The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Described to be tall, with golden blonde hair and hazel eyes, Nikolai Lantsov is neck and neck with Chaol Westfall as my favorite fictional boyfriend ever. He's got quite the title, so brace yourself:
"Nikolai Lantsov, Major of the Twenty-Second Regiment, Soldier of the King's Army, Grande Duke of Udova, and second son to His Most Royal Majesty, King Alexander the Third, Ruler of the Double Eagle Throne."
What is it about Nikolai that makes me love him so much? It took me a while to figure this out. He's the reason why I cried so much at the end of Ruin and Rising. Actually, scratch that, he's the reason why I cried in general during Ruin and Rising. And why is that? BECAUSE HE DIDNT GET HIS HAPPY ENDING.
I was initially attracted to him because, hello, he's a fucking riot. I kid you not, he's one of the funniest male characters I've ever read about. Multiple times while reading Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising, I had to put the book down and just laugh hysterically to myself and come to terms with exactly why I have such high standards.
As we got to know him, we learned that the jokes and snarky remarks were a front. Underneath it all, hidden so far down that not many people even know it existed, was a heart that beated for his country. He wanted nothing more than for it to thrive and to be whole again, which is where his story intertwined with Alina and the gang. Being the King's son was not the easiest thing for him either, and people said some nasty stuff about him. But he never let it get to him, and instead just brushed the remarks off his shoulders and stepped froward with a smile. He knew how to work a crowd, and had a barrage of techniques for winning people to his cause. He changed from person to person, almost like a chameleon, being the Prince everyone needed him to be. Caring, strong, funny, whatever they needed! He did it for them.
But the feelings didn't really start forming until Ruin and Rising. Oh lord, it was the final straw. Y'all know what I'm talking about. Unrequited love + his personal and physical suffering = my heart stopping. I was donzo. Head over heels in love with Nikolai and already forming exactly how I would persuade Bardugo to write a spin-off series from his pov. I wanted to hold him to my chest and rock him like a child because no one deserves the pain the suffered. 90% of the reason why I had such a mental breakdown after I finished R&R was because of Nikolai. He was pushed aside. I know he wasn't the main focus of the story, but I still think he deserved a little something more. Which is why I'm hoping Bardugo has plans for him.
“Watch yourself, Nikolai,” Mal said softly. “Princes bleed just like other men.”
Nikolai plucked an invisible piece of dust from his sleeve. “Yes,” he said. “They just do it in better clothes.”
“Do you answer a question directly?"
"Hard to say. Ah, there, I've done it again”
“Weakness is a guise. Wear it when they need to know you're human, but never when you feel it.”
“I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”
“Thanks for the rescue."
"Everyone needs a hobby."
"I thought yours was preening."
“Baghra," Nikolai said, "how are you this evening?"
"Still old and blind," she snarled.
"And charming," Nikolai drawled. "Never forget charming."
"What do you want, pest?” (MY FAVORITE SCENE IN THE ENTIRE TRILOGY)
(Quotes from Goodreads)