••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - No2: in Kings of Scars Duology
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Sam Hawksmoor review
Stunning sequel to the King of Scars
At 590 pages Rule of Wolves is the follow up to King of Scars (No 6 in the Grishaverse). There may well have been pressure on Leigh Bardugo to reflect what happened to Shadow and Bone on Netflix where it conflated Shadow and Bone with Six of Crows as we followed Alina Starkov, the sun summoner and Kaz Brekker stories and perhaps skipped a few of the details on the way. Absolutely no skipping here. Every single main character has a walk on part in Rule of Wolves and you really wouldn't want to be starting out here. If you haven't read any of the Grishaverse novels - I'm jealous, you have an almighty treat awaiting you.
Rule of Wolves focuses on Nikolai Lantsov, the charming demon King of Ravka - his beautiful General Zoya Nazyalensky and Nina Zenik, their Grisha spy nested into the home of their greatest enemy, Jarl Brum, who is sworn to eliminate or enslave all Grisha from the world. He is preparing for war and has killer weapons - using his drugged Grisha against Ravka.
Charm alone will not win you battles and King Lantsov knows he must have allies and new weapons to defeat the enemy. There are betrayals at every turn and the risks are high. Then one must mention the demon lying within him, waiting for that moment to break free. To show the monster risks him ever becoming accepted as King. Of course he'll need the services of Kaz Brekker eventually and then the help of the Darkling hidden away in isolation... who cannot be trusted with anything.
The writing is beautiful, as always, quite how Leigh Bardugo manages to juggle so many characters and make us care so much about their fate is her mastery. Rule of Wolves wraps up the story with so much action and tension it is a breathless read. Alina makes a brief appearance but the whole story is stolen by Nina and her growing affection for Hanne. Even in battle there is room for love to show the way.
No doubt there will be more from the Grishaverse soon. It's impossible to leave it there. Like parem this material is highly addictive.
© Sam Hawksmoor May 2021
author of Mission Longshot and more
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Sam Hawksmoor review
Brilliant new adventure in the Grishaverse
Shadow & Bone now on Netflix
Combining two book series it's a visual treat for lovers of Leigh Bardugo's fantastic fiction