King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)/ ★★★.5
“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. 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.”
I think I have to end up giving this book 3.5 stars. Set after the Grisha trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology, we take off with Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina into the next chapter of the Grishaverse.
The good- I loved getting reacquainted with these characters again. We learn previously unknown backstories in Nikolai and Zoya, and we get to see where the future is taking Nina after the events of the Six of Crow duology. I liked the budding romances- it’s mild in this book, definitely taking it slow, but I like where it’s taking us. It was the characters, really, that I loved about this book, Zoya and Nikolai especially, and I loved the introduction of Hanne in Nina’s parts of the novel. What I found most intriguing in this book was definitely the dynamics between characters- some old, some newer, and some brand new.
The bad- King of Scars just didn’t need to be as long as it is. It’s over 500 pages, but I didn’t feel like enough happened to justify it being that long, and some parts felt frivolous and unnecessary (coughIsaak’spovcough). It was entertaining, but it took some slogging through slower parts to get to the more interesting parts. The plot simply didn’t feel as tight as Leigh’s other books in this world. This book also did a lot of recap of the Grisha trilogy, which was good because I didn’t remember the finer details of those books, but sometimes it felt like a bit too much- like this book was relying more on the past for this story, than taking us forward. But since this is the first book of a duology, I’m assuming this is setting up a lot, and the next book will bring us forward. I gotta say, though- not a huge fan of the ending, but like I said, I think it relied too much on the past series to make it shocking and exciting, but I don’t like the regression- I want to move forward.
All-in-all I enjoyed this, but I think the slow pace of the plot made it tough for me to fully enjoy it. But I loved the characters and the universe, and I’m still eager and excited for the sequel.