King of Scars | Leigh Bardugo

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.


42292750. sy475

King of Scars
Series: Nikolai Duology #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Format: Signed Hardcover, 528 pgs
Add to GR

Face your demons…or feed them.

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.


Six of Crows | Crooked Kingdom| The Language of Thorns | Wonder Woman 
Shadow and Bone |  Siege and StormRuin and Rising


First and Foremost, the cover. People, look at the cover. The most intricate, beautiful and royal cover I have ever seen. Honestly, the team behind this design did a marvelous job. Truly, a cover fit for a King. Just look at the details. The Gold. The Jacket. The Inside. All of It.

Image result for King of Scars book" 

Image result for King of Scars book"


Secondly, the title. King Of Scars. Leigh has always been the Queen of titles. Honestly, just amazing. I instantly changed the username of my private accounts to something close to this title. Anyway, let’s hope the story itself is as amazing as it’s title and cover.


“Zoya of the lost city. Zoya of the garden. Zoya bleeding in the snow. You are strong enough to survive the fall.”

Image result for king of scars zoya"

Zoya. Zoya… zoya, Zoya. The reason why I survived this ship wreck. Not even the pirate himself (Nikolai)  had kept us afloat.

Confession: The Cover is the reason why I bought this book. And had it signed by Leigh as well.  I paid extra for what was essentially a continuation of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. Not a strong standalone entirely for Nikolai as was promised.

To further explain, the entire book heavily focused on the past (trilogy) instead of using some of it to launch a whole new series. In my previous reviews, I mentioned that the author, Leigh, probably saw the strength of Nikolai and the Darkling so she put them on hold for something greater. I, was right. Sadly though, she messed it up. This book was clearly trying to rectify some of the errors of her past while introducing some new elements. That only resulted in a jumble of material that we could’ve lived without.

To be fair, Nikolai and Zoya’s plot was very interesting. As well as the priest and the doppelganger’s. Her writing was incredibly well, she reminded me of the Six of Crows duology era. The series that made me love it so much that I ended up blindly buying the bad trilogy along with this book.

Unfortunately, the rest was simply boring. I am sorry to say that any chapter that wasn’t Nikolai’s, Zoya’s or Isaak’s is a chapter I skipped. Not that I didn’t try, I really did. Especially with Nina’s chapters.. I loved her soo much in the duology and was dying to know what had happened to her after the whole Matthias incident from Crooked Kingdom. Apart from the pain I felt for her when she mourned Matthais, I found myself detached from her plot. She wasn’t the Nina I knew, for valid reasons, but still.

“Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.”


Image result for king of scars nikolai"

Nikolai was very interesting in this novel. I am so glad that we got a whole book dedicated to his brilliant mind and silver tongue.

I’m just a little sad that his whole plot was about dealing with the demon inside of him that should’ve been whipped out by Alina from the previous books. And dare I say.. we should’ve had more of him. Maybe in the next book Leigh could cut back on Nina and any other side character’s POV and dedicate that extra space to him. Not to mention, have a large portion of his POV focused around a certain raven haired beauty who he might be falling for…… (zoya…)

Now.. about the hint of a budding romance between Nikolai and Zoya.. please let this happen. Whoever made this edit.. I love you.

Image result for king of scars characters"

“He’d come to recognize the bizarre phenomenon of Zoya’s beauty, the way men loved to create stories around it. They said she was cruel because she’d been harmed in the past. They claimed she was cold because she just hadn’t met the right fellow to warm her. Anything to soften the edges and sweeten her disposition–and what was the fun in that? Zoya’s company was like strong drink. Bracing–and best to abstain if you couldn’t handle the kick.”

Those two work together. They are perfect. Nikolai, a genius handsome King. And Zoya, who was born a Queen with every meaning of the word. No other man could’ve handled her strength, aura and beauty. It’s only befitting that she receives that title officially and be recognized as the Queen throughout the world. Especially after she mastered those incredible powers through her training and became a true Grisha.

Spoiler Alert: Did you think I was going to end this review without mentioning the very last thing that happened. The thing that made all of this mess be worth it.  Hold your breathe people.. because his royal darkness… the Darkling himself is back. ❤ I TOLD you that he was a character too strong and amazing to let go off. She made him too good to have him permanently die the way he did. I am telling you.. the author knew she didn’t do those characters justice!! And bringing them back – as i predicted – would be the only way forward. This move alone, is what made my review for King of Stars be raised a whole gold star. And the Darkling is why I decided to get the second book in this series. So he better be worth it.

PS: Leigh basically nulled everything that happened in the trilogy. She used King Of Scars to reintroduce the whole thing in a new light.  Thus, making my POV on the subject true! I truly hope that she sets things right now. (This is of course my opinion, if you enjoyed everything as is then good for you)

Until Next Time,


*Images link back to source. 


Final Rating:



What did you think of this book, have you read anything similar to it? Or do you have any recommendations for me to try? Lets chat, don’t worry, I don’t bite. ^^

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM: @bookishowlette



4 thoughts on “King of Scars | Leigh Bardugo”

  1. And indeed, I’m just always astounded concerning the remarkable things served by you. Some four facts on this page are undeniably the most effective I’ve had.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s