Leigh Bardugo impresses again with “King of Scars” final book

On March 30, best-selling author Leigh Bardugo released the final book in her “King of Scars” duology, “Rule of Wolves.” It is arguably one of her best books yet, with worldbuilding, action and plot twists that fans have come to expect from the author. Readers can also look forward to appearances of beloved characters from her previous novels.

Bardugo is commonly praised for her worldbuilding; she managed to outdo herself in her latest duology. Not only does she master describing unique settings, but her ability to create various religions, country histories and relations, currencies and political systems makes her “Grishaverse” feel tangible.

This duology is set about two years after her last series, “Six of Crows,” and features one of the characters as its main narrator. Nina Zenik, a criminal in “Six of Crows,” now acts as a spy for the country of Ravka. The other two narrators, King Nikolai and his general, Zoya, are characters from Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone” trilogy. She successfully intertwined characters and plot lines from the two previous series in “King of Scars,” making it almost feel like a nostalgic cross-over.

The use of these three narrators benefited the story as it allowed the reader to jump between different countries while a world war unfolds. Many perspectives on the same war are given, which is an interesting contrast to many young-adult fantasy novels. Another aspect that makes Bardugo’s take on war unique is how much focus there is on the logistics of it. Ravka and other countries are in the midst of industrialization. Different governments are learning how to build rockets, better guns and warships. It is just another detail that adds to the believability of the Grishaverse.

Not only do they have new weapons going for them, but there is also magic, referred to as the “Small Science.” This is performed by people known as Grisha, who have powers that range from the ability to control natural elements, solid materials and heartbeats. The presence of Grisha allows for more of a fantasy setting and only raises the stakes in the many battles.

Along with the action and wit of Bardugo’s writing, “Rule of Wolves” was impossible to put down because of the many political schemes that unraveled, catching both the characters and readers off guard. With the many plot lines, character perspectives and twists, the book is consistently exciting, emotional and shocking.

Readers should read the “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” series first for a better understanding of the latest books. While it sounds like a long to-read list, it is worth it.
Fans of the Grishaverse can also now watch the adaptation of Bardugo’s books on Netflix, which started streaming on April 23. The show follows the “Shadow and Bone” series and offers a backstory to the “Six of Crows” characters. It is not yet known how many books within the trilogy will be adapted, or if the “King of Scars” duology will make it to the screen.

The future of the show is all the more reason to start reading these books now.