Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Series: Nikolai Duology #1
Published by Audible on January 29, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 16 hours, 13 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
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.
King of Scars is the first book in a new Nikolai Duology by Leigh Bardugo set in the Grishaverse world. I’ve read most of the books in this series apart from Language of Thorns and even though this is a new book in a series and you could read it without having read the other books set in this world, I think you might miss out of some of the magic King of Scars has, if you didn’t know all of the history. Don’t worry you’ll still be okay if you haven’t read the other books, Bardugo does a great job of reminding readers what has happened to all of the characters.
This will be a little short because I don’t want to give out spoilers for the previous series either. Nikolai is fantastic yet again. He is his charming, charismatic and optimistic self, most of the time that is, even though there is a demon slowly taking over his body. With Ravka on the verge of war yet again, he has to pull his country and the rest of the world together.
Zoya, I remember well when I really hated that girl, has come full circle and she is just the bit of dry wit required for Nikolai to really play off of well. I love the team they make and could that be a little bit of forbidden love dangling in the air between them? *wink, wink* Well for me the sexual tension was palpable. Zoya is the general of the second army and Nikolia’s most trusted friend and together they will try to find a way to purge the demon power left by the Darkling out of Nikolia before it takes him over completely.
While Nikolia’s PoVs are fantastic I was so happy to see Nina (from Six of Crows) again. After where we left her in that duology I was shattered, yes shattered is the best way to put it. She is just as strong and brilliant as she used to be and working as an undercover agent in Fjerda trying to save Grisha. I’m just going to say I have hope that a certain Fjerdian is not as lost as once thought, maybe naught will come from the beautiful imagery painted at an emotional goodbye in this, but Djel help us that this was really a beginning and not an end.
I loved being in the Grishaverse again and returning to the little palace. Seeing David and Genya along with Tolya and Tamar and even returning to some of the events with the Darkling made for such a great story. It was full of politicking and action and two separate but fantastic story lines. The first being Nikolia, his battle with darkness and trying to pull Ravka together and keep it out of yet another war. The other surrounded Nina and her fight to fulfill a promise made to the man she loves no matter the cost and to save the Grisha living and hiding is Fjerda.
The end is not a cliffhanger but there were a few surprises and it looks set up to be a fantastic action packed finale by the looks of it.
The Grishaverse is also coming to Netflix and I for one am so excited to see these stories brought to any size screen. To see any spoilerish content to this review, please check out my Goodreads page.
“I’m fairly sure you’re trying to frighten me,” said Nikolai, reaching out a finger to touch the tip of the thorn. ”I’m not sure why, but may I suggest a spider wearing a suit?”
“Why a suit?” asked Zoya, frowning. ”Why not just a spider?”
“Where did he get the suit? How did he fasten the buttons? Why does he feel the need to dress for the occasion?”
— Nikolai and Zoya
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 her 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.
— Nikolai about Zoya
But before she could take a step, she saw them — five hulking shapes in the snow. Wolves.
”Of course,” she said. ”Matthias, your country can kiss my fat Grisha ass.”
Lauren Fortgang did a wonderful job with all of the characters. The best thing about listening to stories in the Grishaverse is the slightly Russian accent to many of the characters. Lauren did them all well and it didn’t matter if it was Nikolai’s charm or Zoya’s haughtiness or Nina’s strength and vulnerability she performed them all spectacularly.
Listen to a clip:
- 🎧 Yours Truly, the Duke by Amelia Grey #AmeliaGrey @McMeireKat @BlackstoneAudio #LoveAudiobooks @SnyderBridge4 - March 27, 2023
- 🎧 The Queen’s Price by Anne Bishop #AnneBishop #GaryLittman@PRHAudio @AceRocBooks @BerkleyPub - March 25, 2023
- The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix @garthnix @harperteen @SnyderBridge4 - March 20, 2023
I’ve not read the series but this sounds exciting. I have a few people I will recommend checking this out to. You sure loved it!
I like Bardugo. She gets better and better every book. The Grisha series was okay for me but the Six of Crows series was so good and now this is even better. I love when you can track the progress of one of your favorite writers like that. I hope you get a chance to check her out.
I can’t believe that I still haven’t read this author! I have bought quite a few of her books but haven’t found the time to read them yet. I will get to this one someday!
SO MANY BOOKS. I really think you’d enjoy Six of Crows. It is kinda like Oceans 11 set in a world with magic.
I heard a lot about her books but I haven’t read any yet
She just gets better and better. Hope you get a chance to try her out. So many books, so little time. She is one of the few YA authors I continue to read.
I just ordered my copy of this book and can’t wait for it to get here. I’m thrilled to hear that Nina the Six of Crows duology is in this book too. I was so heartbroken for her in that series.
When you are done I’d be interested to see what you think about her arc.
So this is a spinoff set in the same world? I haven’t tried this author yet. I admit you have me curious Robin.
It is set in the same world. I think that if you haven’t read the other books in this world you are going to be fine. BUT if you have read them it is just going to be better, especially if you loved Nina from the Six of Crows series like I did
Thanks for sharing a new to me author.