King of Scars

"Dive into the magical realm of "King of Scars" by Leigh Bardugo, a gripping fantasy novel that weaves political intrigue, magical mysteries, and compelling characters. Experience the enchanting Grishaverse as King Nikolai Lantsov faces internal struggles, creating a spellbinding narrative that captivates from beginning to end. Discover it now!"
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Leigh Bardugo
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“King of Scars” by Leigh Bardugo, a captivating and intricately woven fantasy novel, takes readers back to the enchanting and treacherous world of the Grishaverse. Released in 2019 as the first installment in the Nikolai Duology, this novel delves deep into political intrigue, magical mysteries, and the complex nature of power.

Leigh Bardugo, celebrated for her “Six of Crows” and “Shadow and Bone” series, once again proves her mastery in crafting immersive worlds and compelling characters. In “King of Scars,” she seamlessly blends elements of fantasy, romance, and political drama, offering readers an enthralling experience that pushes the boundaries of the Grishaverse.


The narrative centers around King Nikolai Lantsov of Ravka, who is grappling with the aftermath of the Ravkan civil war and the darkness that resides within him. The story unfolds as Nikolai endeavors to lead his country to recovery while contending with a mysterious magical affliction that threatens to consume him. Meanwhile, in the icy north, Grisha soldier Zoya Nazyalensky faces her own challenges as she navigates a world rife with danger and political intrigue.

As the plot thickens, readers are drawn into a web of magical conspiracies, political machinations, and personal struggles. The story artfully weaves together the destinies of its characters, creating a tapestry of adventure, self-discovery, and sacrifice. With unexpected twists and turns, Bardugo keeps readers on the edge of their seats, exploring the complexities of power, identity, and the consequences of wielding extraordinary abilities.


“King of Scars” has garnered praise for its rich world-building, complex characters, and intricate plot. Critics and readers alike have commended Leigh Bardugo for her ability to seamlessly integrate diverse elements into a cohesive and engaging narrative. The novel’s exploration of themes such as leadership, self-discovery, and the struggle between light and darkness resonates with audiences, adding depth to the fantasy genre.

One common thread in reviews is the admiration for the character development. Nikolai’s internal struggles and Zoya’s journey have been lauded as compelling and relatable. Bardugo’s writing style, characterized by vivid descriptions and emotionally charged prose, has been a highlight for many readers, immersing them in the fantastical world of the Grishaverse.

While the novel has received widespread acclaim, some critics have pointed out that familiarity with Bardugo’s previous works, particularly the “Grisha Trilogy” and the “Six of Crows” duology, enhances the overall reading experience. However, many readers have found “King of Scars” accessible even to those new to the Grishaverse, thanks to Bardugo’s skillful storytelling.


“King of Scars” is filled with poignant and memorable quotes that capture the essence of the characters and the challenges they face. Here are a few notable lines from the novel:

“The monster is me, and I am the monster.”

Nikolai Lantsov
“Power is ephemeral. It’s a flame that can be snuffed out by a gust of wind or fueled by an unexpected breeze.”

Zoya Nazyalensky
“Sometimes, the only way to get what you want is to stand on the corpse of what you once loved.”

Nina Zenik
These quotes exemplify the depth and complexity of the characters, as well as the thematic richness of the novel.


Q : Do I need to read Leigh Bardugo’s other books before “King of Scars”?
A : While familiarity with Bardugo’s previous works adds depth to the reading experience, “King of Scars” can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. The author skillfully provides enough context to allow new readers to immerse themselves in the Grishaverse.

Q : Is “King of Scars” suitable for readers new to the fantasy genre?
A : Yes, the novel is accessible to readers new to fantasy. Bardugo’s engaging writing style and the relatable struggles of the characters make the story compelling for a wide audience.

Q : How does “King of Scars” contribute to the overall Grishaverse lore?
A : The novel expands upon the existing Grishaverse lore, offering new perspectives on the world and its magic. It introduces fresh characters while revisiting familiar ones, deepening the understanding of the intricate fantasy realm Bardugo has created.

Q : Is there a sequel to “King of Scars”?
A : Yes, “King of Scars” is the first book in the Nikolai Duology. The sequel, titled “Rule of Wolves,” continues the story and was released in 2021.

In conclusion, “King of Scars” stands as a testament to Leigh Bardugo’s storytelling prowess, offering readers a spellbinding journey through a world where magic, politics, and personal struggles converge. With its well-crafted plot, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, the novel has solidified its place as a must-read within the fantasy genre. Whether you’re a Grishaverse veteran or a newcomer, this book promises an adventure that will linger in your thoughts long after you turn the final page.