Natalie Monroe's Reviews > King of Scars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
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“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 entirely new characters. King of Scars has lots of references to previous series.

If I had to sum up King of Scars in a single-word, it would be meandering. Six of Crows is superb, suspenseful tight plotting. King of Scars feels underconceptualized, as if Bardugo simply wanted to write a book about Nikolai, but didn't have enough meat for a fully realized plot.

Nikolai's chapters were actually underwhelming. The humor I fell in love with back in the original trilogy didn't land nearly as well, and his character arc, though satisfying, seems typical and one-note. With that being said, I did enjoy learning more about his past. We see him grow from idolizing Vasily to realizing his brother is not the king Ravka needs. He befriends a common soldier on the front and that shapes him into the kind, witty privateer Alina meets.

It is Zoya who really steals the show. I maintain she was originally was meant to be a two-dimensional Mean Girl, but Bardugo does a fine job in adding depth to her character without making it appear forced. Her petty cruelty in Shadow & Bone is explained by her being young and arrogant and a desire to test her beauty on men. We all do stupid things when we're teenagers. Coming back to Zoya a few years later feels right, like rereading your old fanfiction bio (*shudders*) and comparing it to the person you are now. We also get a more concrete reason for why Zoya abandoned the Darkling to side with Alina back. Her character arc is beautiful and far more potent than Nikolai's imo.



Nina's a bit of an outlier here. She's deep undercover in Fjerda with Adrik and Leoni (the Grisha girl Jesper's mom saved). She's still grieving for Matthias and I admit I slightly teared up when Nina finally lays his body to rest. My main complaint is that her primary character development is letting Matthias go and we already knew that was going to happen at the end of Crooked Kingdom. Most of what happens during her chapters is simply a long extension of stuff that seems given with minimum surprises.

There's a fourth POV character called Isaak too. I won't say too much about his role in the book except I enjoyed his storyline the most next to Zoya’s. (view spoiler)

The ending was infuriating. That's all I'll say.

I'll still read the sequel, of course, because it seems like all the pieces have finally moved into place by the end and we'll get finally get that sweet, sweet Six of Crows-esqe action. But Nikolai, my darling, you have let me down.

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Reading Progress

September 26, 2017 – Shelved
September 26, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 1, 2019 – Started Reading
February 1, 2019 –
page 0
0.0% "MY COPY'S FINALLY HERE, BITCHES!

"
February 2, 2019 –
page 75
14.23% "Nina, my queen, you are SLAYING.

"
February 6, 2019 –
page 189
35.86% "This isn't as good as I thought it'd be and my soul physically hurts.

"
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: awesome-author
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: fearless-protagonists
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: lgbtqia-if-you-squint
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: not-as-good-as-i-expected
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: pants-are-snowmen-and-they-are-june
February 13, 2019 – Shelved as: dragged-on-too-much
February 13, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny I AM SCREAMING. YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ladyseraph14 Brb. I'm just gonna go cry that this is actually happening. YES!


message 3: by Warda (new) - added it

Warda CROPS ARE THRIVING LOL


Dalziel Mapp Yaaaaaasssss


Arooj WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT


message 6: by Bee (new) - added it

Bee 2019 whywhywhy!!


Natalie Monroe I think Zoya is going to be his queen. But I'm open to being wrong. I just want Nikolai to live happily ever after on his flying ship.


message 8: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki Nickolas? that is going to be interesting. I hope the guy gets a better love interest this time.


Natalie Monroe Mizuki wrote: "Nickolas? that is going to be interesting. I hope the guy gets a better love interest this time."

Me too.


message 10: by Jamie (new) - added it

Jamie Pauline Can we have some Kanej moments, please?


Natalie Monroe Jamie wrote: "Can we have some Kanej moments, please?"

^THIS


message 12: by Delia (new) - added it

Delia YESSSS


message 13: by Alicja (new) - added it

Alicja Yessssss all the cameos please!!!! Jesper x Wylan especially ahhhhh


AHHHHHH I think there’s a very high chance we’ll at least get to see Nina again. But if we’re going to be honest, I really nEED EVERYBODY TO CAMEO IN THIS. I WANT THE OTHER 4 CROWS ASDFGH. EVEN ALINA. JUST EVERYONE. I know that’s way too much to ask for but shhh. It kind of hurts me that I got into the GrishaVerse so late, but even still, I need this book like I need air.


message 15: by Safia (new) - added it

Safia OMG kaz and Nikolai need to have an epic scheming moment


message 16: by Kaiva (new)

Kaiva do i need to read the Grisha trilogy first if i want to read this one?


Natalie Monroe Kaiva wrote: "do i need to read the Grisha trilogy first if i want to read this one?"

Leigh Bardugo mentioned that she's trying to make it as accessible to new readers as possible, so I shouldn't think so. It would help with understanding some of the characters' backstories though.


message 18: by Mizuki (last edited Jun 04, 2018 11:42PM) (new)

Mizuki I'm sorry if I sounds picky and I don't mean to offend anyone, but is this cover a bit too...yellowish? (aside from the color, the artwork itself looks alright, though)

Btw, Zoya as love interest sounds about right!


Natalie Monroe Mizuki wrote: "I'm sorry if I sounds picky and I don't mean to offend anyone, but is this cover a bit too...yellowish? (aside from the color, the artwork itself looks alright, though)

Btw, Zoya as love interest..."


Nah, I absolutely agree with you. The monochromatic gold looks tacky tbh. I expected some black in the mix.


message 20: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki Natalie wrote: "Nah, I absolutely agree with you. The monochromatic gold looks tacky tbh. I expected some black in the mix."

I prefer the artworks of Six of Crows, or at least something smiliar with the first three Grisha books.


message 21: by Isabelle (new) - added it

Isabelle I've never related to something more


AnonymousFangirl Safia wrote: "OMG kaz and Nikolai need to have an epic scheming moment"

For real though. I feel like fangirls all over the world will die when that happens.


AHHHHHH It would be amazing if Kaz and Nikolai planned a master scheme! I just hope my pre-order arrives soon, the wait is killing me.


Payal Aw you didn't like it?


message 25: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny crud. i was really hoping my baby wouldn't be snubbed


Natalie Monroe @Payal The plot felt a bit meandering. Overall, it didn't live up to my expectations ><

@Jenny I will give my boy Nikolai the respect he deserves.


message 27: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki Funeral is at its best when we have a burning pyre.




Payal I hope that the second book redeems the first one for you. I felt like there was a lot more setting up the scene in this one.


Natalie Monroe Payal wrote: "I hope that the second book redeems the first one for you. I felt like there was a lot more setting up the scene in this one."

Agreed!


message 30: by Aly (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aly (In Wonderland) This makes me sad! I'm still looking forward to reading it, but don't appreciate that it seems Nikolai has been done dirty. :(


Natalie Monroe Aly's Bookish Wonderland wrote: "This makes me sad! I'm still looking forward to reading it, but don't appreciate that it seems Nikolai has been done dirty. :("

I knooow. I'm hoping the sequel will be better. King of Scars feels like a prologue.


AnonymousFangirl ...disappointment. I want to defenestrate myself.


Natalie Monroe AnonymousFangirl wrote: "...disappointment. I want to defenestrate myself."

Maybe I'll appreciate it more once I read the sequel and can see how it shapes up in terms of the entire series, but now, disappointing.


message 34: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki I am glad Zoya is getting a good storyline, out of everything.


Natalie Monroe Mizuki wrote: "I am glad Zoya is getting a good storyline, out of everything."

Her character is fully redeemed and it is amazing.


message 36: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki @Natalie: that's good to know.


message 37: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny Reading your full review still gives me hope for a decent reading experience because I was actually super excited for Zoya's return. I'm so glad Bardugo does her justice


Natalie Monroe Jenny wrote: "Reading your full review still gives me hope for a decent reading experience because I was actually super excited for Zoya's return. I'm so glad Bardugo does her justice"

Zoya is queen.


message 39: by Mizuki (new)

Mizuki Natalie wrote: "Jenny wrote: "Reading your full review still gives me hope for a decent reading experience because I was actually super excited for Zoya's return. I'm so glad Bardugo does her justice"

Zoya is queen."


Actually I am glad to hear Zoya is queen in this book.


Amanda Agree! The story telling is unrealized. As if the author had no idea what story she wanted to write for Nikolai so decided to just throw a bunch of unfinished ideas together and call it a book. And it totally felt like this book was really just an excuse to bring a certain unnamed character back.


Natalie Monroe Amanda wrote: "Agree! The story telling is unrealized. As if the author had no idea what story she wanted to write for Nikolai so decided to just throw a bunch of unfinished ideas together and call it a book. And..."

Agree 100%. I love and respect Bardugo so so much, but KoS was just disappointing.


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