Oh Leigh Bardugo, you are such a treasure for me and one of my all-time favorite authors. I’d been feeling a bit of a Shadow and Bone hangover, so I knew I needed to pick up where I last left off in Leigh Bardugo’s books. Now, I don’t know what the future will hold for the Grishaverse, but I can definitely say there’s a lot more story to tell.
Spoilers ahead, so please read with caution!
Here’s more about Rule of Wolves
The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.
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.
This was such a great read to pick up after finishing up the Shadow and Bone series. I highly recommend reading any of the books from the Grishaverse after watching the tv show because you’ll perceptions of all the characters will change. The first thing I immediately noticed is that there’s a much bigger presence from the Shu Han in this book. I always felt like they were some afterthought threat that never got enough time in the books, so it made me happy to see them make an appearance alongside the Fjerdans and the Suli.
I think that was the most surprising part of the book; the appearance of the Suli. You know there’s characters that come from that part of the world, but you don’t know how involved they are in the story. Similarly to the Shu Han, they never got enough page time and I appreciated seeing them. And the way the Shu Han are incorporated into the story with their own lore and backstory made me so excited. Seeing the Shu Han queen and the elaborate story built into it had me skipping to those page to read more.
The emotions in this book were on another level. I could feel Zoya’s pain for every friend she’s lost. I can feel Genya’s anger towards the Darkling for what he’s done to her loved ones as well. You can even see how Nina’s emotions are still coping from her loss of Matthias. The emotions feel raw and still very fresh. They’re expertly written to make the reader feel them as much as those characters felt them.
It felt like the story was more focused on the characters than the plot. Of course, there was a war happening and the losses from the war were sad and terrifying to read, but I felt like the focus was on its main characters: Zoya, Nikolai, Nina, and the Darkling. I’m not mad about that, but it does drag the story a bit. While you’re trying to learn more about the next attack from Fjerda, you’re reading about the deeper feelings some of the characters were feeling. I was also just a tiny bit confused by the timelines. One minute they’re traveling back to Ravka and the next they’re on the front lines and ready to strike. It was a bit jarring and I wish that transition was just a bit smoother.
There were some parts that I wasn’t a huge fan of including the Darkling and what happens to him. I think the story’s just matured beyond him and while his appearance at the end of King of Scars was a surprise, I wasn’t that impressed with what happened to him in Rule of Wolves. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty much over the Darkling and imagined this story to be more about the fight between Fjerda and Ravka.
Overall, this was such a good and entertaining story that made me crave way more story. I didn’t completely love it, but it did fill me with joy to see all my favorite characters from the series I’ve heard rumor that there may be another book book in the future, so hope that it’ll answer some of the more dire questions I had after this one.