The Epic conclusion to King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. Read the second of the duology novels and find out what happens to King Nikolia and the country of Ravka. There will be some spoiler so be forewarned.
Rule of Wolves: Summary
After failing to remove the demon from within, King Nikolia and Zoya return with the Darkling who has taken over Yuri Vedenen’s body. The king of Ravka plans to create a treaty with Shu Han and their queen, Makhi Kir-Taban. But Kir Taban has plans to conquer Ravka and has set a plan in motion to do just that.
Fjerda has declared war on Ravka and even has allied themselves with a Lanstov who has a claim to the throne as Nikolia is a bastard. With Nina and Hanne infiltrating the Ice Kingdom, they try to use their access to Fjerda’s royalty to change the city from within. They try to gain favor with the sickly prince who will inherit the throne.
Zoya Nazyalensky faces her past and her Shu heritage as she navigates her true feelings the people she loves. One of them is Nikolia but she knows that he needs to wed a princess and secure Ravka’s future. It is up to Zoya to preserve not only her kingdom but her future as well as every Grisha and soldier of the Ravka as she and Nikolia face off against the much superior Fjerda.
Rule of Wolves feels a lot different from its prequel King of Scars. We are introduced to another narrator and while it works, the connection that Bardugo has festered with her longer running characters is not easily replicated. Maybe it will hold more weight in the upcoming novels but even then, I don’t see Mayu Kir-Kaat playing a big role going forward but I’m sure we will see her again.
There is a lot going on in this novel and it can be overwhelming at times. There is a war going on, the Darkling is back, Nina and Hanne are busy infiltrating Fjerda, and a heist takes place. More than one iconic character makes a return which is great if you have read the other novels by Bardugo. If you haven’t, then you will probably find unnecessary in this jam-packed novel.
Lastly, this novel felt like the Shadow and Bone trilogy with the same pace for the love interest between Zoya and Nikolia. I find them being together fine but a lot of time and writing is dedicated to them and that felt out of place in this novel where war is actively taking place. It should have been sorted out before or after the war.
I enjoyed King of Scars a lot more and now thinking about it, it was probably because the love focus doesn’t take up so much of the writing. A lot of the writing is the same stuff being repeated and I understand the point of showing us the emotional journey but it shouldn’t hurt the main plot.
Bardugo sets up the scene for an epic battle and she delivers. The plot twist caught me off guard which is funny because we are told what is possible in the previous novel. It is an epic conclusion to the Ravka disaster and it doesn’t turn out how you expected, making it even more memorable in the process.