the Healer had noticed it, knew he would probably gossip about it later. But she could weather the gossip.

”All Saints, are you saying I haven’t seen you at your worst?”
Zoya tossed her hair. “If you had, you’d be under the covers, gibbering prayers.”
“A unique way of getting me into bed, but who am I to question your methods?”

”I would give you a crown if I could,” he said. “I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn.” He reached into his pocket. “And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day.”

She raised her hand and let her fingertips trace the line of his beautiful jaw. He closed his eyes. “We would go on, you and I. If I couldn’t be queen, you would find a way to win this battle and save this country. You would make a sheltering place for my people. You would march and bleed and crack terrible jokes until you had done all you said you would do. I suppose that’s why I love you.”
His eyes flew open and his face lit in an extraordinary grin. “All Saints, say it again.”

She didn’t want to ask. Her pride forbade it. But her damn pride had cost her enough. She looked away. “And if ... if I wished for more?” She felt his fingers on her chin, turning her head. There was an unwanted ache in her throat. Zoya forced herself to meet his gaze. In this light, his hazel eyes looked almost golden.
“Then I would gladly be your prince, your consort, your demon fool.”

Nina & Hanne:

”I know all the things that aren’t good for me. And I want them just the same.”
Nina’s throat was dry. “Do you?” she asked quietly. “Want them?”
Hanne’s copper eyes glowed like topaz. Slowly she nodded. “Since the moment we met. Since you charged into that clearing like a girl I had dreamed into being.”

Their ship was okay in here but I’m still not convinced by it, which is such a shame because I’m usually the first one to support an f/f ship. For some reason this one just didn’t do it for me though?! I had the same problem with Mia and Ash when I read “The Nevernight Chronicles” and I can’t exactly put my finger on it but their relationship just didn’t work for me. It was too sudden, too convenient; there wasn’t enough chemistry between the two. It all just felt very... flat and not passionate enough?! I dunno. Considering they were hiding their love in front of their enemy’s eyes, there should have been a firework of emotions and all-consuming passion but there just wasn’t?! I dunno. Still feeling pretty meh about that ship. >_<

”Can you love a murderer?
“I might ask the same.”
Hanne hesitated. “And can you love me in this body?”
“It is your heart I love. You know that, don’t you?”

Genya & David:

”You will sit yourself down and let me make sure you don’t have a concussion. Then you will have a cup of tea. And then, if I’m feeling generous, you can talk to David about things that explode.”
“You do realize I’m the king?”
“Do you?”
Nikolai looked to David for help, but David just shrugged. “I don’t argue with my wife when she’s right.”

All I can say to that is: LEIGH WHY????!!!!! WHY???!!! WHY??!! I don’t get it! Why did David of all people have to die?! Genya suffered so much already and now you take the love of her life?! David’s death was at least as needless as Matthias’s death and I don’t know why Leigh insists on killing off sweet and gentle characters!! I will never be okay with that... Never!!! T_T *cries an ocean full of tears* Genya and David would have deserved to be happy. T_T I can’t say more than that....


Despite being in one hell of a reading slump when I started to read “Rule of Wolves” I really enjoyed the book once I got out of my slump and actually picked it up. The characters are all close to my heart and I adore them so much. Still, there was a lot of lost potential and I just couldn’t overlook it. I mean yes, when it comes down to it, the book was still amazing and enjoyable to read, I just would have wished for a little bit more when it came to certain characters and their development/character arc. All told, this was still a fun ride and if you loved the Grisha trilogy and “Six of Crows” you’ll definitely like this one as well.


Okay, as it seems "past-me" was super optimistic.
Did I really think I’d read this around Christmas 2020? *lol*
Oh well, August 2021 is just a year later. And we’re getting closer to Christmas again... Christmas 2021, I might add. ;-P

Anyway! I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen with Zoyalai and Nina!
Also I can’t even imagine how Leigh wants to wrap up this story with just one book but hey, that’s why I’m here to find out. XD
So bring it on, Leigh! I’m ready!

How come we've a
and even a freaking PUBLICATION DATE??!!
How could I miss this? O_o

Guess it's about time I read the first book soon!
(in my case this probably means I'll get to it around Christmas! *lol*)
Let's hope I'm not right with that prediction... but you know, the struggle is real!!

Too many great books, too little time to read them! XD
Profile Image for Maryam Rz..
220 reviews2,754 followers
Want to read
August 23, 2020
UPDATE #2: cover title synopsis 😱
*is overwhelmed and dies*

Cover? GORGEOUS as usual *swoooons*

Title? AWESOME and thankfully not Queen of Storms—I’d have personally jumped out a window if the sequel continued to be Leigh fangirling over Zoya and forgetting Nikolai existed.

Synopsis? HOLY. Could this be everything I’d wanted King of Scars to be? Will we finally get Nikolai being a charming and kingly scheming boyo stealing all our hearts? Will there be Nina as an awesome awe-inspiring spy who’s making Kaz proud? I can only hope.

Book series playlist: Spotify URL


UPDATE #1: we have a release date and it's March 30th 2021 and I'M NERVOUS DHHWJSJWJ


This sequel could both be the worst and the best thing ever! It all depends on Leigh Bardugo. I'm begging you: please don't disappoint me!

Things I want: am I the only one who...

• has been waiting for Nikolai to be the actual character whose story we're reading and not Zoya?
• has been waiting for the powerful and dark Ulla to make an appearance? *wicked grin*
• is begging for Inej or Kaz to pop up?
• has been waiting for [spoiler for Ruin and Rising] to make an appearance? *hopeful eyes*
needs a reunion between [spoiler for King of Scars] ?
• wants to see [spoiler for Ruin and Rising] have a child who happens to be Grisha? With special powers?
• would love an inside look into Shu Han?
• wants to see [spoiler for King of Scars] do his thing and just outwit people?

Things I'm anticipating: To read...

• what havoc Nina is gonna wreak, and her hopefully pulling off a higher level of Six of Crows!
• her romance grow even more!
• about Hanne's conflicts when the time comes for her to make a dreadful choice.
• my terrifying [spoiler for King of Scars] fully back in action and not turning into a pathetic loser against [spoiler for King of Scars] .
• Nikolai slaying it with his scheming, with even more twisted political intrigue!

Things I'm dreading: To read...

• another 500 pages about Leigh being too obsessed with Zoya and forgetting whose story she's writing. because I swear King of Scars was just things happening to Nikolai and he wasn't doing anything, just in the sidelines. Only the last chapter was him in action.

• Nikolai becoming a pathetic puppy around Zoya and everyone talking about how great they are together and no one seeing Zoya's hypocrisy in constantly undermining him despite saying that she respect him (focus on the saying/ as it doesn't actually happen. He's a goddamn genius, not a helpless king who can't even tell his general off when she disobeys his orders.

• thousands of words forcing Leigh's opinion on me with how she's so desperately in love with Zoya and how she is ‘the best thing ever’. I love Zoya, but I don't want to read a fangirl's account. Zoya is too full of hate and anger and wants to kill first, ask questions later, and Leigh keeps praising her for it.

• Zoya now being the most powerful character all of sudden and the whole world being in her reckless hands, and her succeeding in exacting revenge from [spoiler for King of Scars] .

• [spoiler for King of Scars] If that occurs I will never ever go near a Grishaverse book again because that world will be lost to me!

My review of KING OF SCARS (Nikolai Duology, #1): CLICK TO READ REVIEW
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,586 followers
June 22, 2021
4.5 stars

“War was like fire—sudden, hungry, and easiest to stop before it took hold. He would do all he could to contain the blaze. He feared for his country and for himself. He’d be a fool not to. But some part of him, maybe the privateer, maybe the demon, maybe the prince who had clawed his way to the throne, was itching for a fight.”

Rule of Wolves is everything King of Scars should have been. I complained in my review of KoS that it felt meandering and lacked a coherent plot beyond a fanservice Nikolai book. RoW is much more tightly plotted with bundles of action. Something happens in every single chapter that moves the overarching plot along.

Mal and Alina show up, though I honestly don't give much of a fuck about them. (The Netflix adaption made me like Mal, though I maintain his book counterpart is insufferable) What I cared about were the Crows and thank the Saints, I got my wish. I'm not going to lie—it's very deliberate fanservice the way Kaz, Jesper, Wylan, and Inej make appearances. But I just wanted my Dirtyhands content, so Cynical Natalie can shut the eff up. The ending of the novel also sets up a very clean opening for SoC #3 despite Bardugo saying she's going to take a break from the Grishaverse for a while. At ease, my loves, we will most definitely get more Brekker content.

Freddy Carter as Kaz is so perfectly cast, by the way. The whole cast is.

I love Nina’s character arc, how she heals from grief but not completely erasing Matthias from her memory. Love that strong leaves a mark and though it no longer hurts, Nina will always miss him. The advent of new love is done so well, so lovingly for lack of a beetter word. Hanne and Nina are an amazing pair, and I especially like

Zoya’s journey is wonderful, too. In many ways, she’s the true star of this duology, not Nikolai. We knew her as the classic mean girl in Shadow and Bone, a grudging ally to Alina in Ruin and Rising, and now a general who has seen too much war and has hardened her heart against emotion as a result. She’s bracing like a strong drink, as Nikolai says. It’s amazing watching her character develop from its one-dimensional stages to this nuanced woman who is both fierce and tender-hearted, brave and afraid, desiring Nikolai and yet too scared to come closer.

Don’t worry, Nikolai isn’t completely left out. Outshone as he is by the two leading ladies, he still finds opportunities to do the improbable and protect Ravka while cracking jokes. God, I love him.

The Darkling gets a few chapters as well. His ending is fitting, I guess.

All in all, a fulfilling (temporary) end to the Grishaverse.

My review of King of Scars
Profile Image for Pine tree leaf stick.
188 reviews298 followers
July 16, 2021
*shocked silence*
*clears throat awkwardly*

This was great.
It took me almost two months to read because school exists, but man it was a great time.

This was my most anticipated release of the year, and my queen Leigh Bardugo thankfully did not disappoint me.

I really have no idea how to write a coherent review of this because I just love everything.

I feel like Leigh Bardugo's books are more centered around characters, rather than the plot. So like Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, and Kind of Scars, this book did revolve more around character development and relationships between characters than around the whole "war" thing.

Despite that, the plot was also developed well, because of course we just got everything going on here. There was sort of a slow buildup to everything, and then shit really went down at the end.

I don't even know what I'm saying, I'm just completely shocked and it doesn't help that the song I'm listening to right now is making me unable to think properly.

I love them.
Zoya is a goddess.
Nikolai is...well...Nikolai. Sarcastic, overconfident, absolutely perfect. Obviously.
I have zero complaints about Nikolai and Zoya. I think their characters were developed well, as was the relationship between them.

Nina and Mayu also had chapters in this.
Nina's storyline was pretty interesting, but I found it kind of boring at times. I also feel the relationship between her and Hanne could have been developed better. But I love Nina anyways.

And not gonna lie, I would reach Mayu's chapters and go count how many pages her chapter was because I didn't like those ones as much.
So that was less than enjoyable.
But I'm not going to take a star off for that because no.

I'd just like to take a moment to appreciate how well Leigh Bardugo works diversity into her books.
I just like how it doesn't feel like it's being shoved down my throat. It's just there and not seen as a big deal by anyone, which I think is great.

Overall, I loved this. I think I cried three times. I got my super plot twisty ending, which is just always what happens with these books. I love the characters.

I got the Kaz Brekker cameo that I wished for.
The crows weren't around for very long (understandable, given that this is Nikolai's series), but in the couple chapters that they were present, I was literally screaming the whole time.
So many quotable moments.
Peak entertainment.
--spoilers for the ending--

Is that all?

I really don't feel like proof reading this, so if there's a typo, I don't want to hear about it. Maybe I'll find it later.

5/5 this Grishaverse is everything
Profile Image for Samantha.
441 reviews16.8k followers
September 10, 2021
Ok this was much better than book 1, but I still stand by the fact that this really wasn’t a duology about Nikolai and that this duology really didn’t need to happen - there were a lot of choices that I disliked in this series overall. There were a lot of plot points thrown into this one story that I think could have used more time. But, the ending of this book wrapped things up rather nicely, and this book had a lot of scenes that reminded me why I love this world and Bardugo’s storytelling. I do hope we leave Ravka and these characters here, as I don’t think we need to revisit them anymore. Let them REST.

I will have a full review and discussion on my channel this month.
Profile Image for daria ❀.
313 reviews2,277 followers
April 24, 2021
4/18/21: amazing brilliant wonderful incredible never been done before!!!!

oh and re my original review: i got what i wanted and THEN SOME

watch this book kick my ass live right here: https://youtu.be/Na7PF8O3Esk

1/3/19: i will be coming to collect my zoyalai endgame this time around!! BOW DOWN TO THE KING OF SCARS & THE QUEEN OF STORMS 🤴🏼👸🏻
Profile Image for Gabs.
198 reviews164 followers
June 9, 2021
3/5 ★★★☆☆

“Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up—even when all hope is lost.”


So... this was kinda disappointing. At first, I was delighted with the book despite all its political plot, but then a lot of things started happening that ruined it a bit for me.

This will not be a review but rather a list of all my complaints (with spoilers) and the things I loved, so don't read on if you haven't read the book.


WARNING: This is just my opinion. I’m not looking to fight anyone. If you are here to comment hateful things, I will delete the comments and not reply.

Things I didn’t like:

1. David’s death. Does anyone want to explain to me what the point of this was? It’s clear that the author wanted to repeat the same formula of Crooked Kingdom to move us, only that here it wasn’t justified at all. His death changed absolutely nothing or had a purpose, so it was unnecessary. Has Genya not suffered enough? Why did everyone get their happily ever after except her?

2. The Darkling's participation. Another completely unnecessary thing, which is a shame because I was excited to see what role this character was going to play in this book. He was just there, not really causing a stir and trying to create more drama.

And the ending? It was something out of the sleeve. After doing absolutely nothing important in a six-hundred-page book, the author decides to present him as some kind of hero and locks him up in a tree...


REALLY!? And as if that wasn't enough, now they feel bad for someone who literally murdered thousands of people and they want to free him 😬

3. Leigh destroyed Nina as a character. Yes, she did. Nina had always been characterized by her loyalty, her love for her country and its people. And now what? Are you trying to tell me that she's happy pretending to be someone she's not for the rest of her life? Do you mean to tell me that it seems perfect to her to leave her whole life and not return to Ravka? Seriously?
Her relationship with Hanne didn’t seem credible to me at any time. It was very forced, and I felt like Leigh wanted to introduce another LGBT character just to please her fans. We never really met Hanne after all.

4. Nikolai's demon. I love Nikolai and I laughed a lot with him in this book. He is definitely one of the best characters of the Grishaverse. However, he has been struggling with his demon since the Grisha trilogy... How is it possible that after so many books Leigh hasn’t given a solution to this problem? Yes, he already controls the demon and used it in the war, which was great. But is he going to stay like that forever? So many books to give us this as his ending? I’m not satisfied.

5. The ending felt too rushed. Everything was solved in like ten pages.




“Are they going to march us to our death now?” asked Jesper.
“No idea,” said Kaz.
Jesper cursed. “I wish I’d worn a nicer suit.”

The three stars were because, despite all, the book entertained me and made me smile several times. I loved the appearance of my dear Crows, I died with all the scenes between Zoya and Nikolai, and I really enjoyed all the drama with the Shu (it was very interesting). Besides, Zoya's development was extraordinary and Nikolai was everything.

Zoya as a Dragon Queen? Yes!

Zoya and Nikolai as a couple? YES! (It was fan service, I know. BUT I LOVED IT!)

Kaz protecting Inej? PLEASEEEEE!

Wylan and Jesper living together? I already died, bury me.

“I would give you a crown if I could,” he said. “I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn.” He reached into his pocket. “And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day.”


P.S. This cover gives me years of life 😍 It's perfect!
May 18, 2022
“Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up - even when all hope is lost.”

5 ‘deserving’ stars for the epic conclusion of the King of Scars duology. Another story set in Grishaverse and with an ending where everyone gets what they deserve, not necessarily what they wanted and fought for.

The Plot

The opening pages sets the scene of a spell binding and captivating story, with Makhi’s mother, who on her death bed and with the power of appointing the next queen, chooses her younger daughter, Princess Ehri, ahead of Makhi; the eldest. With a challenge, from Makhi, that she should rule, the queen replies

“… and yet no lesson has ever taught you kindness. No tutor has ever taught you mercy. You have a heart hungry for fear and I do not know why”

With the mothers’ words falling on deaf ears, Makhi becomes Queen with Ehri living captive in a world with little friends and in fear of a sister who wants her dead. However, the main story is about the inevitable battle between Fjerda and Shu Han, as the story switches between the worlds of a King, a General and a Spy.

The Demon King – Nokolai Lantsov who must fight against Fjerda and the demon inside him.

The Stormwitch – Zoya Nazyalensky – the General who commands the second army and has been building a powerful force behind the king. However, with her mentor dead and her worst enemy resurrected, Zoya must win this final battle as she fights against her heart and the love she cannot have.

The Spy – Nina Zenik and the Queen of mourning, in a separate storyline wages war against Fjerda from inside its capital.

All the threads come together in an epic story packed with political intrigue, fascinating world building, dangerous power struggles and dark magic. With a few romances thrown in for that extra bit of sweetness.

Review and Comments

The Characterisation is superb with the King, a General and a Spy making up the core cast, although there is no shortage of equally likeable and interesting characters. Yet, it was Nikolai’s humour that got me on this one, for instance when someone pointed out that his idea was a bad one. His response made me chuckle

“I have a surplus of bad ideas," said Nikolai. "I have to spend them somewhere.”

There were also some subtle messages important in todays world. For example, interested in engineering, Nikolai and his engineers discuss building a larger weapon to take into battle. To which Nikolai replies “when you build a large weapon you might want to use it… and before we build a weapon we have to decide what kind of war we want to wage” Wise words indeed. Because very often we see powerful weapons in the hands of the unwise!!!.

Another story set in Grishaverse and another book that highlights what a talent Leigh Bardugo is in this genre. I am really impressed with how Bardugo has tied all her books and mini series' together by some common thread, even though some of the characters and storylines are different.

The Rule of Wolves possesses the same intrigue, thrill and scheming I get from crime thrillers, but with heaps of imagination that transports you to a different world. A place that provides total escapism in parts, gentle reminders of what is important in life through the dialogue and with the customary message of hope through darker times.

Magical, absorbing, tormenting, and compulsive – what more could you ask for!!!
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
December 1, 2021
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best young adult fantasy & science fiction 2021! WHAT WILL HAPPEN LET’S FIND OUT!

None of this had been fated; none of it foretold. There had been no prophecies of a demon king or a dragon queen, a one-eyed Tailor, Heartrender twins. They were just the people who had shown up and managed to survive.

But maybe that was the trick of it: to survive, to dare to stay alive, to forge your own hope when all hope had run out.

this is the second book of the third series set in bardugo's sprawling grishaverse, so unless you're already invested in this world, this review will be useless to you, and if you are already invested in this world, you don't need me to tell you why this book is so awesome.

to be honest, i didn't love the first book of this duology—King of Scars. her writing is always spectacular, but i was a little who cares-y about central-character nikolai, whose glibness can be a bit wearying. there were definite high points, but it just didn't grab me.

this one grabbed me.

this one was...huge.

it was everything i wanted, and a perfect example of what bardugo does so well: she's an expert plotter, she presents morally complex characters who are neither heroes nor villains, she backs her characters into impossible situations whose eventual solutions are often completely unexpected, but not cheat-y, and she's willing to kill off characters—most of whom stay dead.

this one is all Big Important themes and oppositions: war and its cost, technology and...its cost, the uneasy relationship between magic, religion, and science, the conflict between tradition and progress, and how some will see miracles where others see only monsters.

it's also about doing a necessary thing no matter the consequences.

there are so many characters, so many different perspectives, so many spinning plates and fragile relationships and loss—layers of strategy and sacrifice, diplomacy and sacrifice, responsibility and sacrifice, restraint and sacrifice. did i mention sacrifice? it's a lot to keep track of, but it is all impeccably managed.

i'm really glad i read The Lives of Saints before this one, because although it's just a series-companion-book, it does connect, although you won't miss out on anything if you haven't read it.

and YES, some beloved characters make an appearance, some in substantial roles, and some mere cameos, but the ending makes an intriguing promise about the next plotline, and i am ready.

some pull-quotes:

on being underestimated: No one takes care to guard against a dull blade.

on sainthood: I will give them salvation until they beg me to stop.

on being a woman, a mother, a daughter:

"What we want...what we want for ourselves and for our daughters has never been the question. Only what we can bear."

Survive this place. Survive this life. Find someone to protect you since you're not fee to protect yourself. Sire children. Pray for boys. Pray the strange and willful daughter you raised will somehow find her way. Fear for her, watch over her, realize your fear and your watchfulness mean nothing when the storm comes on.

on magic and power:

"And this creature"—Brum pointed at Zoya—"the Stormwitch or whatever abomination she's become. No one should have such power."

"I'll wager the same thing was said of the first man who held a gun in his hand."

i loved this book hard, and i’m even coming around a little bit on nikolai.

and, to go along with my "under the hood" photo in my King of Scars review:



i tried to read it slowly but now it's over and i miss it already.
review TK




i know it's only a month away now, but i want this so bad i'm about to start kicking things until it's mine

come to my blog!
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