Hello everyone! I have been making it a goal of mine to knock down some books from my physical TBR for years. I own SO MANY books I just haven’t read yet, and I have been trying to make it less of a major problem. So, I thought it would be fun to pick up King of Scars. I actually tried to read it a year or so back, but I remember being so confused about the characters and world that I unintentionally DNFed it once I got distracted by another book. This time, I told myself I was going to push through it despite having absolutely 0 memory of Shadow and Bone & Six of Crows, and I made it.
So, as for my opinions, I kinda have an unpopular one? I didn’t actually think that this was that amazing of a book? The first 60% or so dragged on for sooo long and it was just way too boring to hold my attention. I had to force myself to read like 50 pages a day because I didn’t actually have enough motivation to get through it on my own. HOWEVER, the last 40% or so was actually pretty decent! The plot and everything started building up and things actually started to happen! Like if the first half of the book was a 2 star, the last half of the book is probably a 4 star, so I’m going to give it a 3 star rating.
This is a four POV book, which I really loved because it’s just so fun to see inside of everyone’s head. We have Nikolai, our witty, charming boy king who I will forever be in love with. He desperately wants to do what is best for Ravka and restore it after all the events of Shadow and Bone. I liked seeing his internal struggles throughout the story and his desperation to balance his own problems and responsibilities. He also has some top-tier banter that actually gave me life.
We also have Zoya, our general who uses her coldness to prevent herself from being seen as weak. I really enjoyed reading about her backstory in this one, and it helped me saw her as less rude and annoying. Going into this book, I had exactly 0 memory of what happened in the Grisha trilogy thanks to my short-term memory loss, but I felt like I didn’t like her too much? Anyways, she got a redemption from me, so it’s all good. Tragic childhood backstories will always get to me and I thought it kinda helped contribute to her character!
THEN, we have Nina, probably the most boring POV of the entire book. Her story just wasn’t as fun as the main arc with Nikolai/Zoya/Isaak, and I found myself speedreading the last few chapters with her in it just to get to the “good” perspectives (in fact, I didn’t even know there was a hint at a romantic relationship until I read some of the other reviews). Like the plotline had absolutely no connection to what was going on with the entire rest of the story. It felt like her perspective was there just for the sake of being there and adding another 200 pages to the story. A lot of the characters in her half of the storyline were boring, and I *sorta* forgot everyone else’s name that isn’t Nina. I don’t know, I remember really liking Nina/Matthias in Six of Crows, but she just disappointed in this one.
Finally we have Isaak, a royal guard who is dedicated to serving Nikolai, especially after being saved from him years ago. I won’t talk about his importance, because it gets revealed later in the story, but you’ll have to trust me on the fact that it’s kinda interesting!
I’m going to dedicate this entire section to talking about Nikolai and Zoya, because I didn’t really find any of the others that relevant. I loved these two. They just have such a fun dynamic going and their contrasting personalities just fit so well together! Like Nikolai being warm and open and Zoya being known to be cold and closed off is just so good?? I loved seeing their relationship grow throughout the story, and I feel like we get crumbs of what could soon be a romance between them? Please give it all to me. They have a ton of cute moments and I don’t know what else to say besides the fact that they just work.
The Plot & Pacing
The plot wasn’t bad (besides the Nina plot). The pacing was the big issue. I know I already talked about it, but we’re all just going to hear it again. The first half of the book is honestly a waste of time. It goes so slow and I can tell you approximately two things that happen in it. And this book is huge. The first half is a whole 250 pages. I was struggling to find the patience to read through it all. They do a lot of talking and talking and not any doing. There is just so much lengthy setup for the rest of the book, and I just wish that I could have put it on 2x speed like a Youtube video I want to rush through.
I will give credit for the last half though. There’s a big reveal at the end that I sorta saw coming because I accidentally spoiled myself, but it’s still interesting regardless. Things actually happen! I think that 80% of the story happened in the last half. It made it so fun to read through, and I just wish that I didn’t have to go through the slowness of the other half to get to it.
Overall, I thought this book wasn’t bad. I will still be trying to read Rule of Wolves as soon as I can, and I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what will happen next! I would recommend it if you’ve read and liked the Grisha series. If you haven’t, I’d really recommend reading both Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone, because there are some major spoilers for it in this one. Also, it’ll make you less confused.
It was a fun read, and I’m glad I knocked off another book from my physical TBR.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo”
Hmm, well, maybe the fun of the last 40 percent will stick with you so you’ll have fond memories of this book. Good review!
thank you!! 🙂