I was so excited for the second King of Scars book to be finally published but then I got swamped with work and didn’t have time to read it and after that other novels kept snagging my attention. Well, long story short I *finally* sat down to read Rule of Wolves!
The Plot (according to Goodreads):
The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
I have a tiny little problem. See, I was convinced that I wouldn’t need to re-read King of Scars because of course I’d remember everything going into this book. Of course I didn’t. I had essentially no memory of just about everything and was rather confused for a good amount of pages. After the new story jogged my memory, there were some things that came back to me, but others – still a total blank on my end. Oopsie!
Despite that little mishap on my end, I enjoyed the book a lot. There is so much going on – maybe too much.
We have several different story lines here that weave together and apart and back together over the course of the story. The book has just shy of 600 pages but there is so much squeezed into that space, that some of it gets lost. It’s impossible to everything justice in this amount of pages and to give everything enough room (and the significance) it would deserve. I feel like some moments could have been extremely intense but as we went through everything rather fast, it wasn’t so much a bullet that hit you square in the chest, but rather just grazed your arm.
There are a great many things I enjoyed about Rule of Wolves. Especially Fjerda and the war were intriguing to me. Many important questions (also in terms of weaponry) are raised that are just as relevant to the story as they are to the real world. What I didn’t like, however, was the whole part of the Darkling in this story. I don’t want to go into detail, because of spoilers but frankly, I’m not entirely sure the ending made sense 100% of the way. Not only that even the kickoff of his story was a tad odd. The scene felt out of character for many in it and I don’t feel like the behavior really matched what we knew from past books.
That’s not my only grievance in the logic department. I have a lot of questions that didn’t get answered but I assume that to a certain degree this is due to the lack of space we got for exploring some part of the story. If you squeeze something major into one chapter, of course you’ll have to make concessions somewhere. I’m sure Leigh Bardugo had a thought process to everything, but since I’m not privy to the inner workings of her mind, I don’t exactly know what it was. But based on all her other books I am inclined to believe that she could explain everything nicely had the book 400 more pages. The problem then is, who would read that? Honestly, I’m not even sure I’d want to read that.
While all of this sounded quite negative, I enjoyed Rule of Wolves a lot. As usual Bardugo’s world-building is amazing, and the world she created will never cease to fascinate me. Overall her writing is still as good as ever. I laughed a lot with Nikolai but she also managed to make me cry. Those of you who read the novel will know *exactly* which part of the story that was.
Rule of Wolves has a somewhat open ending which annoyed me a little. I was under the impression that it is a duology but upon finishing this book I actually went and double checked because I wasn’t sure anymore. Maybe there will be more to come, who knows? The ending we get is good and all, I just was expecting something more final. 😅
Rule of Wolves has more flaws than the previous Leigh Bardugo books but it nevertheless didn’t fail to entertain and fasciante me. Bardugo took me on a journey through cultures and through all the emotions, so I’m prepared to forgive some of the shortcomings. I still enjoyed Rule of Wolves tremendously!
Did you read this book? Let me know in the comments what you think!