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Book Review: Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

**This review may contain spoilers**


In past articles, I’ve mentioned my goals to try and finish every book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse before the Shadow and Bone Netflix series comes out on April 23rd. To say the least, this isn’t an easy task—there are seven books in the universe so far, and all together, they have over 3,300 pages. I started this personal challenge in mid-December, and I’m proud to say that I completed the last book in the universe, Rule of Wolves, a week before the show releases. 

I have to admit that Rule of Wolves is by far my favorite book in the Grishaverse. As much as I loved the Six of Crows duology, something about the conclusion and characters of Rule of Wolves just left me excited and craving more. I read the book in nine days, which is impressive considering it was the longest book in the series with 588 pages. The mix of the characters, the plot, and the way the book was written made it difficult for me to put it down, which is something I’ll never complain about.

There’s so much I could talk about within Rule of Wolves, but most of it would involve spoilers that I personally want to keep hidden. What I can talk about without giving too much of the story away is the character development. 

Although it wasn’t the central focus, character development was a really big part of Rule of Wolves. Similar to King of Scars, the sequel focused mainly on Nikolai Lantsov, Zoya Nazyalensky, and Nina Zenik. I’m going to ignore Nina for this, mostly because her development as a character is incredibly spoiler-heavy. Focusing in on Nikolai and Zoya, I have to say that I LOVED how they both grew as characters and how their personal narratives developed throughout the novel. Although Nikolai stayed as cocky as ever, we got to see a more personal side to him.e got to understand why he acts the way he does and what insecurities and fears he deals with daily. It was nice to see our lovable king become more human. As for Zoya, she took a similar turn, becoming more human and fleshed out. We discover trauma and hidden fears that prevent her from opening up and being honest with others, and we finally get to understand why she always seemed so closed off/rude toward others. Seeing her develop and become more realistic was really nice, especially as someone who used to hate her character.

The actual plot was beautifully written, and seeing the King of Scars duology end in the way that it did was incredibly satisfying (even if it was a cliffhanger ending). I’m really excited to see what else Leigh Bardugo comes out with, but I have to admit, I’m ready to try reading different novels and genres by authors I’ve never given a shot before. Overall, I was really happy with my experience reading all the Grishaverse novels, and I’m glad I gave myself the challenge to read all of the books in four months. I’d highly recommend the books to anyone looking for a well-built YA fantasy world with incredible character development and fairly easy to follow plotlines.

Tessa is a sophomore journalism and theater double major at SUNY Oswego. They love reading, hanging out with friends, and crocheting in their free time. They also adore theatre, and are hoping to get more engaged with the art as they go through college.
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