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Reader’s Report: ‘King of Scars’

Hi there! My name is Ani and this is Reader’s Report, where I review a book that I’ve read recently and explain exactly how I feel about it to you lovely people.

This week’s book is “King of Scars” by Leigh Bardugo. If you were a reader last semester, this author will look really familiar because she has also written one of my favorite and most wonderful books ever, “Six of Crows.” This book is essentially an extension of the same universe as “Six of Crows” as well as the “Shadow and Bone” series and follows other characters as they venture out in their magical world. 

So, I’m going to be entirely honest right now, I bought this book three (!!) years ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf for the entirety of those three years. In fact, the pages have yellowed. That’s how long it’s just been there for. For some reason, I had a big falling out with fantasy novels and I had been reading these cute little rom-com-esque books, but over break I was so sick of them that I finally picked up “King of Scars” and I am so glad I did.

One of the first things that I realized when reading this book was the fact that I missed this magical universe. In case you haven’t read my review of “Six of Crows,” (which you definitely should), one of my favorite things about the novel is the way that Bardugo creates a world that has so much depth and lore to it. It’s genuinely shocking how she’s been able to unpack this world and how there seems to be more that the reader doesn’t even know about yet. Every page there’s some curse or piece of magic that has like at least 1000 years of backstory, and you just keep learning more and more about it throughout the 300 pages of this book. 

But let’s get to the real point of this review. The whole reason I wanted to write about this book is because of the fact that it has one of the most wonderful and charismatic characters I’ve ever had the honor of reading about, Nikolai Lantsov. Nikolai is not a new character to this universe. In fact, he’s had cameos in essentially every book that is set in Ravka and/or Ketterdam (hello “Crooked Kingdom”!). And he’s not a character that is glossed over either, in fact his entire backstory is detailed in the “Shadow and Bone” series. On one hand, it makes me think that you should read that series to understand him better, but it wasn’t enjoyable at all, so please feel free to look up the summarized version and call it a day. Tumblr user “nikolai lantsov lvr” (or something of the sort) will probably answer all of your questions.

The next point of this review is the fact that it lets me talk about the only other female character that has ever existed in literature (other than Elizabeth Bennett, of course), Zoya Nazyalensky. I love this woman. She’s a very human character and she’s so wonderfully written, as are all of Bardugo’s characters. She fits in the same category as Amy March and Korra, two women who are hated for being so unbelievably human. God forbid a woman has opinions in this day and age. Or even worse, feels rage!!! Her story and her upbringing are very emotional and her internal struggles, even as a girl with magical wind powers, are very very real.

The plot of this book is also interesting, though not as interesting as “Six of Crows”. I think that it was partially because the book had me sitting there wondering when I was going to get Zoya and Nikolai together. You should see the fan arts people make of them. It’s actually so insane. I was definitely more focused on this than I was in the plot if I’m being so honest right now. But in actuality, the plot was good too. But more seriously, I need these two in a couple today, preferably.

Guys, I almost forgot about Nina, I’m so ashamed of myself. Nina is another character that is even cooler because she literally comes from the “Six of Crows” series. She’s definitely one of the characters that you need a lot of background info for, which is another reason why you should read “Six of Crows” before reading this. Her journey throughout this book was also very emotional and she had a lot of development from where she left off in “Crooked Kingdom” which was great to see. I really enjoyed her character more in this book than I did in the others because I was actually able to get to know her better. 

So, do I think you should read this book? Yes. I think that you should definitely have some idea of what’s going on in “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows,” so read those first if you haven’t. But once you have, this book is a really solid fantasy novel to read next. And once you do, you can go discover all the insane Zoyalai fanart and come back here and say, “wow, I’m so glad I read this book so I can see blond, white man #2345436 get with the most stunning and gorgeous woman of the century”. Or you can read literally any of the other two million books with the same trope. In fact, maybe I’ll write a nice list of them just for you. 

Well anyway, I’ll see you next time.

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