King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo book cover

King of Scars Synopsis

Note: This review is spoiler-free!

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 within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Why did I pick it?

Having loved all the previous Grishaverse books I couldn’t wait for this. I mean I added it to my TBR list two years before it was released, I was THAT keen. Nikolai is one of my favourite characters and so the fact he was getting his own series…. YES PLEASE!

What I loved about it

I liked the last 100 pages, not loved. Pretty much the entire book is a setup for the final 100 pages. If you make it that far, you’ll probably like the final 100 pages too but it’s a hard slog to get there.

Nikolai obviously, I just love the sarcasm that his dialogue brings to the story. The back and forth with Zoya were my fav bits by far.

What I loathed about it

And that’s really my main issue, I wanted more of the above, there just simply wasn’t enough of it. To be honest there wasn’t really enough Nikolai considering it was hyped as “his” series.

The jumps between characters as in previous books was enjoyable, but I needed more POV from him… it just didn’t deliver that.

I found that I lost interest in the Nina POV and plotlines pretty quickly, and often by the time we got back to Zoya or Nikolai I had forgotten where we had gotten up to with them. It made the plot very disjointed and I found it a struggle to finish. I thought maybe the plots would converge at some point but that didn’t happen… maybe they still might!


Although this is a new duology you do need to have read the previous two series if this is to make any sense to you, it’s not great as a stand-alone.

All I can hope for is that the entire of book 1 is a big slow going build up to book 2 because I need more or I’m out.

Who am I kidding it’s by Leigh Bardugo, I’ll read anything she writes, but I just need it to be GOOD, because this really wasn’t.

When and where can you can get it

You can purchase King of Scars on Amazon today

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo book review

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