• Rule of Wolves

  • King of Scars Duology, Book 2
  • By: Leigh Bardugo
  • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
  • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (3,325 ratings)

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Interview: Leigh Bardugo Unites the Grishaverse's Found Family With 'Rule of Wolves'

'I don't tend to think in terms of one big arc. I tend to think in terms of puzzle pieces...'
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  • Rule of Wolves
  • 'I don't tend to think in terms of one big arc. I tend to think in terms of puzzle pieces...'

Publisher's Summary

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 number-one New York Times best-selling 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.

©2021 Leigh Bardugo (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: Shadow and Bone Explained


If you're new to the Grishaverse, you may have some questions. (For starters, "What the heck is the Grishaverse?") Or maybe, you've already listened to and love the novels and want to know more about the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix. Is it similar? What have they changed? The TV show has received lots of positive reviews from critics and fans, and Netflix renewed it for a second season. Don't worry, Darklings—no matter what reason you're here, we have answers for you! (Just a quick note of warning: spoilers for the show and book series lie ahead, so proceed with caution!)

What listeners say about Rule of Wolves

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    5 out of 5 stars

All is forgiven, Ms. Bardugo

For those like me, who loved The Six of Crows duology but only liked Shadow and Bone as it moved away from Alina’s story and, towards, well, anyone else, this conclusion to King of Scars is fantastic. While there’s still not enough of Kaz’s crew, there’s at least more than before, and a small heist for old times sake. Also, finally the action, steam punk, and twists are on full display. Finally!

Were there some off points? Perhaps. Not sure I buy the way things ended with the Darkling. And it does feel like most of the characters’ endings were written to please the fans, rather than to provide a plausible endings to all three series in the “we always get the short end of the stick” Grishaverse. But, on the whole, I was a little wrecked, somewhat surprised and ultimately well satisfied with this ending.

17 people found this helpful

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Over it!

I’m so tired of authors deciding to be “trendy” and homosexualize their characters. Nina, who was heartbroken at the loss of her husband in previous books, is now a lesbian. The first book in the duology paved the way, and in the second book she went for it. I have no problems with who people chose to love and it’s sad that there has been so much hate. BUT the VAST majority (nearly all of the population) is not gay. So why do authors keep feeling like every new book they write has to have a gay character. I’m so freaking tired of it. It makes me super uncomfortable listening to gay romance! It especially makes me upset when I have been completely invested in this series, re-reading the ENTIRE Grishaverse collection, before starting this duology. I’m so disappointed in each author who does this. It’s okay to NOT be gay too!
Gay Nina aside, I’m over the series. The first Grishaverse book I read, years ago, was Six of Crows. I LOVED it & listened to everything after that. Upon re-reading everything, I don’t even know what my initial mesmerization was. When the Darkling came back in these books I was rolling my eyes. Really?! It seems like this book (these last 2) were just a regurgitation of the same story. I’m relieved to be done with it all so I can move on to some fun summer reads.
Previously I’d emphatically recommended the series. Not anymore.

8 people found this helpful

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Simply amazing

I’ve been waiting for about 6-7 months for this book to release and boy oh boy let me tell you that it did NOT disappoint me. I absolutely can’t wait for the next installment of this series! Amazing read with massive ups and downs on the roller coaster of emotions. I love this book.

8 people found this helpful

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Parts of it are amazing

The A plot of this book is absolutely incredible. Everything with Zoya and Nikolai is utterly perfect and amazing. The B plot with Nina and eventually the C plot with Tamar and D plot with the Darkling are incredibly boring and I spent every second of all three of them just waiting to get back to the A plot. Too many stories going on at once with almost nothing interesting in them to justify so many splits in the plot. You could cut out Tamar and Mayu’s perspective of the C plot and The Darkling’s perspective of the D plot from the book and the book would be literally no different 🤷🏻‍♂️.

7 people found this helpful

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disappointed

author had to get politically correct in a time period that would never had such controversy...

4 people found this helpful

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My favorite book of the entire Grishaverse…

Lauren Fortgang as the narrator is incredible . This book brings so many of our beloved character’s stories to riveting conclusions and others find their much deserved endings in poetic justice. Well done all the way around!

3 people found this helpful

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A WILD Ride

Love Lauren Fortgang and her voices! Some of the last bits of the story I wanted to see happen just nit that quickly and now I'm caught up/finished(?) with the Grishaverse... what now?

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful conclusion!

I totally loved this Duology and even better, even though the ending is quite satisfying, the last sentence allows for future stories in this universe, which makes me happy! Although I never finished the first trilogy (which I am remedying as I type), I enjoyed the character development in this story so much that I now want to go back and read the trilogy from the beginning, if only so I can learn more about the back story of Nikolai, as well as Zoya and the rest of the Grisha who were enslaved by the Darkling. And yes, I want to learn more about the Darkling. Alina is probably one of the least interesting characters for me, but I definitely want to understand her more and figure out how she arrived at the position she is in this Duology. This is completely spoiler-free, so I don't want to include any specifics, but Zoya was probably my favorite character in this series and I loved the tone/accent that Lauren Fortgang did whenever she voiced Zoya's words. I found myself laughing, cheering her on, and crying for her throughout the book!

It took longer for me to get sucked into Nina's story for this series, but once I did, I was totally cheering her on. My heart broke every time she talked about Matthais, but it was also interesting to find out more about why he was so unusual for his country. I absolutely loved how things ended up for her, but as I got sucked into her part of the story, there were quite a few times when I waited for the other shoe to drop. There were so many other "supporting" characters that I loved, including Hanne, Mayu Kir-Kaat, Genya, David, Tolya, and Tamar. Even Kaz and Inez make an appearance. This duology absolutely renewed my interest in this Universe, so as I said, I'm starting Shadow and Bone shortly and will reread the Six of Crows Duology when I finish. Perhaps I did this out of order (Grisha purists might yell at me), but when I found myself getting kind of bored with Alina, I just stopped reading the first trilogy. And although I obviously missed some of the backstories in this duology, I didn't feel like I missed anything and it ended up renewing my interest. My favorite thing about Bardugo is how well she connects the multiple threads and the interesting characters that she creates and it is obvious to me that she is continuing to grow and improve as an author. I am crossing my fingers that at some point she writes more stories for this universe, but for now, I'm hoping she'll continue with the Ninth House series because I loved that one as well!

2 people found this helpful

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OP but not as OP as you should wish for.

This story is definitely twisty. In the good way, feels like a very traditional plot line, but it does have a lot of redeeming qualities. Zoya and Nikolai side of the story was awesome. the darkling plot is pretty me. The cameos you do get in this story set up for a much anticipated sequel for a birdy crew. ;)

My only complaints is that Nina story felt short and feels like her and Hana's journey set thier character development to a flatline after awhile.

The romance feels a bit angsty at times, but is definitely better than king of scars.

Definitely recommend though.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

Far too much going on, far too many viewpoints, and a lot of loose ends trying to be covered up by very pretty bows

1 person found this helpful

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  • dseanc
  • 06-16-21

hmmmm

A little too childish in the personal exchanges, with constant threats of extreme violence by women on men, highly woke too, in that it's amazing how all the woman are super strong and confident, whilst the men are bumbling stuttering fools. Maybe that was the way the narrator interpreted the script, but it still grates. If it was reversed, ie men on women, I would feel the same, it got quite boring very quickly. Not up to previous standards, by a long shot. Realy struggled to finish it. It's a fantasy novel granted, but some reality needs to adhered to for the sake of a captivating read.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-21

disappointed

could not follow the story. narrators voice did not probably do justice to the book. could not finish. disappointed as is a topic I enjoy

3 people found this helpful

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  • NeilRC94
  • 07-16-21

Great listen.

Although Leigh Bardugo has said this is the end for now, there are enough doors left open for a return at a later date. I won't post any spoilers.

Once again Lauren Fortgang has done an amazing job with her performance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tayler
  • 04-03-21

An epic end to the grishaverse

This book was everything I needed it to be. I laughed and cried the whole way through as I said goodbye to all my favourite characters. Bravo Leigh, you really made a masterpiece.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Little Miss Fitness
  • 04-02-21

As always a great Narrator

I always Lauren Fortgang totally slays this. Leigh Bardugo is a genius and this book is awesome. Love it!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-20-22

a fitting cliff to leave this on

wow, loved it, though it could have been about 100 pages shorter. I hope we get another Crows series to carry this on. Only disappointment were the Alina scenes, felt like the author needed to put them there to make people happy. Still the best set of the grishaverse books IMHO.

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  • Shinead
  • 02-15-22

great story!

A GREAT continuation to king of scars. i love how all the characters keep their own voices and sound decidedly Russian. I applaud the narrator for the skill of keeping the voices the same as in the first part. Though it is a dualigy, it doesnt sound finished at the end at all... i will keep my eye out for more

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  • Annette
  • 02-14-22

It was ok

All very predictable but enjoyable. Although sometimes I wonder what Genya ever did to Leigh 😅

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  • sarah burns
  • 11-19-21

just brilliant

Well written. Well performed. twisty turns and highs and lows. I've loved the whole series of the grishaverse. and will continue to consume as much as Leigh Bardugo provides absolutely astounding

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  • Lucky Charm
  • 10-13-21

Leigh Bardugo, author extraordinaire

This lady the most incredible imagination.
To pen books with characters and storylines the way she does is pure genius.
I cannot put her books down once started then long for the next episode.
I've listened to the audio books and the ability of Lauren Fortgang to give the characters their voice as well as superb narration has to be given credit as well.
Thank you to both ladies and please write some more soon, Leigh.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-21

It reads like an annoying side project

I can't speak for Leigh's workload but the overall impression I took away from this book was that it felt like it must have been a stressful distraction to write. All the PR on her social media is extremely netflix centric, with a trailor dropping on the day of this books release. Writing a story for Nikolai must have been a bore with all that Netflix stuff going on. Every living character in this universe was phoned in to unmeaningfully pad out what would have been a short book about Nikolai, Zoya and (spoiler) a war that wasn't. Sure it might have been shorter without caricature crows and celebrity cameos from your favourite newly released netflix show, but at least it would have been less work to read, because it really did feel like work.

If you just read the Nikolai and Zoya chapters you wouldn't miss anything vital. If you're hoping for thoughtfully developed romance you're possibly going to be disappointed. More care was taken to write the inner workings of the fan (and author) favourite Darkling than the books titular king. That aligns pretty neatly with what we've seen on Leigh's socials: the Crows and the Darkling garner the hype, so here they are, padding out and altogether interrupting what might have been a sincere exploration of the complicated and compelling Nikolai. Why bother setting him at the helm of his own books if you're so eager to write in the heads of literally anyone else?

Also, I love Zoya to absolute pieces, but wading through meaningless chapters of filler to get to her character arc robbed it if it's impact. When she reached her emotional climaxes they were rushed or unsubtle.

And sis don't get me started on Nina. Nina and her page-padding misadventures with the ghost of a better love interest and 'Plot Convenience' Brum......

Leigh is extremely gifted and she can do so much better. I hope she gives her future books more care and attention because these characters matter off screen as much as they do on it.

Please try to remember that.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Janette J Ryan
  • 02-28-22

Continuation of the main characters stories

The inevitable war between Firedon and Ravka.
Plots and intrigue abound
Nina and Hannah hold up their end, while Nicholas and Zoya fight the war and bring the Darkling to justice.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-19-21

Takes a while to get into

Love the character development and the performance but the story tended to go on a little

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  • Dumbumm
  • 07-29-21

A big plus from King of Scars

Having just Finished King of Scars and not particularly liking how the story panned out, especially with how a certain character coming back *insert eye roll*. So I will admit I wasn't expecting much from Rule of Wolves. But wow, was I wrong.

Spoilers ahead

Things I liked

✔️ Crows cameo! Ahhh... I was hoping for a Crows cameo and we got it. And we got more than I thought we would. Seeing Jasper and Wylan playing house was so adorable and Kaz... damn Kaz and his entrance was so bloody amazing and so Kaz like. I was smiling non-stop throughout it. I wished we saw more of Inej but it seems we might get more soon.

✔️ Zoya. I love a character that can make you feel hate, like, and love through an entire series. From the very start in Shadow and Bone, I didn't like Zoya, she was just terrible and we didn't understand her (mostly because it was Alina's story) but as the story went on her character arc developed and she becomes one of my favorites in Shadow and Bone. In King of Scars she saved that book for me, she is what made it. But now... wow... she is a damn QUEEN and savage. Getting to see her story and side of things was truly amazing. I can say now for sure, she is on the list of my top favorites in the Grishaverse.

✔️ Nikolai has always been my favorite character since meeting him in Siege and Storm, I adore him. I was so mad that he basically got written off in Ruin and Rising but was so happy to hear he would be getting his own story. Unfortunately, Nikolai in King of Scars, wasn't our Nikolai. I understand we had to go through that story arc to get to Rule of Wolves but, I was so bummed when the demon/darkling took over his character. In Rule of Wolves though, we have our Nikolai back. I loved reading his PoVs and loved his development arc; he can be the same with the demon and he finally came to terms that he is a great king but maybe not what everyone wants. He always needed freedom, I was so happy when he finally understood that.

✔️Nina. In King of Scars, I wasn't really invested in her story, but how that had changed in Rule of Wolves. Maybe because she was in the heart of Fjerda and her development with Hanne was getting great. I loved that Nina didn't have to lie to Hanne and Hanne was open to a better Fjerda. There ending also was amazing too, but I will be looking forward to seeing how long that lasts.

✔️I can't forget Leigh Bardugo's writing. Damn that woman can write and write well!

✔️ The ending was okay for how things turned out. It was rushed but ultimately I enjoyed it.

✔️Lauren Fortgang is amazing and captures every character.

Things I didn’t like

❌The Darkling... Ahhh... what role did he play in the plot? I was so confused why he even returned at all. But to have him do absolutely nothing to the plot?
In King of Scars, I was so annoyed about his return but thought I'd give him a chance. (for reference I found the darkling the most interesting character in Shadow and Bone, he was a favorite because we didn't know much about him and I was hoping for a redemption arc or some sort of understanding on his part. He was never born to be a villain, the world and loss he endured made him that, but the actions he took were his choices. In Ruin and Rising, I knew there was no way back for him, and he was just a complete asshole. So I hated his character arc, and I was more annoyed that we still didn't get a proper backstory for him.) So I thought at least his return had to mean something.. but it didn't and his ending of sacrifice was so out of character. It doesn't make up for everything he did. Also, his unwillingness to even accept and acknowledge what he did was wrong, really annoyed me.

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  • Thanh
  • 06-30-21

Great ending to a great series

you know it has ATLA vibes. watching your characters grows as people and into who they're meant to be or forming unlikely alliances. Ending on a bitter sweet note of their adventures will likely continue but off page.
I never read adult fiction because I think its boring but Leigh has really crafted a character and world driven series. I love this universe and recommended to anyone feeling like a good coming of age story or in it for the world building.

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  • Renata
  • 06-17-21

Loved it

Loved it, has lots of unexpected twists and turns. Can't wait for the next story.

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  • jorose
  • 06-10-21

Must read

I recommend this book to people of all ages. Loved every moment of this book. Didn’t want it to end!!

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  • Vikant Shah
  • 05-24-21

Gripping listen

What an end! Loved every part of it. The twists and the journey. Can’t recommend this enough

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  • Cassie Fox
  • 05-03-21

A great conclusion

A great ending that I was ready for. After binging all of the Grisha series in a short period of time, I have to admit I was ready for the story to conclude. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it all but it was time. Having said that, I loved that the ending allowed for the possibility of another six of crows book (these were my fave of the series) but I’m glad I’ll have to wait for some time before it’s released.

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  • Thomas Boyd
  • 04-15-21

WHAT AN ENDING!!!

Loved it! Excited for more! Lauren does an amazing job performing the book and i hope Leigh continues to expand the Grishaverse