Leigh Bardugo brings new novel “King of Scars” to Brookline Booksmith

New York Times Bestselling author Leigh Bardugo visited Boston on Jan. 30 as her sought after book tour reached the Brookline Booksmith. Approximately three hundred people crowded the two floors of the shop to snag the newly released novel, ask the author questions, and seize the opportunity to have their copy autographed.  

Bardugo’s new novel “King of Scars” follows the story of Nickolai Lantsov, a character from her “The Shadow and Bone” trilogy. The trilogy’s storyline uses inspiration from fairytales and myths to create magical world full of heists, power struggles and sacrifices. Fans are excited to see this character again facing the troubles of the current Grishaverse. The king of Ravka, Nikolai’s enemies are at his borders and he must find support to defeat them. He must face his enemies while also facing the evil forces inside himself.  

At the book launch, Brookline Booksmith offered interactive activities, such as a passport to the magical Grishaverse complete with a polaroid taken at the event. Multiple lines moved quickly throughout the bookstore. Brookline Booksmith also offered free merchandise, including pins, crowns, trivia pamphlets and crown shaped cookies.  

Two hours before the Q&A event started, over 100 people lined up around the block to enter the bookstore despite freezing temperatures. As the event came closer, people lined the outer walls of the first floor of the bookstore.  These people were unable to see the Q&A due to limited seating available downstairs, but were still able to hear most of the questions. Not all of the answers were heard due to either the door moving, people talking or the loud crowd downstairs, but all of the fans were in a great mood no matter where they sat or stood.  

Fans asked Bardugo questions that spanned a wide range of topics. Some were personal while others discussed the characters of the novel. A personal question that made the crowd laugh was about Bardugo’s editing process. The author told the audience how she would sob when revising her scenes. Her friend would say that she has the power to change it because she wrote it but she would not be able to respond because of how much she cried.

Another question discussed her writing style and asked if she could ever have a happy ending in one of her novels. Bardugo laughed heartily and expressed that she “doesn’t believe in happy endings.” She believes there should always be an element of sacrifice in her stories.

“There is no point in suffering that depresses the reader,” she said before also claiming that the good guys can win eventually.  

The question that received a big reaction concerned her recent deal with Netflix.  Bardugo commented on the highly anticipated Netflix series in which her Grishaverse will finally come to the screen.  She hopes to start shooting before the end of the year and insures the show will blow fan’s minds.

“I’ve waited a long time to make this deal,” Bardugo said during the Q&A. “I gave the keys to the whole Grishaverse.”  

After the Q&A session finished and a few hours passed, the crowd filed downstairs to have their books signed and take a photo with the author. Due to the large amount of people attending the event, some fans waited upwards of two hours after the Q&A session to have their copies of the novel signed. However, no fan left without getting their book autographed and a smile on their face after meeting Bardugo.

A fan attending the event, Caryn Rickert, a 20-year-old Emerson senior majoring in publishing, said in an interview with The Suffolk Journal that “this was the best book signing she has ever attended.”

“It’s way more interactive than other book signings. I think this is because of the beginning of the event, there were a lot of tables you could go to,” Rickert said. “They gave us a lot of cool things like the crowns, passports, and masks. It was very different to other book signings where you just are standing in endless lines to get your book signed.”  

Rickert hopes other bookstores will add more interactive features to their book signing events.  As an aspiring writer, Rickert thinks of Bardugo as one of her biggest influences.  Bardugo’s ability to build a fictional world captivated her.

“She’s a really good writer, definitely 10/10,” Rickert said.  “I like her writing style a lot because it feels like a fairytale, especially when she writes in third person.”

Bardugo’s book tour ended on Feb. 5 and her newest release “King of Scars” is out now.