Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Also by this author: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows
Series: Nikolai #1
Published by Audible Studios on 29th January 2019
Genres: Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 16 hours and 13 minutes
Source: I bought it
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every
daya dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
I only read the Grishaverse books last year but I quickly became obsessed with this series and I was stoked when I heard that Nikolai was getting his own duology. I mean what more could a girl ask for!
I listened to the audible version which is amazing! I love Lauren Fortgang’s voice she does such a good job with the narration. I also have the Illumicrate special edition hardback copy which is beyond beautiful. I held it and wanted to weep when it arrived. The map and the chapter headings are literally a work of art.
The story is set around a year after Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom so about 3 years after Ruin and Rising. Now Leigh says you can read this as a stand alone and I am sure she is right but personally I would recommend reading the Shadow and Bone series followed by the Six of Crows duology for the full experience. If you haven’t read them you will get a lot of spoilers for those two series.
My initial thoughts when I finished this book was WTF just happened. I honestly feel like I need to go back and read it all again. So much happened and well that ending made me what to curl up and hibernate until the next book is released.
I loved the multiple POVs and I have tried to pick a favourite but I really cannot. Zoya was a badass general who I really fell for. Nina was as strong and courageous as she was in SOC despite what she is dealing with. Isaak was easy to fall in love with, he was brave and did not hesitate to step up for his country when needed. And Nikolai was, of course, his witty, charming self.
The story is full of twists and turns and as it jumps from POV to POV sometimes we are jumping t different locations with different action and each time we changed I wanted to go back. I longed to know what was going to happen next for that part of the story.
I loved seeing some familiar faces from the Shadow and Bone series and to see how they have grown since we last saw them. I also really enjoyed meeting the new characters too. Leoni was a favourite of mine especially when I worked out who she was! Hanne was also quite an interesting character. I look forward to hopefully seeing more of her in book 2.
This may be a Nikolai duology but we also delve deeper into some other characters. Zoya’s story was an intriguing and beautiful one. She has been through so much more than we knew and hearing her story really changes your opinion of her character.
And now on to my Nikolai, the too clever fox, the boy king. Oh how I love you. My only gripe is that I wanted more. More Nikolai. TBH I think if the whole book had been from Nikolai’s POV I would still say I needed more, a girl always needs more Nikolai! He was, however, everything I wanted and more.
‘The monster is me and I am the monster.’
And now we return to the ending. Oh, that ending! It was all kinds of exciting and terrifying! I guess I will go hibernate with my headphones and listen all over again!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: