King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Already in love with Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows series? Well, you’re in luck, as King of Scars continues the adventures of her most beloved characters.

    This review contains minor spoilers for the two previously mentioned series, so check out Jen or Josie’s reviews of Six of Crows if you’re interested in diving into Bardugo’s masterpieces in order!

    Set two years after the events of Shadow and Bone and six months after the events of Six of Crows, King of Scars follows the boy king Nikolai Lantsov, whose “gift for the impossible” has made him a just and loved ruler of the kingdom of Ravka. However, as the dark magic cast inside of him by a previous foe continues to strengthen, Nikolai’s ability to be a perfect king begins to falter. The story also follows Zoya Nazyalensky, a strong-willed Grisha general with the ability to manipulate wind. Like Nikolai, Zoya loves Ravka, but her love stems from its protection of the mistreated Grisha. And unlike Nikolai, Zoya knows that without him, Ravka will fall- making it her most important mission yet to ensure Nikolai is able to conquer his worsening condition and secure his place as king. Nina Zenik is the final character the story follows, who in another area of the world of Grisha works as a spy for Ravka. On top of her assignments, Nina must face the fresh grief and new, deadly power within her.

    Past fans of Bardugo were ecstatic to see their favorite characters return, but were also worried at the potential that the character’s unique personalities would be lost in their extended stories. Luckily, Bardugo lost none of her magic touch. Though the characters face new challenges to grow through, they don’t lose any of their lovableness.

    Bardugo is ambitious in her writing of King of Scars, having the book focus on two simultaneous stories rather than one. This can seem a bit intimidating for readers, but somehow, she works her magic and makes the overall story all the more compelling to continue reading by building the curiosity of readers as to how everything will come together throughout the duology. Will Nikolai defeat his curse and remain a beloved king without his people finding out? Will Zoya succeed in protecting the Grisha? Will Nina find herself when her own heart and abilities seem like strangers? Read King of Scars to find out.

By Teen Reviewer, Gwendolyn