Though the series is considered fantasy, I felt “Rule of Wolves” was the first book within the Grishaverse that captured everything the genre means. Leigh Bardugo took her time weaving these plots together, allowing the characters and stories to be independent in their own right.
In this book, readers were able to dive into General Zoya Nazyalensky’s past, and could see her inner dialogue play out as she literally and figuratively pulled back her scales, opening herself up to being loved.
Bardugo did an amazing job illustrating the inner workings of Fjerda’s elite society: The Ice Court. Hanne and Nina’s relationship, which developed while the couple was secretly spying on Fjerdan military activity on the behalf of Ravka, absolutely pulled on my heartstrings as they went from platonic friends to something more — husband and wife. Actually, let me correct myself, they ultimately became Fjerda’s Grisha king and Grisha queen. The rulers of a country built upon the fear and hatred of Grisha.
This ending leaves my mind racing about the future of Ravka and Fjerda. If they put their differences aside, they would be a truly unstoppable alliance.
The genius brain of Nikolai to trick Queen Makhi Kir-Taban of Shu Han to attend the royal wedding of Genya and David was truly the icing on the cake for me to fall right back in love with him. Nikolai’s schemes and political moves add so much dimension to the story and his character. After waiting years, “Rule of Wolves” gave fans the declaration of feelings between Nikolai and Zoya. All the angst and pining between the King of Scars and Queen of Storms finally paid off.
Genya and David’s relationship is pure, especially in a world where a man has the power to summon literal darkness. I do believe the Darkling’s redemption arc was unnecessary, but I appreciated the people who were wronged by him having the chance to stand up and make a final speech in their defense.
This book wrapped up the future of so many characters with a bow, yet allowed them to remain unknown at the same time. Will Nikolai rule alongside Zoya, or will he take to the seas as his alternate persona, privateer Sturmhond? Will he work with the Wraith? Will Zoya, Genya, and Alina free the Darkling? Does Hanne’s family ever find out the truth about them being alive or that they are Grisha?
If you are interested in exploring the King of Scars duology, I have a warning: The book is written from multiple points of view with all the plots rotating around one another. This structure is much easier to understand if you have already read the “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” series.
In the end, I am giving “Rule of Wolves” a 10/10, because after I closed the back cover I was left with that wonderful mixture of sadness; it was over, but I was satisfied with how it ended.