Published by Imprint on January 29th 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
He straightened the lapels of his velvet coat and winked.
“It’s not exciting if nothing can go wrong.”
I feel really disappointed that King of Scars – one of my most anticipated books of 2019 – was only a 3-star read for me.
I’m not sure if I’m being harsh or generous, honestly. It wasn’t a bad book. Bardugo keeps growing as a writer and she especially shines with her dialogue. I liked the characters and relationship dynamics; I loved the funny, snarky conversations; I just felt like this book was so slow in parts. 500 pages is on the heftier side for a YA book, and I felt the drag of most of them.
Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are great books, in my opinion. I love the heisting and shenanigans. I think they’re really tightly-plotted and I can 100% understand what I’m reading for. Here, the plot meandered. Nikolai’s efforts to rid himself of his monster seemed to get lost somewhere, and Nina’s mission to find grisha felt open-ended and directionless (it reminded me of Mare’s journey in Glass Sword, which I really disliked).
There’s a real lack of focus for a lot of this book. Romance is minimal, which is usually a good thing, but here it might have added a much-needed hook. I didn’t feel like either Nikolai’s or Nina’s stories provided a significant conflict or mystery until the very end. I was also bored by Isaak’s chapters.
I started King of Scars on such a high, convinced I would love it. 100 pages in I made a note saying “not much has happened”. 200 pages in I made another note saying “lots of Grishaverse recap and flashbacks; little plot progression”. It’s a very long time until the story really goes anywhere.
This all sounds really negative, but it was saved somewhat by how much I enjoy this world and the characters. Zoya is especially interesting. Unlike some, I quite liked the ending, and I’m intrigued by the possible romantic directions the sequels could take. If only this book didn’t feel like one very long prologue.