Guess who finally finished her Grishaverse binge? This girl! Sometime yesterday night I finished Rule of Wolves, and I think I have lots to say about this book. It had some ups and downs for me I’d like to discuss. Mostly ups though.
I’m very glad I decided to do a Grishaverse reread. I reread all the Shadow and Bone books, the Six of Crows duology, and King of Scars. All in anticipation of both the show and Rule of Wolves. Especially King of Scars was important for me to reread, because I had forgotten basically everything about it. Read the content warnings below if you wish, and then let’s get into my review of Rule of Wolves!
Quick warning though! This review won’t contain spoilers for Rule of Wolves, but might contain spoilers for King of Scars. If you haven’t read King of Scars yet, best come back to this review another time!
Rule of Wolves
By Leigh BardugoMy Rating: ★★★★.5☆
Published 30 March 2021 by Orion
Fantasy | Young Adult | Magic
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.
What I LikedI loved so many things about this book, to be honest. But I think what I liked most is that I liked every POV. I thought each character truly had content to add to the story, and it made the reading experience very enjoyable. When one chapter ended I found myself looking forward to when that POV would continue. Plus I loved how even though each character is sometimes miles apart, the chapters still flowed into each other. The switch from one POV to another was not too jarring.
I have to say that I also loved all the strategizing that happened in this book. I feel like the characters tried to follow the rules of war and strategy, which made the war aspect seem incredibly realistic, despite being chock full with fantasy aspects. Whenever something significant happened in a chapter, it was fun to speculate about the possible implications.
I thought the plot was well thought out too. Ravka is truly being battered from literally every side and angle, and I honestly felt a little hopeless. All my favorite characters showed up, even ones from previous books, which was super fun. I thought the characters developed lovely as well. My favorite will probably remain Zoya, who I think has the greatest character arc of the whole Grishaverse. Funny how I hated her in Shadow and Bone but now she’s one of my favorite characters. Speaking of hatable characters, though, I think the Apparat is worse than the Darkling. There, I said it.
In short, there was much to love in this book. But I wouldn’t be me if I couldn’t find a few points of criticism, too…
What I Liked Less
I rated this book 4.5 stars, so there wasn’t a lot that I didn’t like. However, sometimes the pacing was just plain weird. Most of the story develops at a slow to medium pace, but then suddenly there’s a chapter in which everything goes by so fast, I’m like ??? Maybe dedicate a few more pages to this?
There were also some instances in which I expected the characters involved to ask obvious questions, but they didn’t. It almost felt like a plot hole. Obviously, I won’t describe exactly what happened, because spoilers, but there were some instances were the characters were given the opportunity to collect more intel, and then didn’t capitalize on it.
Lastly, I’m not entirely sure what to think of the ending. On the one end, the ending was perfect. I had no idea it was going to end this way, and I didn’t really foresee it either. Guess I don’t think outside the box enough. But on the other hand, there was one plot point that I had completely forgotten about that suddenly had to be wrapped up. This felt a little weird to me, but I also don’t really know how this could’ve been solved. What I am happy about though, is that we’re getting a third Six of Crows book, and I think I have a good idea what it’s going to be about!