Monday, March 18, 2019

A very spoilery King of Scars discussion

Happy Monday, book nerds! Today I want to do something a little different and discuss a book I've already reviewed. Why, you ask? Well, because the initial shock of the ending has worn off a bit and I've been thinking more and more about this book and whether I love it as much as I thought I did.

I can say straight away that the ending of King of Scars took it up at least one full star. Before that I was thinking it would possibly be a solid four star read, then THAT ENDING happened and I was so excited about it that I immediately changed it to five. If you've already read this book or don't mind spoilers, keep reading. Otherwise, turn back now! There will be spoilers for the Grisha Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and King of Scars!

You are very welcome for Tom Hiddleston's lovely face.

Okay, so. Let's talk. I have a lot of feelings that I didn't mention in my initial review because, like I said, the hype was so real over the ending. Here goes nothing.


First thing's first. It seems like EVERYONE has an opinion on Nina being included in this book. In my review I said that I would've been happy without them, but they were fine. Now that I'm thinking about it more, I'm really not sure what the point of including them was other than to bring in the Six of Crows audience. There does seem to be something of a tie to Nikolai because she's working for him somehow, but it seemed like such a convoluted way to bring her into Nikolai's story. The more I've thought on this, the more I'm convinced that Nikolai, Sturmhond, our favorite privateer prince deserved better than to split his book with another character from another series and I am no longer okay with it. I don't hate Nina, but I wish she'd been given her own book or maybe been mentioned briefly instead of taking up half the book.


Where even was it? I've seen people talking about Nikolai and Zoya and what a great couple they are, but like. What? We've made it through a 528 page book and we have to wait even LONGER for our dear, beloved Nikolai to get a romantic arc? It's obvious that's where it's heading, but I really wish there'd been a bit more of it here. To be completely honest, though, I would have preferred a romantic storyline with a completely new character instead of Zoya. It's nothing personal against Zoya, I just feel like something new might have been more exciting.


This and the last point are what really sparked this post. I'm starting to feel like half the point of this book was to drive home that the Darkling was Bad with a capital B. In Shadow and Bone Leigh Bardugo wrote a wonderfully complex character who was sympathetic and mysterious and easy to love in the way one loves a tortured villain. People shipped him and Alina HARD and a lot of us were pretty upset about how her romance ended up. Of course we all know that the Darkling was a villain. Obviously. But we love him and, I don't know, maybe she wasn't expecting that? It's really confusing to me that after spending the original trilogy making so many people love him, she spent this entire book driving home that we should hate him. I don't like it. :/


Maybe it's because these books were written so far apart, but I had a HARD time figuring out where exactly we were this story happened on the timeline. I had the same issue with Six of Crows. It feels like a completely different world than the Grisha Trilogy and I had a really difficult time believing it was supposed to take place very shortly after. Then we start this book and Matthias has only JUST died? But Alina is basically a fairytale and everyone acts like she never existed. But it was just a few years ago that she saved everyone?? I'm so confused. After some digging I think this story happens maybe three years after the trilogy, but honestly, I don't know.


Hm. So the other half of King of Scars, apart from Nina and her adventures, consists of Nikolai and Zoya on a journey with a Darkling cult member to rid Nikolai of his monster, which has been gaining strength. It is an interesting enough plot, for sure, but it gets a little weird. Saints exist in the trilogy, but here they end up in an in between world and do a Karate Kid training montage with some saints so that Nikolai can summon the monster and kill it. Like I said, it was interesting, but bizarre, and also seemed to take quite a long time but also not realistically long enough. Am I making sense?? Like, in pages I wish it hadn't taken so long, but in book time it seemed kind of off in the timeline (again).


Okay, this ties into the Darkling PSA throughout the book and I have a lot of feelings. On the one hand, I was SO EXCITED that the Darkling was back! YES! This is what I was hoping would happen when the book was announced! But. BUT. What is the point of his return? It's very, very unlikely that my sweet Darkling is going to get a redemption arc and Leigh just spent 500+ pages reminding us what a terrible, awful, despicable villain he is, just to bring him back. Is the entire point of this series for the Darkling to come back, be even more evil to remind us how EVIL he is, then die again? Like? Why though?

In conclusion, I don't know how to feel about this book now that I've thought about it at length. What was the whole point of it in the end? I'm just... a little sad to realize that this really wasn't a five star read for me. I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this! Please share what you think in the comments!