“Most women suffer thorns for the sake of the flowers, but we who wield power adorn ourselves with flowers to hide the sting of our thorns”
So I just finished King of Scars. Approximately five minutes ago. Wasn’t planning a review but I am a huge ball of feelings. Mini disclaimer, it came to my attention (halfway through the book) that people recommend you read The Grisha Trilogy before you start this book due to this duology being a continuation of Nikolai’s (and Zoya’s, Genya’s, The Darkling’s etc and also talks about the events of the trilogy.) story. I’ve only ever read Shadow and Bone so I’d never actually met the character. However, I do agree with this post as I was a bit confused at the start but Leigh transported me into the world so quickly that it didn’t matter to me (plus, I’ve ordered the rest of the Grisha trilogy and will be reading it soon anyway.) King of Scars also features Nina from the Six of Crows duology as a main character but luckily I’ve read that duology and Nina is life goals.
BUT LET’S GET ON WITH IT. (that was supposed to be a small disclaimer haha.)
This duology follows the story of King of Ravka, Nikolai Lantsov after the events of the civil war alongside his second-in-command and legendary Grisha, Zoya. The story switches POVs from much-loved characters such as Nikolai and Zoya, to Nina Zenik taking on her own mission to save mistreated Grisha across the country and a new character in the shape of Isaak who’s role is a spoiler but non-spoiler, he’s a cutie. With war being threatened across the land, Nikolai must battle between living with the darkness that grows ever more powerful inside of him and keeping his country afloat.
If I have to be honest, even as much as I love Leigh, the start of this book was on the slow side, HOWEVER, as soon as it started to pick up, any worries I had about the start of the story quickly disappeared. I was pulled back into the Grisha world and realised how much I had missed it. Through Nina, we see a lot more of the Grisha world as she travels across the land and through Nikolai and Zoya, we see a lot more of the political side. Nikolai, Zoya and Nina have such compelling but different voices – Nikolai putting on a brave face but also battling the monster inside him and keeping Ravka safe, Zoya having a sad past but hiding it behind a powerful facade and Nina, mourning but battling on to see justice delivered to her fellow Grisha (she also mentions Kaz, Inej and the other Dregs and I felt that homesickness that comes with characters mentioned from one of your favourite series.)
As well as Isaak, we also saw new characters such as Hanne, a secret Grisha who Nina forms a strong and beautiful bond with and also Leoni, a Fabrikator travelling with her and Adrik, a Grisha living with the events of the civil war. Every character, no matter how minor, had a voice and a story and with every book by Leigh, it was like meeting new friends. The world-building was as perfect as ever – we were reminded of the Orders of the Grisha without it feeling like a recap and new towns and cities were introduced to fill an already beautiful fictional world up. I cried. I laughed (Nikolai is probably the King of one-liners) and most importantly, I felt back at home in Leigh’s universe and I cannot wait for the next instalment as I miss the characters already.