Basically Nina is my QUEEN, as always // Spoiler-Free King of Scars Review

Hi, my name’s Aline and I WILL FIGHT anyone who says Nina’s not amazing. Thank you, goodbye.

(Not really, I have lots more to say sksksksk)

In case you were not aware (and there’s a very good chance of that since I’ve posted a grand total of one post so far lmao), I ADORE the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo! I also liked the Grisha trilogy, because of all the magic and NIKOLAI, but I did not fall in love with its characters as thoroughly as I did with Six of Crows. Now, here I have a book with NINA, one of my absolute favourites, AND Nikolai????????? My queen of waffles and the king of wit and charm? Needless to say, I HAD HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Were those expectations met? Yes… with a side dish of no. LET ME EXPLAIN.

  • The world of the Grisha is as fantastical as ever, though not as Small-Science (magic)-focused as the original books! It was so interesting to see more of Fjerda as well as post-war Ravka.
  • A lovely surprise was Zoya! Truth be told, I found her kind of overrated when reading the Grisha books, but having her POV in this book added so much more depth to her character and I liked her so much!! What a fierce icon.
  • I also liked Isaak! He only had a couple of chapters but he was okay.
  • Seeing some old favourites from the original books is so so lovely!! Namely, I LOVE Tamar and Nadia. (I’m so happy they’re marriedddd.)
  • My poor boy Nikolai is honestly so wonderful aahhhh. Previously, we’ve only seen this character through mainly Alina’s eyes; witty, deceptively charming and manipulative, a character everyone fell for. In KoS, we still have that charming self, but getting his POV (especially with what he’s going through) adds a layer of depth to his character that’s more somber and is simply more than the pretty face and the even prettier words he shows to others. AND I LOVED IT. (I’m sorry, the charming prince who hides his trauma and sadness with humour? MY UNDOING.)
  • Lastly, you know I have all the feels for NINA ZENIK!! She is just so fierce, and confident and wonderful and SHE LOVES WAFFLES (yes this is important)
  • All the heartbreak at the end of Crooked Kingdom came back to me in the first few Nina chapters and I JUST 😭😭
  • Nina is 150% bisexual and I AM HERE FOR IT (I’m calling a certain f/f relationship in the future 👀 I’ll be very disappointed otherwise omg)
  • One of the reasons I love Nina so much is because of how she stands up for herself; acting soft, or playing into the “traditional” role of women doesn’t make her weak, any more than carrying a sword and killing others makes someone strong–I LOVE how Nina embodies that
  • Also can we get a huge resounding YES for plus-size representation in fantasy? Nina’s confidence is absolute GOALS (and I love how, even when she was being tailored, her size was never altered to be skinnier, bless)
  • I am also not ashamed to say any and all mention or reference to Ketterdam and my faves made me SQUEAL
  • Honestly, the fact that Nina’s time in Ketterdam makes its appearance in little ways (saying “No mourners” to herself when she’s doing something dangerous, using Kaz’s tricks to gain an advantage over someone, etc) JUST MADE ME SO HAPPY
  • Um, okay so… the first half went very slowly?? I adored the characters so I kept reading obviously, but the plot felt very stagnant for a large portion of the book? The action that was happening felt very much so a mild precursor to the *real* action and was perhaps not as exciting? IT KILLS ME TO SAY THAT AAAH
  • (Having said that, the second half IS SPECTACULAR and I literally could not stop reading!! I was SHOOKETH)
  • Despite how much I loved Nikolai, at the same time I felt… sort of distanced from him at times? (Which is heartbreaking because I love him omg and we literally get his POV now) I feel like we’ve seen so much more of him yet I’ve still so much more to gain?? I’M JUST WEIRD OKAY NIKOLAI IS STILL FABULOUS AND PRECIOUS
  • As much as I love Nina no matter where she is, who she’s with, I have to say I miss her camaraderie with the Six of Crows gang??! But it’s totally unfair for me to list that as a negative as that’s really no fault of the book or the author?! Because OF COURSE Nina isn’t going to have as cozy of a relationship with Grisha she’s met after many years! Yet I just can’t help but miss the dynamic she had with the Dregs. Which, as I said- totally unfair!! Disregard everything I just said. It just had to be said. I LOVE THE DREGS TOO MUCH. 🙈

TL;DR version for everyone:

Particularly if you’re familiar with the characters (which I say you should be if you’re picking this up! And that means the Grisha AND the Six of Crows books for full enjoyment benefits) this book is SO WONDERFUL. I adored Nina, Nikolai and Zoya’s POVs so much. However, for those of you who are interested in a more fast-paced plot, you WILL have to wait a bit to get to the real action of the story! IT’S ALL WORTH IT THOUGH I PROMISE.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars! I may be being too generous here, but honestly I don’t really care at this point. 😂 The pacing of the plot does make me withhold the 5 star honour, but the second half of the book and my love for the characters deserve as close to 5 stars as possible so here we are!!

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.
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Tell me: How excited are you to read King of Scars??!! If you’ve read it, what were your thoughts? (Please try to keep it spoiler-free though, for people who haven’t read it yet!) DID YOU LOVE SIX OF CROWS? (I’m sorry, the only acceptable answer here is yes.) Did you enjoy the Grisha trilogy? (Sooo many mixed opinions with that one hahaha I’m curious!) What was your most recent favourite read or what are you currently reading?

16 thoughts on “Basically Nina is my QUEEN, as always // Spoiler-Free King of Scars Review


    i’m really glad you enjoyed this! i dnfed ruin and rising so i hope i can still enjoy this series since i’ve been spoiled for the last book and know what happens. I just want to read this for NINA bc she’s my fave!!! i hope to get this from my library soon ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. THIS REVIEW IS SPECTACULAR AHH. I agree with basically everything you said (even though I’m only about 70% through the book lol) Nina *is* such a Queen and she deserves the entire world and more. YES THOSE HINTS OF THE FUTURE F/F RELATIONSHIP WERE EVERYTHING. Wow I love her so much… but also I miss the rest of our SoC gang too hahaha

    Aghh and I know what you mean about Nikolai. I’ve absolutely adored him since we met him in Siege and Storm, but there has been some kind of disconnect in this book?! Which is so weird because the book is supposed to focus on him, but it doesn’t really feel like it does. Still love him so much tho. He’s a gem.

    I think I’m going to end up with a 4.5 star ish rating too even though I’m not loving this as much as I excepted too lol. I’m just so overwhelmingly happy to be reading about these characters again!! Great review Aline💗

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOUUUU 😭❤️❤️ You’re so kind. I KNOW RIGHT weren’t they absolutely amazing?!! I LIVE. Haha I know oh my gosh!! They were the best together 😍

      Aah I’m glad I’m not the only who felt this way, (though it’s unfortunate at the same time ahh)! Right?? It’s weird… but I love him anyway haha.

      I know what you mean! I expected to love it more as well? But I missed the characters so much ahah. Thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book, I can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts! 💕


  3. AHHHH YES YES YES!!! I adored this book so much as well – I just posted my own review! 😀 – and Nina was such a shining point! It was truly amazing to return to that world and those characters. All the references to the previous books (including Nina and Inej’s friendship, I cry 😭) made me scream. And! And! And! The possibility of a future f/f romance with Nina!!!! (Even though Matthias is still an aching hole in my heart…) I also really appreciated getting to know Zoya better through this book! Basically, I just can’t wait for the next one – why do we have to wait????

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    • YAY I’M SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT! I have to go check out your review asap ahah 😊 I KNOW RIGHT?!?!!! I adore Nina so so much and all the references to the past books are INCREDIBLE. My heart was just so full 😭😭❤️ (Ninej is the BEST 💗) I KNOW!!! I am honestly SO EXCITED (though of course our favourite Fjerdan is still in our hearts ahh 😭) Yes! She was often reduced to a cold hearted, beautiful rival in Alina’s POV but she’s so much more complex in King of Scars. 😍 I KNOWWWW after that ending I absolutely neeeeeeed the second book!!


  4. I absolutely loved this book and I’m a huge fan of all of Leigh Bardugo’s works. It was so great to return to the GrishaVerse and I really liked both Nina’s and Zoya’s plotlines in this book as I spent way too much time talking about in my own review 🙂
    Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely LOVE Six of Crows but the Grisha trilogy not so much 😅 I don’t hate it either, I just thought the first two books were okay? I still have to read the third one, and now with King of Scars out I feel like I really have to. Unless a summary somewhere on the internet exists that’s enough haha. I did love Nikolai though!! Thus why I really want to read this one, plus Nina of course. But I do think I’ll have the same problem that I’ll miss her interactions with the Dregs 😦 I just love them so much?? Especially Nina’s friendship with Inej just makes me ahsjdgs 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahahah yes I know what you mean, Six of Crows is so much better than the Grisha trilogy!! 🙈 I bet there’s a summary out there somewhere! 😂 aaah YES Nikolai and Nina are such precious gems!! I love them so much. Gosh yes, the Ninej dynamic is my absolute favourite! 😭❤️ I miss Nina with the Dregs so much ahhh.

      Liked by 1 person

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