Book Review

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo

Genre | YA Fantasy
Page #s | 588
Publishing Date | March 2021

The Grishaverse will be coming to Netflix soon with Shadow and Bone, an original series!

The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.

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.

Goodreads

Exciting from start to finish, Rule of Wolves takes our monstrous heroes into the depths of subterfuge and war where they will make hard decisions and costly mistakes…in addition to some rip-roaring plot twists due to behind the scenes machinations.

Ravka, as always, is the tiny country desperately trying to fend off their more powerful neighbors. Fjerda to the north is openly moving toward war, while Shu Han to the south and Kerch from the sea are more circumspect but no less dangerous. Told from King Nikolai, General Zoya, and Spy Nina’s perspectives (as well as a couple others that are delicious but aren’t to be spoiled), we get to see the little country that could defend itself and fight for Grisha lives against all odds.

I read this during the same period of time as I watched the new Netflix show, Shadow and Bone, based on Bardugo’s first Grishaverse novel. Seeing where some of these characters, especially Zoya, began made me appreciate where they ended up all the more. These books truly create an entire world, full of diverse countries, cities, religions, and people who grow and change based on what has happened in previous books.

This definitely feels like the end of the series, with surprise guest appearances by fan favorites from other books. But the very end teases a potential continuation…whether it’s because Bardugo isn’t quite ready to give up the Grishaverse or just to show us that adventures will continue in this world whether or not we’re privy to them, I don’t know. I desperately hope that we will get more from this world, but I honestly don’t know how the stakes could be greater than they are here.

I’m not giving many details, but I don’t think they’re necessary. If you’ve gotten to this point in the series, nothing I say will convince you one way or the other. But I will say this: I love cranky female characters who are hardened and protective and powerful. Bardugo deserves a medal for making me fall absolutely in love with Zoya Nazyalensky.

What Makes This Book Queer?

There is not one, not two, but THREE queer relationships in this book! There is a lesbian couple in the Grisha who don’t get a lot of page time, and gay couple who will delight readers at their appearance. But it’s Nina and Hanne who have the most meaningful and plot-centric queer love story. Nina is comfortable in her bisexuality, never questioning her attraction to former love Matthias or current housemate Hanne. I don’t want to say too much about Hanne, but her relationship to gender is also explored delicately and perfectly for this fantasy setting.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Uh, the masses. The Grishaverse is incredibly popular, and rightly so. Literally anyone would enjoy this.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Come chat books with us on Roar Cat Reads’ discord.

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