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King of Scars

(Nikolai Duology #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  17,814 ratings  ·  4,695 reviews
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic with
Paperback, 514 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Orion Children's Books
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a faraway memory ♕ 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…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)
Janett Will Zoya be Nikolai's love interest? With her sultry persona and Nikolai's suave, bad boy vibe...I can totally see fireworks!
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Community Reviews

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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,814 ratings  ·  4,695 reviews

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شيماء ✨
[softly, from under a pile of blankets] what the fuck was that ending?

I finished this book and the moment dithered in timorous silence, searing and numb. It was as though the world was suspended for an intermission, waiting until the curtain is lifted and the next act can begin. Disbelief came first, then surprise. Then the full scope of the ending struck me with a pang of deep resentment, that this extraordinary, inexplicable thing should happen.

Look, I just want it documented somewhere that th
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 shouldn’t be r
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 book
tea got spilled
facts got spoken
we're all shook now
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 en
✨    jamieson   ✨
“Nikolai had always understood that he and Ravka were the same. He just hadn’t understood how: He was not the crying child or even the drowning man. He was the forever soldier, eternally at war, unable to ever lay down his arms and heal. Maybe because he knew he and his country were the same”


“It was angry, hungry, full of broken animal longing. Though Nikolai might not like it, those things were all a part of hi
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Maybe a 4.5*? I need to think about it a bit more because wow that ending.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
“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: the sheer
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)

this book has left me a shell of the person i used to be.

review to come


yes i am reading this book and no i haven't read the grisha trilogy. it's called living on the edge you should try it sometime


me: yeah nikolai is ok i guess but the grisha books are garbàge

leigh bardugo: *announces nikolai duology*

me instantly:
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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. But now I have to go back and finish the first trilogy and reread Six of Crows and this one again!

I do hope you guys enjoy this one 😊 Oh, I did
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 spo
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.
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
Cindy Pham
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
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
Update: What. A. Beautiful. Cover!!!
I love it! <333 And I soo need this book in my shelf! XD

I just saw the trailer to this book and I want to read it NOW!!!!!
Pleaseeeee!!!! Gimme, gimme, gimme!!!! *dies*
Sep 26, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
It's in my hands finally and I'm dying.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
update april 30 2018

"Nikolai journeys to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives, in order to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him" - I already want to cry? 😭😭😭 RIP me, please make sure my headstone says "here lies Destiny, who always knew beautiful books would be the end of her"


I would just like to say that waiting for this series was far less painful before I continued the Grisha trilogy and met Nikolai 😭😭😭
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Sep 26, 2017 marked it as to-read-not-released  ·  review of another edition
Twitter ✔
[image error]

I'm not saying that I'll hate you forever if you spoil me, but I'll probably hate you forever if you spoil me.

Sorry I don't make the rules \_(ツ)_/


Mal, opening his vacant eyes : Isn't it awesome that -


*throws confetti*

Note : Kaz, Nina, Zoya & literally anyone else accepted (bonus points if you're (view spoiler)


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.


Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audiobooks
emotional stability: gone
depression: chronic
tears: out

since i'm incapable of writing a thorough review i'll just compile all the memes i've made in the past week

me every time that darkling bitch was mentioned

me meeting isaak for the first time

me after what happens to him in the end


zoya nazyalensky's two moods:

me @ every nina chapter:

also not to be dramatic but every hanne and nina scene, especially all the parts where nina waxed lyrical about hanne's lips and hair, was gay as shit. they'r
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: give-it-to-me
In typical grishaverse fashion this book had about 87 million issues. Seriously nothing in this book sent me back to the shadow and bone days like those good old mixed feelings. I love Nikolai, Zoya and Nina dearly so it hurts to complain but this book was nothing more than an introduction, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about the fact that there's already 5 books setting up this world and these characters.

Even if this book was a mess and not even close to as good as I was expecting
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
★★★ /5
It was fun and entertaining read. It wasn‘t the best book I ever read, but the world and characters brought up that wonderful feeling of excitement and general interest. I wasn‘t really interested in all story lines, but it didn't bother me, so it was easy to read.

Before reading this book I had a few theories what this book will be about, but I still tried to be open minded and just enjoy time with characters I truly like. That Ending definitely was the best part for me and now I can‘t wa
"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."

part of the bad news in ravka today is my lukewarm response to this book, which is three stars rounded up to four in a panic.

and the only things iiii cared about this january was getting my booknerdy hands on In an Absent Dream, The Winter of the Witch, and this. i have been anticipating King
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For Love of a Book: King of Scars - Buddy Read June 14 17 Jun 05, 2019 05:44PM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo — Restarting May 3rd 2019 122 110 May 25, 2019 09:47PM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: Bardugo - King of Scars [February 5, 2019] 97 143 May 05, 2019 07:20PM  
spoilers 1 12 Apr 20, 2019 06:47PM  

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Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over three million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—with more to come. (To hear about new releases, tour dates, and giveaways first, sign up for Leigh's newsletter here.) Her short stori ...more

Other books in the series

Nikolai Duology (2 books)
  • Untitled (Nikolai Duology, #2)
“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.” 108 likes
“The monster is me and I am the monster.” 84 likes
More quotes…