The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I wrote a review for King of Scars directly after reading it and completely gushed about it. But a few months later when I reread the book, I found it wasn’t as gripping as I remembered it to be. So this time around, I read Rule of Wolves and then waited a little bit to see how I felt after the initial excitement had worn off. Happily, this time I found that I was just as thrilled with the book weeks later as I was within minutes of being done reading it. For me, that’s a really good sign because it means that the book has stayed with me and I know it’s going be one that I’m going to keep re-reading.
Nina’s Story is So Much Better
I was beyond frustrated with Nina's storyline in King of Scars - it was slow, I didn’t care about Hanne, and found her to be almost an entirely new character from the girl we met in Six of Crows. However, she was finally given reception in this novel (and honestly, shame on me of thinking that Bardugo didn’t have a plan in place for her this whole time). I really feel like we got to see Nina‘s character redeemed in this book and just become the confidence, outgoing, fabulous character that we knew from the six of crows duology. Likewise her ending is incredibly cathartic and I love where her story went. I’m not sure how much we’re going to see from her and future books, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’s a lot because I think her future is going to be a wild ride!
Romantic Tension Between Nikolai and Zoya is Excellent
Ah, the classic slow burn love story. We knew from the previous book that the romantic tension between these two was going to keep growing, especially after that kiss in the first novel. I was a bit surprised about how long it took for it to happen in this book, but ultimately I’m thrilled with how Nikolai and Zoya’s romance played out. They do seem like such a great fit, both because of their history and because of their hopes for Ravka’s future. Both characters are wonderful as always, but I do love that we get to see more heart and truth from them in this book. I feel like in the first novel, and in previous novels with them, we're always given their "public" faces. This time, however, we get to see them be vulnerable with each other as they both struggle to figure out how to save Ravka and what each of their futures hold.
This ending is one of the reasons that Bardugo is such a force in the YA fantasy genre. She does an amazing job at bringing all these different storylines together and completely surprising us with how the ending comes about. The Darklings final choice was unexpected, Zoya's magical transition is stunning, and the new ruler of Ravka is going to be amazing. But let's be honest - it's the final line of the book that has me grinning: BRING BACK KAZ BREKKER! Bardugo has left us a clear trail that we'll be seeing more of Brekker in her next novel and I can only hope it brings together Inej, Jesper, and Wylan as well (I think it's safe to say that Nina's story will stay in Ferjda, but maybe she'll say hello?). Whatever Bardugo has planned next, I thought this was a great ending to the King of Scars duology.
Overall, this was such a fun book and I loved how this series ended. I'm really excited to see what happens to these characters next, but even if this is the true end, Bardugo has given us the chance to see old friends again and meet some new ones along the way. I'd recommend this book to fan of the Grishaverse and Leigh Bardugo and to readers looking for a new YA fantasy series to enjoy.
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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