Leigh Bardugo Returns to Ravka in Her New Series

Posted by Marie on January 2, 2019
YA fans know Leigh Bardugo for her Grishaverse novels: a collection of bestselling series that include the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.

In her latest addition, King of Scars, Bardugo revisits the fictional country of Ravka, which has been torn apart by magic and civil war since the events of Ruin and Rising. At the center of the aftermath is Prince Nikolai Lantsov, one of the most beloved supporting characters from Shadow and Bone. He's always been able to rely on his wit and cleverness to achieve the impossible, but assuming the throne will be an entirely new challenge that requires more than his roguish charm.

Here Bardugo answers all our questions about her upcoming book, including whether readers will see cameos from other Grishaverse characters, how Ravka has changed since the original trilogy, and more.

Goodreads: So many fans are excited about Nikolai Lantsov getting his own story. Why did you decide to return to this particular character?

Leigh Bardugo: When I first outlined the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I planned to kill off Nikolai in the second book. Alina was going to be framed for the murder. Lots of drama. Our heroine flees into the night.

Then Nikolai showed up on the page, and I had to scrap that entire plot direction because his character was just too much fun to write. From then on I knew I wanted to give him his own story, and I deliberately left doors open at the end of Ruin and Rising to make that possible.

GR: What do you love most about Nikolai Lantsov?

LB: I love his optimism and his ambition. He has a busy, inquisitive mind, and he's always at play with new ideas and even language. It drives him to goad others and himself. He's pretty much the definition of a royal pain in the ass.

GR: How do you think he would respond to the above?

LB: As long as he's being talked about, Nikolai is happy.

GR: Can you give us a hint as to what the title King of Scars alludes to?

LB: More than a hint. At the end of Ruin and Rising, the Ravkan people are aware that Nikolai endured some kind of captivity and torture during the war, and they've taken to calling him "King of Scars" because of the marks he bears. But they have no idea what he really went through. And at the start of the story, even Nikolai and his closest advisers don't understand the implications of what the Darkling's actions may have cost the king.

GR: What are the biggest challenges facing Nikolai in your new book?

LB: Nikolai is a young king with an empty war chest trying to rule a country with enemies on all sides. He needs money and he needs allies. But the demon inside him has other ideas. Nikolai is literally at war with himself.

GR: Readers are also excited to return to Ravka! How has it changed since the end of the Shadow and Bone trilogy?

LB: I think the biggest change is the impact of Alina's legacy. The girl is gone, but the Saint lives on and we see her influence everywhere—even beyond Ravka's borders.

GR: Will we see any cameos from other beloved Grishaverse characters?

LB: For Six of Crows fans, this is a continuation of Nina's story as she tries to make peace with the events at the end of Crooked Kingdom and takes on a new mission for the Ravkan crown. If you read the original trilogy, Genya, David, Tolya, Tamar, and Zoya play major roles in this story.

GR: In what order would you recommend reading your Grishaverse books?

LB: I've done my best to make it possible for readers to begin at the start of any of the Grishaverse seriesShadow and Bone, Six of Crows, and now King of Scars.

That said, I think the experience of reading King of Scars will be a lot richer if you've read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, since these characters have so much history. Also, if you start with King of Scars, you’re going to get huge spoilers for all of the other Grishaverse books.

GR: What new projects are you working on now?

LB: I've spent the fall working on Ninth House, a story of power, privilege, dark magic, and murder among the secret societies of Yale. It's probably the strangest, scariest thing I've ever written, but also the most personal.

GR: Which YA books would you recommend to our readers?

LB: I've been raving about Holly Black's The Cruel Prince since before it came out, and I can say that The Wicked King is even better. Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown is a wonderful mix of history and fantasy. I've loved each installment of Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series, and I've been counting the days until Robin LaFevers releases Courting Darkness—if you're not reading her His Fair Assassin series, you're missing one of the best worlds in fantasy.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He is on my list for 2019 because I love court intrigue and banned magic. And if you're looking for something a little different, I'm really looking forward to picking up Mallory O'Meara's The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick. Milicent was one of Disney's first female animators and created one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time, but she never really got credit for her extraordinary work.

Leigh Bardugo's King of Scars will be available on January 29. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf! Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

Comments Showing 1-43 of 43 (43 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie Knight I loved the interview! I can’t wait until the book comes out!

message 2: by Monica (new)

Monica Holy Cow! Best news .. ever !!! xoxo

message 3: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Gah! I don’t remember anything! Must reread.

message 4: by Gbolahan (new)

Gbolahan The pragmatic Nikolai from the awesome Bardugo. Apparently this was what I was waiting for to die a happy man.
Here's hoping Nikolai remains real and has none of that YA love head over heels stuff.

(I've never commented this early on a goodreads thread before. Yay me. 😁)

message 5: by Kirstyn (last edited Jan 05, 2021 10:30AM) (new)

Kirstyn Great interview! Leigh Bardugo is the queen.

message 6: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Lawrence I am so excited for this book! I read the Six of Crows duology first (and have been praising it's pages since), and then went back and read the Shadow and Bone trilogy.

I love Nikolai, and I'm eager to read his story. One thing I like about Leigh's books (I've said this before, but it bears repeating), is their inclusivity #Jesper&Wylan4ever. I tend to look for inclusive fantasy. I have of course enjoyed her other characters, too, Kaz probably being my favorite. Once King of Scars come out, I am going to be probably take a couple of "reading days", to just read.

message 7: by markofbooks (new)

markofbooks I loved this interview and can’t wait for King of Scars!!

message 8: by Dayna (new)

Dayna Lynn So excited for this book to come out!

Jessica ❥Chatterbooks Book Blog❥ I can't wait for this one! Awesome interview! ❤

message 10: by Adah (new)

Adah McMillan I might cry from excitement.

message 11: by Sunny (new)

Sunny the Sassy I did not think I could get more excited about this book, but I guess I was wrong. Can't wait!

message 12: by Amihan (new)

Amihan it sounds so good! i absolutely can’t wait.

message 13: by TheEuphoricZat (new)

TheEuphoricZat I can't wait for the book 😍

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

This is great news! I absolutely loved the Shadow and Bone series.. BUT... I could not get into Six of Crows. The reviews are great though so I should probably give it another go...

message 15: by DARKMATTERIALS (new)

DARKMATTERIALS More grishaverse can only be a good thing. Nikolai was one of the most lovable characters, so I’m excited !!

message 16: by Estrella (new)

Estrella I am waiting for this book ! ! ! Hopefully our local bookstores here will quickly avail ! ! LOVE FROM PHILIPPINES

message 17: by Maggie (new)

Maggie I really excited for this new release.

message 18: by Kitteh (new)

Kitteh I'm ready for another heartbreak. Give me this book.

message 19: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Thank you for great interview!! So excited for king of scars to come out!!

message 20: by Brenda (new)

Brenda I can't wait for the new book, I am super excited, Thank you for sneak peek!

message 21: by urwa (new)

urwa Does anyone know how long after the end of Ruin and Rising this book is set??

message 22: by Michalo (new)

Michalo Gimmie!

message 23: by Abby (new)

Abby .....i tear up every time i see nikolai's name...

message 24: by Jie Jie (new)

Jie Jie Urwa wrote: "Does anyone know how long after the end of Ruin and Rising this book is set??"

2-3 i think.

message 25: by Tanvi (new)

Tanvi Yesss!! So excited for King Of Scars...and now I really need to read the Six of Crows duology before the release.. 🙈☺️

message 26: by Allison (new)

Allison Carey Dabbles wrote: "This is great news! I absolutely loved the Shadow and Bone series.. BUT... I could not get into Six of Crows. The reviews are great though so I should probably give it another go..."

I felt the same way about Six of Crows. I've been meaning to try and read it again too.
Actually, when I first saw this book announced, I assumed Nikolai was a character from SoC (it had been a bit since I read the Shadow and Bone series so the name wasn't ringing a bell). Now that I remember who he is I'm super excited for King of Scars!! Haha

message 27: by Norma (new)

Norma I greatly enjoyed this interview. I'm excited for the King of Scars and I'm gonna reread the Shadow Trilogy.

message 28: by Ha Djer (new)

Ha Djer I really hope there's a lot of kaz-nikolai scheming involved ooh that would be epic 😍

message 29: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lopez I’m so excited to read this book.

message 30: by cordelia (new)

cordelia i love this interview!! i'm so hyped to read this book, i can't wait for it to come out :)

message 31: by MoonWyvern (new)

MoonWyvern I’m so excited!!!

message 32: by Cordela (new)

Cordela Shent I'm hoping there isn't anything between Zoya and Nikolai. It was hinted to a smidge, but he is way too good for her.

message 33: by Grace (new)

Grace Taylor Omgomgomgomgomg, I haven’t read the geisha trilogy yet but it’s next on my list!! I can’t wait until king of scars!

message 34: by Aya (new)

Aya Oh wow! I love Nikolai! Im sure this is another masterpiece of Ms. Bardugo! More power to you from the Philippines!!

message 35: by Muskaan (new)

Muskaan For the first time (strictly bookish stuff!!), I am proud of myself for not having read The Shadow and Bone trilogy. I cannot re-read three books and then wait for this one to release. At least I will have something to do after I finish reading this book.

message 36: by Claudireads (new)

Claudireads Awesome interview!🖤 I'm looking forward to reading King of Scars!

message 37: by Holly (new)

Holly Smith SO excited!! I love Nina!

message 38: by nubenune (new)

nubenune Nikolai 😍

message 39: by Jovita (new)

Jovita Joy I’ve read the Six of Crows duology and I absolutely loved it.... need to read the Shadow and Bone series next so that I can read king of scars. I wonder if it’s another series or a stand alone...?

message 40: by Aviana (new)

Aviana Only one day to go!!!!

message 41: by Aenea (new)

Aenea Jones My unpopular opinion: I think she's overrated. Both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom were so underwhelming.
The books get much praise in the Goodsread reviews, yet everything felt half-baked and shallow to me... the forced sassy banter, the unrealistic characterization of 17-years olds, the lack of character depth, more telling than showing (Kaz Brekker is supposed to be the ultimately-feared-badass-gangster, but nowhere in the book did he do anything to show for it...). The myth about him is just that, a myth.


message 42: by Gbolahan (new)

Gbolahan Aenea wrote: "My unpopular opinion:"

😆 That's fine honestly. You're not the first nor will you be the last human with an unpopular opinion for a loved author.

message 43: by Carole (new)

Carole Weave-lane Thank you, I loved reading the Interview and excited to be reading with Nikolai once again. I have added the King of Scars to my 'must read,' list I also have listed Robin le Fever to look out for in the future. I am just finishing off 'The Far Seekers ' in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, by Isobelle Carmody, also an Australian - I hang my head and I even met her once. This is my own personal quest, and I have several books left to read in the series. The Six of Crows duology is on my list too. I do like Leigh Bardugo's writings. - She is an incredible story teller.

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