I started writing this review in the middle of reading this book. A good thing. because I typically forget to write notes. But King of Scars deserved LOTS of notes and screaming and crying. This book is AMAZING. I can’t wait to rave about
Nikolai’s Zoya’s story.
But a warning to all of you people. This review has spoilers for The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology. Yes, spoilers for FIVE books. You’re welcome.
Also, why in the world would you read King of Scars without reading any of these books? that would not make sense. Just saying.
And I will probably have a spoilery section as part of this book review BUT I will most definitely let you know when we get there!
Nikolai Lanstov, my funny, darling prince
This book is so much a Grisha Trilogy sequel! It’s set just a few years after the Fold was destroyed and Ravka is still falling apart.
At first life was happy. But then poor Nikolai started running into … ahem, troubles.
I LOVE how Nikolai handles life. He knows that Ravka is literally the worst. And that without him, the country would probably be in shambles. And that lots of people don’t like him and might even try to rebel or kill him. Thanks to the Shu, the Fjerdans, the Kerch and other random enemies.
But he’s not overwhelmed by everything that is wrong. And lots of things do go wrong! Nikolai is willing to suffer practical hell for his country and people. All with his legendary humor and grin intact.
Zoya, WHERE WAS THIS GIRL IN THE GRISHA TRILOGY? I know she was there, but if only we had gotten MORE of her biting tongue and sharp ways. I JUST loved all of her attitude and strength.
Just saying that I didn’t not like the Grisha trilogy. It’s just compared to Alina’s voice, Zoya is so strong and compelling. I could read several books all about Zoya.
I also loved how seamlessly we learned about Zoya’s life and why she betrayed the Darkling. I remembered that it was kind of weird for her to go from constantly tying to impress the Darkling to joining Alina. But hearing her story, it all made sense!
And did I miss something from the actual trilogy? Because I did not realize how powerful Zoya actually was. She is witty, and can be cold, but her strength and persistence is all incredible.
I also really appreciated the conversation on how society views strong women, especially women who are sharp. Zoya doesn’t care what anyone thinks. It’s okay to be sharp. You don’t have to make yourself change for other people’s opinions.
Nina is still one of my favorites. I love how we really get to see how Matthias’ death is affecting her, how she’s grown into her power, and she her girlish dreams. All in the first 50 pages.
Now, Nina’s chapters were very long. Much longer than Zoya’s and Nikolai’s chapters. And for about half of the book, it was a bit wandering. I know she’s grieving but it was still very slow. Maybe this could have been novella? I don’t know, but I found myself almost skimming Nina’s chapters to get back to Zoya and Co.
And of course, I was so happy to see Genya and the rest of the Grisha again. Genya and David are SOOOOO CUTE. I live for all of David’s nerdy-ness and Genya’s playfulness.
Nina is hanging out in Fjerda. And honestly, Matthias is the only Fjerdan I can stand. 😂 It’s so weird to see Nina conforming to the ideal Fjerdan woman. For a while, there’s no one interesting, until this young Fjerdan girl, Hanne shows up. I can’t talk too much about her without spoilers, but Hanne is super great!
Did I miss Kaz and the rest of the Six of Crows gang? YASSSSSSSS. I mean, they’re mentioned several times and every time, I internally squealed. Because I really missed them all.
Okay, the plot for this book is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Because, a minorish spoiler, Nina is not in Ravka. She’s off on a secret mission for the Second Army, or is it just the Ravkan army now??? I don’t know.
With Nina being off somewhere else, you’re going to have two separate plots. Nikolai and Zoya have their own story happening while Nina takes on Fjerda.
Did I like these two separate stories? not too much. I felt like Nikolai’s and Zoya’s story were totally five stars. I loved reading their sections and the overall plot. There were slightly confusing magical sections. I am often confused with magical parts in books because I don’t understand the explanations the first time I read it.
Now, for Nina’s part. The more I think about it, the more I think Nina’s chapters should have been a novella. The pace was so much slower, the writing more thoughtful, and the action centered all at the ending, that it weighed the rest of the book down.
The story also went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and when it came to the ending, I wanted to hurl the book at the wall. it made me MAD. So, while i was nervously reading and honestly terrified for the characters, I felt like the ending was shocking but also kind of not that great?
< Beware of a major spoiler here: but this is my opinion: Dead characters should stay dead. Villains should not pull Voldemorts to return. End of spoiler >
Overall, I can’t wait for the NEXT book. And am I very happy that this is a duology? Yes. Do I think this was a pretty great continuation of the Grisha trilogy? Yes. Was it a great return to the world of the Grisha? Absolutely.
So, while I was meh about Nina’s chapters and frustrated with the ending, King of Stars definitely gets FOUR stars. Almost five. But my absolutely crazy angst at the end pulled it down a star.
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.
Have you read King of Scars? Isn’t Zoya amazing? Do you have a favorite character from the Grishaverse? If you’ve read King of Scars, what did you think?