Book: King of Scars
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Pages: 528; Price: Rs 479
'King of Scars' follows a spy named Nina, a Grisha army general, Zoya and the King of Scars, Nickolaj into a story that leads them to the truth of Ravka, the Grisha history and what to expect of their uncertain future. Nickolaj doesn’t just live to fight the enemies of the country, but also the demons of his past quite literally while Zoya stays by his side giving him the strength he needs to get through. Nina, on the other hand, is gathering not just intel, but also Grisha men and women who are not safe outside Ravaken borders, while she aimlessly caries around her deceased loves’ body kept in perfect condition so she could say goodbye at the right time.
We see these characters struggle, keep pace with their lives, missions and saving their beloved country who could be at the brink of war once again after just surviving another few years ago. Nickolaj had managed to give his people a few years of peace and plans of keeping it that way as long as he can, but he can’t if the darkness inside him keeps growing and taking over him. What I wished to see more of was Nickolaj confronting the darkness inside him, which he does for a brief moment in the end. While we don’t really get what we want for the characters, as some leave and some die, Leigh Bardugo gives us the page-turning fantasy it promised.