3 Stars Book Reviews

Book Review: Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Helloooo everyone and happy Tuesday! I can’t believe we’re already in August and that we’re like 2/3 done with 2021. I’ve had a bit of a rough reading month in July, even with the extra time I’ve had off from classes. HOWEVER, I just finished Rule of Wolves yesterday, and I’m excited to share some of my thoughts with all of you! I think that this is going to be a bit of a shorter review than usual, but I hope you all enjoy anyways <3.

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Rule of Wolves marked my first finished series of 2021, and unfortunately I have a bit of an unpopular opinion with this series. I was a bit “eh” on King of Scars, and I feel like that same energy carried on to Rule of Wolves. I found it a bit worse than the first book actually, but there were some redeeming portions to it. It did close up all of the plot points and cliffhangers from King of Scars, while simultaneously hinting towards the third book in the SOC series (which I will still never forgive). There were also a few occasional highlights, especially towards the middle of the book.

However, even with those highlights, my overall feeling for the book was apathetic. I think that I wasn’t invested enough in the some of the characters and plot from the first book to be invested in it in the second. I do think that this book would be enjoyable for those who really liked King of Scars though.

Note that this review will have King of Scars & inherently SOC duology/Grisha trilogy spoilers (because the events of the story take place after both), but no Rule of Wolves spoilers! I’ll vaguely talk about some of the events, so hopefully you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve read it.

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The Characters–
I really didn’t like reading through Nina and Hanne’s POV. I just found it boring. They just felt so annoying to me! There’s something that happens towards the end that I won’t spoil, but I was celebrating so hard until I realized it wasn’t real (give me ALL the bittersweet endings). There was just something about their relationship that didn’t exactly click for me. It might just be me grieving over the lost relationship that was Nina and Matthias, but it was missing things that I loved about those two.

Plus, Nina’s POV didn’t really tie too much into the main story arc that was happening. Her being in King of Scars felt like overextended closure as to what happened after Matthias died. Like yeah, I guess she’s a spy helping Nikolai, but the story focused too much about her and Hanne’s relationship, which I didn’t really care for. It’s just that most of the fun action (and better romance) happens in Nikolai’s POV, so Nina’s paled in comparison. Also, what even happened in their conclusion? It felt like a really strange way to end their arc, and I wish it was a bit more satisfying.

I also did not like the Darkling’s whole appearance here. What did he even do? Nothing. In this whole entire book, he feels like he’s just there for the sake of being there. After he takes on the form of the monk, we get a POV of him walking around and rallying people, but in the end, he was not necessary to the story at all. It felt like fanservice. I was also a bit confused by the whole thing with him at the end. I don’t know, it just didn’t feel like something that he would do.

We also have the whole thing with Mayu and Mahki, and to be honest, that felt like a wholeeee fever dream. I swear I totally forgot about that whole story arc until I read a review of it. Yet again, I didn’t really understand the point of them being there, and they felt a bit too much like filler. They were somewhat interesting to read about while they were there, but I found that all of the characters surrounding their sub-plot were forgettable.

I can definitely say that Nikolai’s POV was the most redeeming part of the story. I felt like there was actually story progression happening with him, and it didn’t feel as boring to read through. I really enjoyed his witty banter and humor and his relationship with Zoya was fun to read about. Seeing his internal doubts despite his entertaining appearance gave more personality to him. His struggles and him trying to do what’s best for his country was one of the few things I enjoyed. Like a few of the other reviews have mentioned, it’s much more Zoya’s story than Nikolai’s, but I’m okay with that. I liked their growth together, and I approve of their happy ending.

Also, I don’t know where to put this, but what was the point behind the death in the middle of the story? I felt like it didn’t contribute much at all and it was just there to be there. It didn’t further anything in the story and I was just confused over it. We just see everyone grieving over it, but little else of importance.

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The Plot —
The main story plot is the whole war between Fjerda and Ravka and it was interesting enough. There’s a lot of random sub plots scattered around, but that’s the main point of the story. I did really enjoy reading about its conclusion towards the end of the book, and the whole battle was a fun read. There was a lot of action when the two nations finally met, and things were happening!

The final few pages of the book sets up the third SOC book, which (as I am stating for the second time) I will never forgive. SOC and Crooked Kingdom ended perfectly, and I will never understand why there’s a third. It feels like fanservice and I got upset when I remembered (after repressing it down deep in my mind). It’s just the same with King of Scars, and even though this duology wasn’t a bad read, I just liked the way the Grisha trilogy and SOC ended on their own.

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Overall, this is a mediocre series. You really have to read Six of Crows and the Grisha trilogy before reading this though, because there’s a million of spoilers in here. Basically all the big events that happen in those two series are a part of King of Scars and Rule of Wolves. If you liked both series, then this isn’t a bad book to try. Almost all of the characters from the prior books show up for this one, so if you want more content from them, you’re in luck. Unfortunately, I had the unpopular opinion for this one, but although I wished I could like it more, I don’t really regret reading it.

Anyways, I will be back for the third SOC book to hopefully wrap up this era of the Grishaverse, and we will see if it lives up to the originals!

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That concludes my review, and I hope you all found it enjoyable! I just got an ARC of Our Violent Ends which I feel eternally blessed for, so I’m thinking that it will be my next review on my blog. I am also currently reading Mistborn, so I’m not too sure which one I’ll be finishing first. Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday!

Happy reading!

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