Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo picks off from the first book in the series of King of Scars. Rule of Wolves is set in the POV of our three main characters, Nina Zenik, Zoya Nazyalensky, and Nikolai Lantsov, as they battle foreign enemies and forces beyond their understanding to ensure safety and victory for their home country Ravka. The book dives into the political games playing throughout the story as it sets the stage for the ultimate war between Ravka and Fjerda that will determine the fate of all Grisha and Ravkans alike. Rule of Wolves brings back old characters, dives into the POV’s of new characters, and brings the ultimate conclusion to the series.
The book switches from multiple settings, from Ravka, Shu Han, and Fjerda as it bounces from one POV to the next. In Ravka, the plot follows young King Nikolai’s pursuit for peace while also chronicling General Zoya’s goal to establish ultimate peace for Grisha while unlocking her new powers as a Squaller. In Fjerda, we’re sucked into Nina’s job as a spy for Ravka as she strives to uncover the secrets of the Fjerdan government to help Ravka win the war. The book also introduces the POV of new characters, such as Mayu Kir-Kaat, a spy for the Shu, and the Darkling, the newly resurrected villain from earlier books, and their own motives and plots in defending their country. With all these different POV’s, I thought the book did a wonderful job in keeping pace with all the characters and being consistent with all the POV’s. The different POV’s definitely provided various tones to the story that made you grip the book in anticipation.
One of my favorite parts about the book were the characters, specifically Zoya Nazyalenzky and how Leigh wrote her character development. The book dived into the prejudice and racism Zoya faced being half-Suli and her struggle with expressing vulnerability to the people around her. Along with the characters, I loved the way Leigh depicted the romance in the book. Despite the book’s plot set in war, there romantic relationships in this book felt healthy and not one sided. I loved the way Zoya’s relationship with Nikolai was handled and how she didn’t lose the coldness to her or that there wasn’t the idea that he finally “tamed” her given her cold and rough character. One thing that I did dislike is the ending Leigh gave for Nina. I felt that her ending felt incomplete and out of character for her. But overall, the book felt exciting and mostly complete towards the end.
Reviewed by Tasnia, Libbie Mill Library