If you fell in love with the world of Shadow and Bone during Season 1, you'll be happy to know there are even more stories to sink your teeth into offscreen. While the Netflix adaptation is named for the first book in the author Leigh Bardugo's book series, its source material spans more than seven novels. So, if you want to get a hint of where the show could go next or just pass the time before a potential Season 2, here's your guide to reading the Shadow and Bone Grishaverse books in order:
Some background for new fans: The Grishaverse kicked off with the release of Bardugo's Shadow and Bone in 2012. It was the first in a trilogy, following Alina's tumultuous journey as the Sun Summoner.
However, you may be surprised to learn that, in the books, the Crows don't show up in Alina's story at all. In the original Grishaverse, the Six of Crows duology takes place two years after the events of the Shadow and Bone novels, and they're almost entirely separate plot-wise. To make things even more complex, Bardugo also published the King of Scars duology (which unfolds after both Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows) and three other standalone books all set within the Grishaverse.
It sounds like a lot, but just like the sitting down to watch Netflix's Shadow and Bone, diving into this intricate fantasy world pays off big-time. And depending on your preferences, it's not even necessary to read the series chronologically. So, before you head out to your nearest bookstore, check out the below guide.
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
The books: Shadow and Bone (2012), Siege and Storm (2013), Ruin and Rising (2014)
Of all the Grishaverse books, these have the most obvious trappings of the YA fantasy genre. They unfold in first person, follow a typical Chosen One narrative, and even feature a love triangle. They're a bit different from the show, which made changes to deviate from the "very white, very straight" fantasies Bardugo said she was emulating while originally writing the trilogy: Alina and Mal's biracial identities, most of Mal's Season 1 storyline, and Alina's increased agency in her relationship with Kirigan were all new.
But the general plot of Shadow and Bone was very much the same in both iterations, so if you're excited to find out where Alina, Mal, Kirigan, and the rest of the gang's stories go next, kicking things off with the original trilogy is the way to go. It also lays helpful (if not necessary) groundwork for understanding the Grishaverse world and its complex terminology even better. So if you want to read the series chronologically or get even more of Alina's story, start here.
The Six of Crows Duology
The books: Six of Crows (2015), Crooked Kingdom (2016)
Before Shadow and Bone headed to Netflix, this spinoff duology had plenty of fans of its own — so many, in fact, that the Crows ended up in Shadow and Bone Season 1, even though, in the book universe, the Crows and the OG characters pretty much never cross paths. All of what you see of the Crows in the show is a prequel to their book storylines, so read this series if you want to see their future.
Start these books after Ruin and Rising if you want to go chronologically. But if you fell in love with the Crows' gritty criminal underworld scenes on the Netflix show, you can actually skip the original trilogy and begin with Six of Crows. Since the two series barely overlap, you won't learn any spoilers about the other characters. Plus, you've already met five of the six Crows in Season 1: Obviously there's Kaz, Inej, and Jesper, but Nina and Matthias also join the team. Since Nina met the Crows at the end of the first season, there's a good chance a potential Shadow and Bone Season 2 will finally start telling the Crows' original story.
The King of Scars Duology
The books: King of Scars (2019), Rule of Wolves (2021)
Future seasons of Shadow and Bone could introduce some truly beloved Grishaverse characters, especially fan-favorite Prince Nikolai Lantsov. The charming rogue first appears in Siege and Storm and even has an entire duology dedicated to his story. King of Scars takes place after the events of both Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, as Nikolai and his allies struggle to rebuild Ravka. The series also features some Shadow and Bone characters you already know and love, like Nina, Genya, and Zoya.
The world-building of this series will be pretty confusing for anyone who hasn't read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, so check it out if the previous books left you ready for more.
Even More Grishaverse Books
The books: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (2017), The Lives of Saints (2020), The Severed Moon: A Year Long Journal of Magic (2019)
These Grishaverse books aren't part of any ongoing stories: You can read them at any time, because they're meant to help flesh out Bardugo's world even better. The Language of Thorns is full of short stories set within the Grishaverse that characters like Alina or Kaz may have heard as children. The Lives of Saints, which is an in-universe book referenced within the Shadow and Bone trilogy, tells the stories of the Grisha Saints. And The Severed Moon is a journal full of Grishaverse-inspired writing prompts to help you immerse yourself in the universe and maybe even create stories of your own.
There you have it. The Grishaverse grows into a truly epic fantasy over the course of Bardugo's novels, and before more Shadow and Bone hopefully hits your screen, you have plenty of time to discover these stories for yourself.
Shadow and Bone Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.