Going into this book, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From the title, I’d gathered that the book revolved mostly around Nikolai Lantsov. We’d last left him in Ruin and Rising as becoming the king, and in Crooked Kingdom we saw Sturmhond come back to life with his small appearance, however, this was a completely new story with a character that I absolutely adore.
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible… or should I say improbable? He’s suffered a severe form of torture at the Darklings hand, and while nobody knows what exactly happened to the Ravkan king during the civil war, the torture is coming back to bite him despite the Darklings death.
While Nikolai navigates his path as a new Ravkan king, he must also contend with the dark power that’s making its way to the surface with each passing day. Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s near-empty coffers, make new alliances with other territories, and stop a rising threat against the Grisha army.
With the help of the Grisha Triumvirate, Nikolai must journey to the deepest, darkest parts of Ravka to battle the darkness rising within him, and to vanquish his enemy once and for all.
Nikolai is a character that I’ve loved since he was introduced in Siege and Storm. I can’t get enough of his witty banter, sarcastic comments and overall smoothness. He’s a character that I can just find myself enjoying every time it’s his point of view. While he definitely isn’t the same Nikolai I’ve come to love, his changes don’t make me change my mind on him and his character. Nikolai is battling with something dark and scary inside of him and while it’s clear that he’s definitely worried for himself, his one goal is keeping his country safe despite the confirmed rumours that he isn’t even a true Lantsov. I found myself constantly backing Nikolai and his decisions, loving each moment I spent with him and each piece of dialogue and lesson he gave to me. I can’t think of a better character to lead this book and I love that I get to see more of my favorite privateer!
Zoya is a character that pleasantly surprised me in this book. I have to be honest, I didn’t like her in Shadow and Bone. She got a bit better in Siege and Storm and I began to enjoy her in Ruin and Rising, however, this book completely switched me over to her side. I feel like this was kind of the A Court of Silver Flames of this series for Zoya instead of Nesta. In this book, we delve deep into Zoya and her past. I loved learning more about her and why she’s got the tough demeanor that she constantly keeps up like a mask and why she’s the way she is. It’s so interesting to see her horrific past and how it’s affected her now and I loved seeing the development of her power in the latter half of the book.
Nina is also a character that we follow and she’s in Fjerdan. After the events in Crooked Kingdom, Matthias’ death completely broke my heart. I found myself mourning over their relationship and how it would affect Nina. Going into this book, I found Nina talking to herself as Matthias and it only made me sadder. The fact that Nina and Matthias had lost each other after so long fighting for each other just kills me inside and I have to admit that I completely bawled with every mention of him in this book.
Nina takes on a journey as she mourns her lost love. Her battle with the drug parem is ongoing and I found myself admiring her for her strength against the drug and the addiction. She’s a much stronger character than I expected, and I loved the little mentions of the crows as she took us on her journey.
Zoya and Nikolai spent the book in Os Alta, the same setting as Shadow and Bone. I don’t think much has changed in the palace, but after the Darkling’s coup in Siege and Storm, the Little Palace was rebuilt.
Nina spent the book in Fjerda and I don’t really think that’s my style. It sounds so cold!
Bardugo had me wanting to read with any spare minute I could find. I fell in love with each character as they battled with personal problems and politics, and I loved each journey that they took to find themselves. I was on the edge of my seat (or bed), with each intense scene and ended up reading 50% of the book in one sitting.
I loved this book and Nikolai only made it twenty times better. I can’t wait to see what happens in Rule of Wolves and how they continue ruling Ravka.