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Monday, September 6, 2021

Book Review: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

BOOK review
Started on: 6 August 2021
Finished on: 27 August 2021
Title: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 592 pages / 598 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2021
Price: Rp 198,000 (

Rating: 3/5
*for those who haven't read the first book, this review may contain spoiler.
"A king with a demon inside him. A monk with the Darkling inside him. A general with a dragon inside her. We're all monsters now, Nikolai."
As Fjerda's massive army prepares to invade Ravka, Nikolai Lantsov summoned every bit of his ability—and even the demon within him, to win this fight. Alongside Nikolai, Zoya Nazyalensky has suffered and lost too much to war. Now duty demands her to embrace her newfound powers to become the weapon that her country needs. At the same time, Nina Zenik is still doing undercover work and wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness, or they have to watch a nation fall.
"Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up—even when all hope is lost."
"Love was the destroyer. It made mourners, widows, left misery in its wake. Grief and love were one and the same. Grief was the shadow love left when it was gone."
After 4 months, I finally finished reading all the series in the Grishaverse that has been published so far. Among all the other books, I gave this one the lowest rating because I was quite underwhelmed by how the story progressed—especially the ending that felt a bit rushed for me personally. As I said in my review for King of Scars, I think my expectations were set too high for this duology, that's why it is incredibly easy for me to get disappointed when it didn't deliver. Despite my dissatisfaction with this book, there are of course some parts that I still enjoyed; and I will be sharing more of my thoughts in this review.

Just like the first book, Rule of Wolves is still written in third-person POV from multiple characters; the difference is, we now have new perspectives from Mayu and The Monk besides the main characters. Mayu's chapters are set in Shu Han, where Tamar and Princess Ehri are confronting Queen Makhi regarding the khergud program. While The Monk's chapters show us what the Darkling is doing after he escaped under the guise of Yuri Vedenen and assemble the supporters of the Starless Saint. Aside from that, there's still Nina's perspective—showing us what she and Hanne are doing in Fjerda to assist Ravka from behind the enemy lines. At the same time, Nikolai and Zoya had to seek help from Ketterdam to at least give Ravka a fighting chance of winning the war. To be honest, so many things are happening in this book which makes the whole story feels rushed just so it can be resolved quickly. I personally really enjoyed Mayu and Nina's chapters because they are the most thrilling to read and action-packed as well. I was also delighted to meet Kaz Brekker once again when Nikolai requested for his help because Kaz is my favorite character in the Grishaverse. The only chapter that I don't really enjoy and find confusing is the The Monk/the Darkling's chapters. I wasn't able to talk about it in my review for the first book to avoid spoilers, but I was not thrilled with the idea of the Darkling coming back to life. One of the reasons why I gave this book a 3/5 rating is also because of that particular aspect of the story and I am very disappointed with how the conflict with the Darkling ended so abruptly. However, the last sentence of this book gave me hope because it seems the author is hinting the possibility of another book involving Kaz Brekker. At least that helped ease my disappointment a little.
"I am the monster and the monster is me."
"You can choose faith or you can choose fear. But only one will bring you what you long for."
Now, let's talk about the characters. In this sequel, Nikolai finally had to confront the truth about his parentage. It was very fascinating to meet Magnus Opjer because the similarity between him and Nikolai is undeniable. Magnus proved to be a very interesting character, but unfortunately we only get to see him for a very short time. I wished he played a bigger role in this duology. On the other hand, Nina Zenik had a very thrilling moment when she came face to face with the man who murdered Matthias. She was forced to make a choice between revenge or continuing with her current mission in Fjerda. Nina's mission is always the most exciting one to follow since she's an undercover spy working right under the enemy's nose. I'm glad she got her own happy ending after going through a lot of grief. Zoya had the coolest character development in this book because she unleashed Juris's power at last during the final battle between Ravka and Fjerda. It's definitely one of my favorite moments in this book because it was so epic! Throughout the story, Zoya also had to make peace with her past and embrace the power that she now possess. Although she's not my favorite character, I have to admit that her powers that she got from Juris is so awesome.

As I said earlier, the most disappointing aspect of this book for me was the Darkling. First of all, I feel like it is unnecessary for him to return in this duology because I don't know what the purpose is for. After he managed to escape, the Darkling gathered with the supporters of the Starless Saint but doesn't necessarily develop the plot with his actions. I can't talk much about the ending to avoid spoilers, but the Darkling's action seems out of character and feels a bit anti-climactic considering his epic return from the dead. Basically, the Darkling's appearance in this duology is a major turn-off for me personally. His actions during the war was also confusing and makes me question his motives. I don't know, maybe it's just me who's unable to understand or sympathize with his character 🤷
"But all those lives were gone, vanished at each crossroads, with each choice he'd made. He'd given them up for Ravka. Would it be worth it in the end?"
After finishing this book, I struggled giving this book a rating because some parts of this book I really enjoyed, but some other parts I was also quite disappointed with. I wish the author didn't tackle so many conflict in this duology and trying so hard to resolve everything with only two books. I'm also sad because Nikolai's character didn't truly shine in this duology when he's supposed to be the main character. Despite my disappointment, I'm glad I was able to finish reading all the books in the Grishaverse—it's been a thrilling ride full of twists and turns that I did not expect. If Leigh Bardugo is indeed planning to write another book involving Kaz Brekker and his crew in the future, I would most definitely read it right away! 😆
"I found my way to who I was meant to be through the pain I endured. I'm stronger for it."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .

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