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King of Scars

(King of Scars #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  106,780 ratings  ·  16,509 reviews
Face your demons... or feed them.

The boy king. The war hero. The prince with a demon curled inside his heart. Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. The people of Ravka don't know what he endured in their bloody civil war and he intends to keep it that way. Yet with each day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built.
Hardcover, First Edition, 527 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Imprint
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yue i love zoya, nikolai, and the idea of them together. even though she seems like the complete opposite of what nikolai “needs”, i think she’s a lot mor…morei love zoya, nikolai, and the idea of them together. even though she seems like the complete opposite of what nikolai “needs”, i think she’s a lot more suited to post-r&r nikolai than anyone else is, mostly because she knows what he’s been through and because she knows exactly who she is and what she wants. either way, we’ll be able to see a lot more of zoya’s qualities and motivations in this upcoming book (since it seems like she’ll be a pov character), outside of the descriptions of other characters who, inexplicably, have some sort of bias (alina & matthias, for example: the former resents zoya for most of the series for her looks, powers, and for seducing mal, while the latter still had internalized prejudice against most grisha).(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Andreea I feel the same way. I'm personally not over Matthias. I really liked him.…moreI feel the same way. I'm personally not over Matthias. I really liked him.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  106,780 ratings  ·  16,509 reviews

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chai ♡
[softly, from under a pile of blankets] what the hell was that ending?

I finished this book and the moment wavered in voluminous silence. And then, the whole world rushed in. Disbelief came first, then surprise. Then the full scope of the ending struck me with a pang of bewildered anger, that this unexpected and extraordinarily horrid thing should happen only for the story to just... stop.

So, as I said, what the hell.

The first book in Leigh Bardugo’s Nikolai Duology, King of Scars, picks up t
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
Updated with my opinions on the End! (Spoilers are hidden within a spoiler tag)

Hello all, and meet my ghost, who is currently writing this review.

First of all, I think there will be plenty of people who are not thrilled with the end, but I am LIVING for it (and I'll list my reasons at the bottom of this review under the spoiler tag). However - I did have some issues (like the pacing), and I'll talk about them below, but overall, Queen Leigh is so freaking brilliant. I am in utter and complete sh

“Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.”

Oh friends, it has been a long while since I read the concluding events in Ruin and Rising! Honestly? I probably really would have benefited from doing a reread. Yet, I will be the first to admit that I was complete Darkling trash back in the day, and I have grown a lot as a person and realized that he is someone that should
Emily May
He straightened the lapels of his velvet coat and winked.
“It’s not exciting if nothing can go wrong.”

I feel really disappointed that King of Scars - one of my most anticipated books of 2019 - was only a 3-star read for me.

I'm not sure if I'm being harsh or generous, honestly. It wasn't a bad book. Bardugo keeps growing as a writer and she especially shines with her dialogue. I liked the characters and relationship dynamics; I loved the funny, snarky conversations; I just felt like this boo
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
tea got spilled
facts got spoken
we're all shook now
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Maybe a 4.5*? I need to think about it a bit more because wow that ending.
✨    jami   ✨
reread 2021: the amount of lukewarm reviews on this book will never not shock me since I think it's Leigh Bardugo's strongest work thematically (or at least closely tied with Crooked Kingdom). Don't care what anyone says, it's good. I go more in-depth in my original review but this books depictions of grief and suffering are so powerful. the discussion about, women, violence, power and the cost of war are really well done. Nina, Nikolai and especially Zoya's character arcs are really well drawn ...more
Natalie Monroe
“Lesser animals whined and struggled when they’d been caught in a snare. The fox found a way out.”

I clambered for this book. I read the preview chapters the instant they came out and raged when my Book Depository preorder didn't arrive on the release day. (Y U do this to me every time, BD? I thought we were tight.)

Just a note: this book is not very accessible to readers new to the Grishaverse. I guarantee you’ll be confused. Six of Crows was accessible because it featured a new location and
The more time that passes...the more I realize that I did not and do not care about this book.

I was excited for it, for no real reason. Not only did I not finish the Grisha trilogy, I DNFed the second book (one of maybe 7 times I have ever ever done that in my whole life). I actually could not even force myself through it.

I had a passing interest in Nikolai, but that’s mostly because everyone on the internet screams about him and there are VERY few things I love more than jumping on a bandwagon.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

Do you remember holding this book in your hands for the first time, trying not to ruin the glossy golden cover with your unworthy, smudgy fingers while you're shaking from anticipation?

Well, I do. Which is why it surprised me that it took me a few chapters until I started enjoying myself. But when I did, it was a glorious experience. I was captivated by the political games, the intrigues, the miracles and myster
Tharindu Dissanayake
“What’s more romantic than goggles?”
"Constant anxiety does wonders for the complexion."

If I'm being honest with this review, I have to start by declaring that this is biased. I've come to love this world, and all characters in it, which makes it impossible to make an objective review anymore. How could one not be biased? You have some of the best characters from both S&B and SoC, and inherits Bardugo's beautiful writing style while maintaining connections to S&B and SoC.

“Speak, Nazyalensky. When
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into this with low expectations so I was pleasantly surprised that this book turned out to be a pretty solid spin-off. The central characters (Nikolai, Zoya, Nina) are much more compelling to read compared to how they were portrayed in the previous books - that includes Nina, whose story arc is much stronger. Bardugo continues her pattern of endearing characters and sharp dialogue. My main critique is that the book feels disconnected between Nikolai and Zoya VS Nina; it reads like two sep ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Reread 2021

Okay, wait!!! That ending ..................................................................................

This book was so freaking awesome and some sad and a good bit of OMG! I do have the hardback but switched to the Audible I have as well and the narration was great!! I’m not going to go on and on as I don’t any more, I just want to say I loved it!

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
”I’d like nothing better than another opportunity to talk,” said Nikolai. “But I’m afraid I have more bad news.”
Genya slumped in her chair. “There’s more?”
“This is Ravka,” said Zoya. “There’s always more.”

I swear this quote is SUCH. A. MOOD!!! *lol* The entire book is nothing but bad news and well, yeah this is Ravka. There’s always more bad news to come. XD Leigh didn’t just nail it with those words; she also set the pace for this doulogy! To be honest I had no idea this was going to be a doul
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
im sorry, the old nikolai cant come to the phone right now. why? oh, ‘cause hes dead.

I. AM. SHOOK. that glow up tho, amirite?!

nikolai lantsov. sturmhond. king of scars.
privateer and boy king.
remember who you are.
you are destined for greatness.
long live the one true king.

5 stars
may ➹
oh truly pains me to say that this would have been undoubtedly 5 stars if I didn’t dislike that ending so much

(4.5 stars and I am BITTER)
Elle (ellexamines)
“If men were ashamed when they should be, they'd have no time for anything else.”

You guys all know that I am a total fan of this universe, but I'll be honest: I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I really didn't love Shadow and Bone - actually, I kind of hated it - and subsequent books only disappointed me more. It was only my love for Six of Crows that kept me a fan of this world. But guys, this is a leaps-and-bounds improvement on the Grisha in terms of everything: t
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
By this point I am pretty sure Leigh is a Heartrender, because the pain I am feeling can not be caused by humans!

This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“The monster is me and I am the monster.”

🌟 Oh boy, it has been 3 months since I finished this and then went into a hiatus and here I am trying to remember how people actually write reviews. This may contain spoilers for the other books but I kept it sp
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars.

If you've been following me for a while, you would know I was excited to read King of Scars. I'll be honest, the Grishaverse has been sort of mixed for me. I liked Shadow and Bone, hated Seige and Storm, and really enjoyed Ruin and Rising (though not how it ended if you know what I'm talking about). Then I read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and I loved them. In my opinion, Leigh's Six of Crows series is the best one out of all of them.

So, when she announced King of Scars, I was alread
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This just came out today!!

I can't wait to find out what happens to my favorite character... but apparently I have to be a reasonable adult and finish Crooked Kingdom first :/
Charlotte May
"I always figured I'd die young...why not do it shoving my foot up that murderer's ass."

That ending?!???!!! 😱😱😱

Actual rating 3.75 stars

I, as so many other goodreaders, was BEYOND excited when I heard this book was coming out, I ordered it from the library as soon as I could, and my hopes were sky high.

There are 4 POVs, so I'll review based on each character.

Isaak: I can't reveal too much of Isaak's POV because spoilers. But he is a guard in Nikolai's palace, and when his chance comes to serve
Oh. My. GOD.

I am also oddly conflicted in a way I never thought I’d be about this book. My star rating may change over the next few days. Right now, my heart wants to give it 4 but my brain says 3.5. So 3.75?! I have such doubts.

Review and discussion to come on my channel... obviously.
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Note : This review will contain spoilers for Ruin & Rising and Crooked Kingdom.

People might not believe me, but I love nothing more than being proved wrong, and today's revelation is: King of Scars is actually a solid YA novel whose exploration of grief, power and suffering pulled me in and I was wrong not to give it a chance sooner. 

Driven by a nostalgic streak awoken by watching the TV show, I started this novel with more spoilers than expectations - my only desire was to meet Nina, Zoya and
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly cannot get enough of these characters. I went in to King of Scars thinking that Nikolai would continue to be my favourite character but boy oh boy did Zoya sweep me off my feet. Zoya is one of those incredibly well written, strong female characters that you cant help but respect and admire. Zoya and Nikolai have excellent chemistry and even better banter.

This is definitely more of a slow burn plot but i really appreciated that and enjoyed the deeper exploration of the magic system.
krista ☽✧
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.”

Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sails and carry you home...

4.5 starsssssss✨✨✨✨✨✨

first read - June 2019
Second read - March 2021

Okay sooo , First before we get to the actual revieuw this fucking ending like WHAT. on my first read i was dumb and didnt
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobooks
bitches who only read this for zoyalai>>>
Lucy Tonks
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.”

The ending for this book is just as scream worthy as I remembered. I really liked this book the first time that I read it, but it didn't reach the love level for me. Now it did, oh my god, it actually did. Why do I love this book so much? Why? Why am I so attached to these
Oh wow.

Before this book was released, I used to mark my calendar everyday for this book, but then this book came out and with it, all the 3 or 2 stars disappointing reviews, and my excitement dwindled. So I wasn't expecting to like it much, but I'm so surprised. I actually liked everything about this book, even the ending so many people were mad about. I read it during end-of-summer slump, so I did find some parts boring, hence the 4 stars. But overall this book was surprisingly good. I'm sure
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Well, all hail Nina! 😍



“All of those magical touches may not mean much to readers now, but they will when we travel back to Ravka with Nikolai — and some other familiar faces from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. I’m not saying who just yet, but I hope readers are as excited as I am to take the journey.”

I just peed a little.


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Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels 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 The Language of Thorns—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her othe ...more

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