King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) PDF Book by Leigh Bardugo PDF ePub

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)

by
4.2319,315 votes • 4,918 reviews
Published 29 Jan 2019
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1).pdf
Format Kindle Edition
Pages527
Edition23
Publisher Imprint
ISBN -
ISBN13-
Languageeng



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 (Nikolai Duology, #1) Reviews

✨    jamieson   ✨
- Perth, Australia
4
Tue, 26 Sep 2017

“Nikolai had always understood that he and Ravka were the same. He just hadn’t understood how: He was not the crying child or even the drowning man. He was the forever soldier, eternally at war, unable to ever lay down his arms and heal. Maybe because he knew he and his country were the same”

MY SPOILERY DISCUSSION WHICH TALKS ABOUT THIS BOOK MORE IN DEPTH CAN BE FOUND HERE
“It was angry, hungry, full of broken animal longing. Though Nikolai might not like it, those things were all a part of him still. Like calls to like."

Fair Warning this review is going to have a million quotes because this book was written SO BEAUTIFULLY and Leigh ... please lend me an OUNCE of your talent
I think anyone who is in the YA book community knows just how big a deal this book getting announced was. Every single update on Goodreads was people adding or talking about it, twitter was going off and speculation and theory videos kept on popping up as more and more info got announced. I was 100% a part of this hype. Crooked Kingdom was one of the best books I ever read, and that entire duology owns my heart. I also actually really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy, for its political intrigue, expansive world, and interesting character who still inspire debate in the community even now. Needless to say, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book for quite some time. And it kind of failed to live up to my expectations? But it also way surpassed them in some regards?
King of Scars splits perspective between three main characters – Zoya, Nina and Nikolai. (There is also other perspectives, but I cannot say much without spoiling). We follow each after the events of Crooked Kingdom. Nikolai and Zoya are trying to protect Ravka from threat from their bordering nations, and rally the Grisha to support their country. Nina is living in Fjerda, under the kings orders to find and protect Grisha, but also to fulfil her promise to Matthias to bury him back in his homeland.
For me, the first part of King of Scars was much stronger than the second. The focus on politics in the first half was something I really enjoyed. It had the same feel as Grisha, but on a more international scale. I enjoyed that Bardugo kept up the intricacies of international politics established in Six of Crows, but brought back original trilogy influences, such as the power the church has within state affairs, and Nikolai’s precarious position as ruler due to his family lineage. The political games and Nikolai trying to control the trajectory of Ravka, when faced with great outside threat, was easily my favourite aspect of this book. If you enjoyed the original trilogy for its political intrigue I think you will definitely like this.
Nina’s chapters in this were my favourites, which I am shocked is apparently an unpopular opinion. I don’t want to say too much because you can’t without getting into the spoilery realms, but her role and what she was up to, especially in the second half, WAS THE BEST. In Six of Crows, Nina talks a lot about being a soldier and a nationalist and her love for Ravka and I think we saw that here. I want even more in book 2.
“Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.”

Lets talk about characters! I actually really enjoyed all three perspectives here. Nina, as mentioned, was a joy, and while she wasn’t one of my favourite perspectives in Six of Crows, she really won me over in this.
Nikolai and Zoya were both enjoyable too. I have seen criticism that this book didn’t have Nikolai in it that much and I don’t agree? I think he was in it quite a bit, although his perspectives were perhaps the weakest. Although he was fun to follow, and I love him so much, AND HE IS STYLISH AND FUNNY AS EVER, I also felt we learnt a lot about him. His character was definitely given a depth that wasn't there before, and I think his inner turmoil regarding Ravka, and how he came to identify with Ravka as a solider constntly at war, was a really interesting development for him. And definitely added a complexity to his character and his role as a king. But even though I did enjoy his arc overall, and I loved following him, but it didn’t hit as hard for me as Nina and Zoya’s perspective. I think Zoya especially just had such a strong voice in this, and it definitely seemed to overshadow Nikolai at times.
Despite that, I'm not mad about it at all. I think Zoya has such a strong narrative in this book it doesn’t matter if Nikolai’s fell down a little. She was one of my favourite Grisha characters and I found her backstory really interesting. It was so nice to have her perspective on the Civil War and to see her relationship with Nikolai. Although I really like Nikolai, I was more interested in getting back in this world then seeing him particularly, so for me this book still worked though if you’re a die hard Nikolai fan, I can see why it might not as much.
There was also some romance things going on which … I am going to talk about those more in my discussion.
"Who would speak for Liliyana, for Genya and Alina and Baghra if she did not? Who will speak for me?"

One final thing want to mention, that I LOVED, before we get into some issues was the theming and discussions around agency and what makes a villain. King of Scars looks a lot at the repercussions of war, and how The Darkling impacted each characters life. The focus on how the state and states at war treat women as expendable, and how each characters trauma is dismissed was something I really enjoyed. Zoya’s quest to reclaim and hold on to her agency, and Nina’s quest to give voice to victims was something I REALLY LOVED and haven’t seen many people talk about much!
“Lay down the thorn, boy king. Haven’t you earned a bit of rest? Aren’t you tired?'
He was. Saints, he was. He thought he had grown used to his scars, but he had never grasped how much of his will it would take to hide them. He had fought and sacrificed and bled. He had gone long days without rest and long nights without comfort. All for Ravka, all for an ideal he would never attain and a country that would never care.”

Okay lets get into the issues – which for me was the plot pretty much the entire way through part two (excluding Nina’s chapters) I just .. didn’t like it. For me the plot became kind of too outlandish, and I felt the ending was definitely rushed. The careful set up, and the way Leigh Bardugo had seemed to plot things out with precision really fell apart for me. I found everything that happened with the world a bit too wacky. I also .. HATED .. the ending. I cannot say what happened without spoiling, but it is one of my most hated tropes ever and I am SICK of books doing it. So while I felt I should have been more excited for the sequel, now I’m kinda just worried. I also think the ending does such a disservice to some of her previous works. I am going to go much more into depth on this in my discussion, so stay tuned!
Overall, King of Scars definitely delivered what I was looking for in the majority of the book. It was so nice to get back into the Grisha world and catch up with these characters who we haven’t really seen in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed Nina’s plot, and the focus on dealing with the consequences of the civil war that destroyed Ravka. Leigh Bardugo is a really strong YA fantasy author, and I think I will always enjoy her works. However, part two did fall apart a bit for me, and the ending was .. something I hate. So that definitely detracted from the enjoyment for me. Overall, though, I found this extremely enjoyable, and had all the hallmarks of a Bardugo book I love: strong characters, great worldbuilding, excellent political intrigue and lush writing that sucks me right into the world.
“She wished she had Inej’s gift for spywork or Kaz’s gift for scheming, but she only seemed to have Jesper’s gift for bad decisions.”

OH, AND ON THAT NOTE, EVERY SIX OF CROWS REFERENCE HAD MY HEART GROWING FIVE SIZES!!!

Melanie
- Las Vegas, NV
3
Wed, 27 Sep 2017

“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.”

Oh friends, it has been a long while since I read the concluding events in Ruin and Rising! Honestly? I probably really would have benefited from doing a reread. Yet, I will be the first to admit that I was complete Darkling trash back in the day, and I have grown a lot as a person and realized that he is someone that shouldn’t be romanticized, but I was so damn hyped for this story and to see how the people of Ravka are doing after that final battle and living under a brand new king. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I was truly let down.
Also, I want to emphasize that a three star rating isn’t a bad rating! I still enjoyed this and I loved seeing some of the character that I love with my whole heart and soul, and also falling in love with a new character, too! But this was just so ungodly slow for the first half, which is something I’ve never felt while reading anything by Leigh before. I know that we had a lot of be caught up on, but I just couldn’t immerse myself into the world or story until after the halfway point.
I really recommend that you don’t read King of Scars (or this review, honestly) if you have not read all the other books in the Grishaverse! But as a quick recap before I get into my thoughts and feelings: People are still fearful of Grisha and are capturing and killing them regularly. Grisha are also still becoming addicted to jurda parem, and many different variations of it, which enhances their powers but at a cost.
“The books do not tell the whole story”

And this story is told in many points of views, but there are pretty much only three locations that this story takes place, until they will (hopefully) all weave back together! Zoya and Nikolai are off with a new character trying to discover what lives inside Nikolai. Meanwhile, back at the palace, family friends are teaching a young boy how to impersonate Nikolai himself, so no one will know that he is away! And then we have Nina off on a completely new mission, where she finds out so much about herself and what is happening to Grishas in areas that are still living in fear of them.
But this is a story about grief and loss and how living with those two things can impact your life beyond words. This is a story about being the person everyone wants you to be, while ultimately choosing the person you truly are. This is a story about feeling like your life is predicted for you, but realizing that you are capable of doing any and everything you want.
“Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.”

Zoya Nazyalensky - One of the strongest Grishas ever (Squaller, of the Etherealki Order) and is an incredible fighter and leader. She was also the Darkling’s favorite, but is now my favorite.
Genya Safin - My second favorite character! Genya, as the Darkling's gift, used to be the servant to the Queen, and was treated so very terribly. She is much happier now, but still is living with the torture that the Darkling inflicted upon her.
David Kostyk - A very skilled Fabrikator who helped make things to hold amplifiers.
Tolya Yul-Bataar & Tamar Kir-Bataar - Twin Grishas who own my heart.
Isaak - The common boy solider who is impersonating Nikolai while he is away! (I fell so in love with this new character so easily, truly!)
Nina Zenik - Heartrender (of the Corporalki order) who used to be a part of the Dregs in Six of Crows! Now on a top secret mission, that is about to be jeopardized because of new information! Also, she is on a mission for herself to finally lay someone to rest at home.
Hanne - Fjerdan who Nina meets and instantly feels connected with. Hanne is just trying to live in a world where every opportunity has been taken from her because she is a daughter and not a son.
Leoni & Adrik - both are Grishas who are accompanying Nina on her new mission!
Yuri - A monk who is with Nikolai and Zoya, who is also one of the leaders of Cult of the Starless, who worship the Darkling.
Nikolai Lantsov - The current King of Ravka, who is expected to marry and produce an heir because so many foes are looking to overtake him. But he is dealing with the torture that the Darkling has left in his body.
“A handsome monster husband who put a crown on her head? It’s a perfect fairy tale to sell to some starry-eyed girl. She can lock you in at night and kiss you sweetly in the morning, and Ravka will be secure.”

Nikolai’s monster is something that no one really knows how to control, but he is constantly being drawn to The Shadow Fold, which was the breeding ground of unspeakable shadow horrors and where the Darkling harnessed so very much of his immense power. We are also introduced to three new characters that I’m not going to really talk about because of spoilers, but they were amazing. I loved learning more about amplifiers, since there are so few people who have had them in this world and seeing the power that they bring is pretty intense and such a cool development in this story. Again, without saying too much, I loved all the scenes involving The Fold.
“We are all connected, King Nikolai. The Grisha, the Fold, the power inside you. The Fold is a wound that may never heal. But perhaps it was not meant to.”

But chapter twenty-five is the best chapter in this entire book, and that’s because Zoya is the best character in this book. Like, I get that it is called King of Scars, but this book was way more about Zoya and her beautiful story and everything that she has overcome than Nikolai’s. Especially since this book also spends half of the time focusing on Nina and what she is up to on her mission, I just feel like this is not Nikolai's book; it was half Zoya’s and half Nina’s. Which is fine, I’m not saying I disliked that, I just feel like it was a weird flex because going in you expect it to be all things Nikolai and it really couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, it really doesn’t feel like his character progressed all that much either, where Zoya and Nina both had tremendously big events happen that will alter their future and the very future of Ravka.
Okay, but now I’m going to say the thing that’s probably going to make you all dislike this review, but I don’t really ship Nikolai and Zoya together. Like, I think the story would have been way more powerful if they were just friends. But this weird romance is laced throughout the story, even though there is no confirmation or reward or actual romance, it just felt weird to read. Especially with that annoying ending. I don’t know, I just really don’t ship them together, yet, but I probably will eventually. And I totally would have shipped them if we would have gotten more of them actually starting a romance instead of us just being like, “okay, yeah, this is totally the direction that Leigh is leading us!” Plus, that ending? I really don't want another unnecessary love triangle.
And I want this review to be spoiler free, so I’m not going to go into details, but you’re either going to love or hate the ending. And, friends, I for sure hated it. One of my favorite things in literature is when a spin-off series comes out, and the overarching threat is the ramifications of the what happened to that book’s conclusion and/or villain. Having a cult that views the Darkling as a saint and worships him? That was the setup of my dreams, friends. And the ending just felt like such a cop-out and made me so angry and it really left such a disappointing taste in my mouth.
“All fuels burn differently. Some faster, some hotter. Hate is one kind of fuel. But hate that began as devotion? That makes for another kind of flame.”

Overall, I just didn’t love this the way that I truly anticipated that I would! Maybe I hyped it too much? Maybe I shouldn’t have reread The Wicked King right before starting this? Maybe I’m just being salty over the Darkling? I don’t know, friends, but this let me down. I am highly anticipating what will come with the next book, and I hope to have a much higher rating and happier review! Also, Ninth House is going to be everything and I still cannot wait for that 2019 release!
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Content and trigger warnings for drug addiction, loss of a loved one, grief depiction, captivity, slavery, implied past sexual assault (numerous times & numerous characters), torture, bullying, fatphobic comments (always in a negative light), mention of past death of a baby, attempted pedophilia, suicide, and war themes.
1.) Shadow and Bone ★★★★★
2.) Siege and Storm ★★★
3.) Ruin and Rising ★★
1.) Six of Crows ★★★★
2.) Crooked Kingdom ★★★★★
*.) The Language of Thorns ★★★★★

Nick
- Kosovo, Switzerland
5
Tue, 01 May 2018

tea got spilled
facts got spoken
we're all shook now

Elise
- The United States
4
Wed, 14 Feb 2018

“If men were ashamed when they should be, they'd have no time for anything else.”

You guys all know that I am a total fan of this universe, but I'll be honest: I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I really didn't love Shadow and Bone - actually, I kind of hated it - and subsequent books only disappointed me more. It was only my love for Six of Crows that kept me a fan of this world. But guys, this is a leaps-and-bounds improvement on the Grisha in terms of everything: the sheer writing quality, the thought put into the plot, the character development. All in all, while this wasn't perfect, it was a worthy and entertaining entry into this world.
“All fuels burn differently. Some faster, some hotter. Hate is one kind of fuel. But hate that began as devotion? That makes for another kind of flame.”

I have always been a total sucker for post-war storylines - the post-chaos world of Six of Crows was always incredibly compelling to me, and this was possibly even better. Nikolai and Zoya are attempting to pick the pieces of their country up, hanging on by a delicate thread, as meanwhile, Nina attempts to save as many Grisha as possible. It's a situation in which there is no grand rebellion to have, no grand war - only a slow attempt at progress towards a better future. And it is fascinating
And I absolutely loved how this book handled generational trauma. The people of Ravka have only ever had kings and dictators and each leader has been worse than the last. And it is the Grisha who have suffered most, in the second army, under the Darkling, in each moment. It is utterly horrifying to realize the truth of how much this has affected every one of these people. I think King of Scars does an excellent job discussing agency, and the way everyone is victimized when war and oppression ravage a country.
It's interesting - though the second half of this book is undoubtedly the faster one, I enjoyed my journey through the first half far more. The second half let me down, as we'll address later, but guys, the character development here is just so amazing. Notably, Leigh Bardugo has clearly hit her stride in third person pov - her ability to quickly craft interesting, developed, compelling leads cannot be overemphasized. King of Scars was, admittedly, pretty slow, but I had absolutely no trouble getting engaged, and it is all because of her character work. Here, we're following four leads:
Zoya, a Grisha general close to the king and attempting to work through her trauma.
Nikolai, the struggling but charismatic king of Ravka, who happens to be hiding a demon inside him.
Nina, a Grisha spy going home to bury her love in Fjerda, and maybe get in deeper along the way.
Isaak, the only "new" character, a soldier plucked from obscurity to impersonate the king.
(I also appreciated cameos by characters like Genya, David, Tamar, and Tolya; these four were some of my favorite characters in the original Grisha series, and I loved seeing them get involved.)
You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.

Three of these four lead characters are written exceptionally well, but Zoya's character arc is just incredible. Zoya started off as a bit of a mean girl character in the Grisha trilogy - a bit part, albeit an interesting one. Yet here, she shows her badass side and her more vulnerable one.
He thought he had grown used to his scars, but he had never grasped how much of his will it would take to hide them.

Nikolai's fate in the Grisha is definitely left a bit open for more development, and trust me, despite not being the star, he gets some great progression. In the Grisha, Nikolai is left as a part-monster, something he and Zoya desperately wish to solve. And in many ways, he is an actual King of Scars: his emotional scars, and his physical ones. Seeing him work through these was one the best parts of the book. There's a detail involving a childhood friend of his that I thought was just so sad, and beautifully written, that I cried.
“Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.'”

Nina in this book does not have a huge arc - actually, I felt her plot was more of a setup for her role in book two. But I still really loved my time reading her chapters. Her arc surrounding mourning, and surrounding revenge, is exceptionally well-written, and her plotline is tense, with high stakes and several new side characters. I was not expecting to be obsessed with the fate of Fjerda in a post-parem world, but I really liked what was done here: the idea of Nina staying a soldier, a girl who has changed the fate of history remaining unknown, is so interesting. There’s a bit where Nina encounters a girl addicted to parem, and the raw echoing of her soul at that moment is just… so difficult and so well written. And I loved her two side characters, including Adric and Leoni (who was? saved? by Jesper’s mom?) There's also a line where she fondly talks of “that little bastard Kaz” and I laughed so hard I cried.
Isaak is the only character here who's new to the book, and I felt that though his storyline was incredibly interesting, Bardugo didn't do as great a job with giving us a reason to care about him. In sharp contrast with the other three, I felt more invested in his plot than in his character development.
I also, in a move surprising to both me and everyone else, really liked the romance. Nikolai and Zoya were an unexpected pairing, and yet... I love them? Their dynamic is so funny, most of the time, and then there are these little tender moments between the two that I absolutely love. Zoya is a character who does not trust in love, and seeing her consider letting someone back in was heartwrenching. [spoilers removed]
And I'm also shocked and disappointed to not have heard more about Nina and her very-slow-burning enemies-to-lovers dynamic with Hanne, a Fjerdan Grisha girl. Hanne is a super well-written character and I really liked getting to know her; I think this couple will get more development in book two, but even what they have here is amazing.
“We are all connected, King Nikolai. The Grisha, the Fold, the power inside you. The Fold is a wound that may never heal. But perhaps it was not meant to.”

Unfortunately, I found the second half of this book... disappointing. From around 60% on, I struggled to suspend my disbelief on Zoya and Nikolai's plotline; it felt like a very odd, reaching extension of the general Grisha magic system. Bardugo also utilizes in a couple of plot reveals about two hours before the end, involving characters Secretly Being Shady, that I thought were so incredibly obvious they were barely plot twists. [spoilers removed]
Nina's plotline, thankfully, was the best of the back half of the book. In contrast to my earlier comments, the plot reveals here were excellent, with well-done slow buildup; there are two specifically, one at the very end of the book, that I absolutely adored. I think Nina is going down a really dark path and I'm excited to see what happens next.
There is one ending reveal here that I think people are going to be very torn on, as it removes a very large repercussion of the Grisha trilogy. [spoilers removed] I, personally, can't decide how I felt about it. Possibly, this is because I was spoiled about this particular reveal and was expecting it to go down very differently; thus, I was pleasantly surprised by the actual manner of this twist. [spoilers removed] I just hope Leigh Bardugo knows what she's doing.
“A handsome monster husband who put a crown on her head? It’s a perfect fairy tale to sell to some starry-eyed girl. She can lock you in at night and kiss you sweetly in the morning, and Ravka will be secure.”

Anyway, I genuinely enjoyed this book. It was certainly slower, but there were some excellent elements here, especially in terms of character development. And though the ending was a little disappointing, I think it sets up an excellent sequel. I can't wait to see what happens next.
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Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
- The United States
5
Tue, 26 Sep 2017

Updated with my opinions on the End! (Spoilers are hidden within a spoiler tag)
Hello all, and meet my ghost, who is currently writing this review.
First of all, I think there will be plenty of people who are not thrilled with the end, but I am LIVING for it (and I'll list my reasons at the bottom of this review under the spoiler tag). However - I did have some issues (like the pacing), and I'll talk about them below, but overall, Queen Leigh is so freaking brilliant. I am in utter and complete shock. I had to reread the last chunk about 10 times before the ending sunk in. I screamed my throat raw, scared my cat, and practically passed out.
First of all, an absolute massive standing ovation to Lauren Fortgang, who narrated this book on audio and blessed me with her talent. I absolutely 10000% recommend the audio version – and this goes for the original trilogy too (which she also narrated). The audiobooks are outstanding. (Yes I am unhealthily obsessed and Lauren, if you read this, I am... sorry.)
That also leads me to my next point – you DEFINITELY need to read the original trilogy (Shadow and Bone) before reading this – which is legit one of my all time favorite series. I also recommend reading Six of Crows because a main character (and massive spoilers) are in this book for her. Basically, please read through all the Grishaverse books. You won’t regret it, and if you don’t, you will be spoiled for all of them.
Alright, back to this barely coherent review.
I love everything about my precious son Nikolai, and like always, he is absolute perfection. I've been BEGGING for this book for the longest time. But I definitely had some issues with parts of the book – mostly about certain plot points that had me scratching my head a bit. Some parts were slow. Now that I’m finished, I think some of those bits are growing on me, but I gotta say (sadly) that I found myself a bit bored at times (more below). But listen. Leigh is my favorite author. I freaking adore everything she writes. Her worldbuilding is absolutely astounding, and her characters are just… I can’t. I love them. So that, paired with the ENDING THAT KILLED ME, is the reason I am rating this five stars. Queen Leigh deserves nothing less. I admire her endlessly. I think I'll enjoy this even more the second time around, especially now that I know what she was building towards.
“One risks looking less like a monarch and more like a hostage.”
“You have emissaries to manage these matters of state,” Zoya had argued, “ambassadors, underlings.”
“The public may forget how handsome I am.”

Let's break it down.
Nina.
This is where I had a hard time. I love her, I REALLY do – so much. She’s hysterical and super relatable, not to mention, a great role model for girls. She's the friend I wish I had growing up. But I found myself dozing off during her chapters. I’m not going to say much since we’re right at the release, but she’s away from Nikolai + co on some mission in Fjerda, and it seemed to drag and drag. I was so excited to see her interact with my crew (Genya, David, Zoya, etc) but alas, she’s occupied. Don’t get me wrong, she has some great moments – and some teary ones for sure, especially if you know the ending of Crooked Kingdom (she’s still dealing with this). But I just didn’t love her chapters. That being said, I’m 1000% stoked to see the moments I craved in the sequel.
Nikolai.
My golden son. I said it above, but he’s perfection. He’s witty, clever, smart-mouthed in the best way, and all around charming as usual. Belt up those pants, friends, otherwise he’ll charm them right off. If you’ve followed his story, you know what happened to him in R&R, so obviously he’s dealing with that – as a major plot point of this book. (Queue Britt sobbing into her tea.) What made me the most sad, though, was for a book titled King of Scars, I feel like we didn’t get ENOUGH of him. He didn’t have that many POV chapters - and it felt like Zoya's book tbh. But even still, he’s a freaking badass, and always manages to steal the show. The two-clever fox. I knew this, and he STILL shocked me out of my seat more than once.
And the end? *bites fist* *zips lips before I explode* Ahhhghghghgh. (more on this lower)
Zoya.
I like her, but I haven’t fallen in love with her. I will say this though – she grew on me a lot, and Leigh wrote her character arc beautifully. In fact, that's the focus of her chapters - we find out so much more about her past and what really went on from her perspective during the Grisha Trilogy. All that, and she had some truly fantastic moments. I loved the banter between her and Nikolai. Now, I know some of you are wondering about the ships so I’m going to post my thoughts in the spoiler tag. [spoilers removed]
The plot.
Ahhhhhh so yes. I have so many mixed feelings! But again, I freaking love Leigh, and I’m not going to get overly critical here. But this kiiiinda felt like a prologue book. I mentioned I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nina’s chapters. I actually really enjoyed Zoya + Nik’s POVs – though at around half-way, things got real weird and I was suddenly questioning if I was reading the same book. Things change course super fast and the plot takes a nose-dive in another direction and I was like??? What is happening??? - I’ll add more once the book has been out for a while, but for now, I’ll just say this: Parts of it, I LOOOOVED, and other parts, I’m still totally confused and frazzled about.
But then.
But then.
But then.
The ending.

Hot damn can Leigh write a killer ending – and oooooooooo boy did she go where I never thought she’d go. Let me tell you right now – we’re going to have SO many people that hate this. I'm calling it - people are going to complain, and I'm going to have to try hard not to roll my eyes - because I freaking LOOOOVED it (and not for reasons you might expect). If you think about it, which I have - a lot - it's freaking brilliant. I’ll expand more once the book has been out for a while, but holy hell I am so here for this. The next book – oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.
I am.
Still screaming.
My throat.
Is raw.
Alright, friends. Want to know my reasoning for loving the end? Here it is (warning - it's very long):
[spoilers removed]
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