I’m not really sure where to start when it comes to this book. It’s been a long journey from Shadow and Bone, watching Alina learn how to use her Sun Summoner powers, to now, Rule of Wolves, following the king of scars and his team of insanely talented characters as they take on the world.
Starting where King of Scars left off, Nikolai Lantsov must summon every ounce of his charming king demeanor as he takes on a war on two fronts. His country is undefended, running low on weapons, money, and pretty much everything that is needed to win a war. Nikolai has to pull out every secret weapon he owns, including the weapons that haunt his every breath, the darkness inside of him that he hasn’t been able to get rid of.
Zoya Nazyalensky will follow Nikolai to the ends of the earth, and beyond that, but after her worst enemy is resurrected, her friends fighting a battle they cannot win, can she continue to fight and follow her king or will the power that has been gifted to her, overtake her?
Nina Zenik is right in the heart of Fjerda, working as a spy for Ravka. Her grief over her lost love consumes her and her love of her country dictates her every move. Will Nina’s desire for revenge risk her chances at saving Ravka?
“I’ll tell you a thousand stories, my love. We’ll write the new endings, one by one.”
I’ll start with Nikolai because he’s my favorite. To be honest, he’s a character that I just found myself loving. His sarcasm and constant jokes add so much to the plot. He’s constantly making me laugh and I love how makes me want to keep reading. Each of his chapters were so interesting as he figured out his place in the world, even if he isn’t the King of Ravka.
“The world might crumble, but Nikolai Lantsov would be holding up the ceiling with one hand and plucking a speck of dirt from his lapel with the other when it all went to ruin”
Nikolai’s growth from Siege and Storm to Rule of Wolves has been insane. Of course he’s still the confident and cocky pirate… I mean, privateer, but he’s turned into someone that is strong and knows how to rule a country properly. He wants what’s best for his people, even if it isn’t what he wants and even if it means sacrificing himself. I love that about him. I think he’s a character with a ton of development and he knows what he wants in life.
While we see a ton of development in Nikolai, we also see the same in Zoya. Zoya was a character that I hated when she was introduced in Shadow and Bone, but now after learning about her past and what makes her who she is, I am so in love with her character and everything she stands for. While she puts out a tough demeanor, she’s sensitive and learning to love. I love that she’s a character with a sarcastic tone but she also knows when to protect those she loves. Along with all of her character developments, we see her power grow too. After the events of King of Scars, Zoya now has Juris’ scales as an amplifier and she’s now incredibly powerful. It was so cool to see Zoya, a powerful squaller, turned into something completely new.
“I suppose that’s why I love you.”
His eyes flew open and his face lit in an extraordinary grin. “All Saints, say it again.”
“I will not.”
“I’m the queen. I must do nothing but please myself.”
“Would it please you to kiss me?”
Nina also develops a ton in this book. From her romance with Matthias, I was worried that her chapters would just be plagued by grief for his loss, and while there were many heart wrenching moments, Nina was able to move on and fight for her country. I think that Nina is a character that more people should admire. She’s lost so much but she still stands strong and fights hard for what she believes in. She’s battled with so much, including jurda parem, and she’s still fighting. Her character deserves a ton of credit and I think that she’s a beautiful character and I can’t wait to see more of her in the future.
Nikolai and Zoya stay mostly in Ravka, bringing us throughout Os Alta and most of Ravka’s country. I’ve always loved Ravka and after so many books, it almost feels like home. I loved being back in this setting and while there’s a war waging in the lands, it’s almost peaceful.
We also travel back to Ketterdam for a chapter or two and if you haven’t read the Six of Crows duology, then you have to! Ketterdam is probably my favorite setting in the entire grishaverse. I love the characters from there, I love the fact that it isn’t perfect.
Nina Zenik also takes us into Fjerda, this time exploring the Ice Court from Six of Crows.
I want to start this out by saying that I loved the representation that this book included. In Shadow and Bone, Bardugo had little diversity, but as her series has evolved, so has her writing. We now have multiple characters on the LGBTQ+ scale and I loved to see that development in Bardugo’s writing.
Along with all of that, Bardugo’s writing was easy to follow and I was never bored with any scene. Each character had a significance, each chapter kept me wanting more. I loved picking up the book for a quick chapter and suddenly reading five or six, or reading late into the night because I just couldn’t put the book down.
“Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up—even when all hope is lost.”
That being said, I do think that this series could have ended with this book. The conclusion was perfect and everybody seemed so happy, but there had to be more and another cliffhanger. Don’t get me wrong, I love this series, and I loved seeing each character grow and evolve – we even got some of our old friends back in this book – but despite that, I think it would’ve been a good place for the plot to have ended. I felt that we were sometimes going in circles, however, I am excited to see what the next book comes up with and how these characters journey further.
I adored this book. The character development was something I lived for, and I loved watching the plot thicken as more and more secrets were revealed. I can’t wait to find out what will happen next in the universe and how the characters will fare.