Hanne Brum and Nina Zenik are my new OTP and they deserve all the waffles in the world.
Name: Rule Of Wolves
Author: Leigh Bardugo
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.
Blurb and image from Goodreads
This review contains mild spoilers
I can’t believe I can finally review this book. Hell, I can’t believe I’ve finally read this book. Rule Of Wolves was one of those memorising the publish date and counting down the days books and believe me when I say it did not disappoint.
If you’re confused, Rule Of Wolves is the sequel to King Of Scars; the third series in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse and what I fully thought would be the last. This review will make sense on its own but you can find some context with my review of King Of Scars here. At the end of KOS, it was revealed that the antagonist from the original Grisha series had returned and was one of the (many) problems Nikolai had to face in this book. But I still think there should be a new villain. Cameos aside, I enjoy the fact that the Grisha series are relatively standalone and I’d have thought that Leigh Bardugo has enough imagination to create another villain. The revival of the Darkling sort of invalidates all other deaths – is it really goodbye if there’s a chance they could just be resurrected by a saint?
His return felt like the biggest red flags that this was a finale to the Grishaverse. Rehashing old plots like going to the Ice Court; the return of the Darkling; characters from other series coming back for slightly unnecessary side plots – if not a closing, it felt like the end of an era. Which made me unspeakably sad. But!! Imagine: it’s one in the morning and I’m promising myself that I’ll finish the book tomorrow (it’s happened to the best of us) but my brain is telling me… only twenty more pages… you’re nearly finished… you may as well. I wish I could swear on here because it was one f-bomb worthy last line. And I’m happy again.
“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 while it all went to ruin.”– RULE OF WOLVES
Originally, I had liked Mayu’s perspective. Like in other Grishaverse books, Rule of Wolves was narrated through various characters and there hasn’t had a Shu pov before so I was interested by this insight. But in other Grishaverse books I’d been equally interested in all perspectives. By the end of Rule Of Wolves, I was literally pressing the pages together to see if I could spot who the next POV will be from! It wasn’t that they were boring, but that the distribution of perspectives was so uneven. Nikolai almost became a side character in a series named after him. Although my theory is that Mayu will become a main character in another book… because frankly, I’m not sure what other storylines could be developed. On the other hand, I enjoyed an opportunity to get a perspective from the Darkling (even if there were too many of them) and I was appreciative of his redemption arc. If that’s the right word. I can’t believe I actually sympathised with the Darkling.
Only Leigh Bardugo could make me cry over plant metaphors. As always, her writing was just perfect and she EXCELLS at dialogue – if you enjoy character banter then this is the book for you. Also, I really like how the world is on the brink of industrial revolution because most fantasy worlds are well before or past that. Rule Of Wolves explored the relationship between religion and science; public sway and the divine. The sheer power in some of the quotes…
“Let the hounds give chase. I do not fear death, because I command it.”– OOF
Lastly, I like that this was a book about war but it wasn’t a war book. The fighting was in depth and had all the emotion of any Leigh Bardugo scene but was in no way all that the book is about. There’s magic! Love! Character development! An abundance of politics I’m not going to pretend to fully understand. I spent about 400 pages cursing Bardugo for not getting all the couples together quick enough, but it was undeniably worth it.
I can’t believe that the way things turned out with Hanne and Nina hasn’t been done before (look at me being all non-spoilery) but it’s amazing. Like, the amount of memes and fanart that I’m hoping for. I loved the two of them so much – I was traumatised for like a page until I figured out what had happened and then I was grinning. It’s very hard to discuss without giving it away, but if you also are ridiculously happy for Hanne Brum, let me know in the comments!
To sum up, this is a beautiful fantasy book. I’m a strong believer that you can have things you’d change about a book and still love to to pieces. From the characters to all the plot twists, this was a book worthy of being a finale to the Grishaverse but I’m thrilled that it’s not. I was hooked from the first page and whilst I won’t say that the months of waiting weren’t annoying, they were worth it.
Have you read Rule Of Wolves yet? Were you also bawling your eyes out at Zoya’s garden? Or do you want to read it and have any predictions? Let me know in the comments!