A Guide To The Grishaverse (Shadow & Bone) Books And What Order To Read Them In

Hello yes we are all very excited!!! much excite!!! about the Netflix Shadow and Bone adaptation right?? I remember freaking out the day there was the announcement and then the casting announcement and then the trailers and now we are almost there!!

yes i stole this image from their twitter header i don’t think they mind

Anyways, I get easily intimidated by long book series haha but somehow I’ve managed to get through eight Grishaverse books! And since Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are two of my all time favorites, and the other books are, well, good enough, and I want to encourage everyone to watch the show and read the books, here’s your nifty guide on each of the books/series, and several different ways/orders to read them depending on what you need!

Also this is the first post I’ve written with the block editor and truly I hate it so much so excuse the bad formatting but I cannot stand the block editor!! ever since I was forced over I’ve just been using the “classic block” but I tried using legit blocks now and truly it is awful bring back the classic editor. also I was going to add more pictures but truly I cannot deal with adding images in this block editor I swear next post I’ll be back to the classic block truly I spent longer formatting this post than writing it Im dying

The Shadow And Bone Trilogy (The Grisha Trilogy)

Six of Crows duology

The Shadow and Bone trilogy was previously known as the Grisha Trilogy, and was written first and takes place first chronologically. Shadow and Bone consists of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. The Shadow and Bone trilogy is a pretty standard 2012 era YA fantasy. It follows common tropes such as the chosen one, an unknown person discovering powers, people rising against the government, and love triangles. It’s written in first person from Alina Starkov’s POV. The Shadow and Bone show, season 1, will follow the events of book one, Shadow and Bone.

The Six of Crows Duology

I truly cannot help but to scream about the best duology in the world!! The Six of Crows duology is Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. This series is truly incredible, leagues above the Shadow and Bone trilogy in terms of pretty much everything–plot, characters, writing style, you name it! Six of Crows is a huge departure from Shadow and Bone; it’s about thieves and criminals running a heist for their own personal gain. There are six main characters: Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Mattias, and Wylan, and the books are told from third person POV from each of them. The Six of Crows duology can be read on its own, and although it has minor spoilers for the Grisha trilogy, they’re just in barely mentioned cameos. This duology was written second and takes place several years after the Grisha trilogy. The Shadow and Bone show will be like a prequel for these books, focusing mainly on Kaz, Inej, and Jesper, with Nina and Mattias having smaller roles, and Wylan (unfortunately!!) not being cast yet.

The Nikolai Duology

Nikolai Duology

Calling King of Scars and Rule of Wolves the Nikolai Duology was very deceptive because it’s not about Nikolai–it’s about Nikolai and Zoya, two characters from Shadow and Bone, and Nina, from Six of Crows, as well as a bunch of other people. Opinion on this is varied and most people generally like this duology, thought I personally was really let down by Rule of Wolves especially. This duology is a major departure from the previous two as it is NOT a self contained story and there’s really no way to read this book without reading the other five first, unless you want to be massively confused the whole time. It brings together characters from two totally different stories in a way some people liked and I really didn’t but you know.

Order 1: I want to read them all chronologically!

Obviously you can always read them chronologically: Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows Duology, Nikolai Duology. Everything will make sense to you, and you’ll get to read the books as Leigh intended them to be read. The only downside is that the Shadow and Bone books are significantly weaker than the Six of Crows book, and it would be tragic if you didn’t want to read the most amazing duology in the world because of a mediocre trilogy.

Order 2: I want to read the best first!

This is the way I read them and I really recommend it: Six of Crows, Shadow and Bone, Nikolai. Six of Crows is by far the best, so it’s really good at drawing you in and making you fall in love with the world immediately. Six of Crows can be read without Shadow and Bone except a few minor spoilers and cameos you might miss but honestly I didn’t even notice and if you take a little break between reading the books, or just don’t read every page super carefully, you might miss the mentions and not even be spoiled.

Order 3: I don’t like reading and am only vaguely interested in checking out a book before the show drops

If you aren’t down to read seven books, I don’t blame you! You can still enjoy this phenomenal world! I would recommend reading just Six of Crows (and probably Crooked Kingdom because there’s a cruel cliffhanger) and I guarantee you’ll fall in love with the Grishaverse. If get super invested you can go back and read the other books later.

Order 4: I want to read them all eventually but just need the show essentials now

This is a bit unconventional but I think you would be okay reading just Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows for season one of the show. The show will follow the plot of Shadow and Bone, so you should read that. Six of Crows is going to be a backstory so it won’t actually cover the events of the book, but a large part of the book is backstory so I would recommend reading it just in case. You can read the other 5 books eventually before season 2 or 3, etc.

The Extras

Leigh Bardugo has also written two companion novels: The Lives of Saints and The Language of Thorns. To be honest I haven’t read the Lives of Saints yet, but I read The Language of Thorns and it’s beautiful. It’s also a companion with no characters or plot from any of the other books so I would say read it whenever after reading at least one other book so you know what the Grishaverse is. I haven’t read The Lives of Saints yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing.

Let’s Chat

What order did you read the grishaverse books in, or what order are you planning to? Are you SUPER EXCITED AHHH for the show?? Who are you most excited to see? (kaz… duh) I’d love to chat in the comments below!


26 thoughts on “A Guide To The Grishaverse (Shadow & Bone) Books And What Order To Read Them In

  1. Ooh I love this post!!!! I’m all caught up with the series and super excited for the show, and this post is the perfect guide for people who want to get into the series!

    I hated block editors when I was forced to used it at first too and I don’t think I’m used to it after all this time… It gets better, but I think only because I don’t know how else to write my posts 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m only missing Rule of Wolves, which unfortunately took 5ever to get to me, but then I am ALL SET for the show haha I agree about the quality assessment of best to worst series within the Grishaverse. The Six of Crows duology is truly the top tier story here!

    I loved how you put this post together and I am so, so, so excited for the show to finally release. Let me share this post with all my friends who keep bugging me about the order they should read the books in haha this is super comprehensive!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Kay! I’ve read all the Shadow & Bones and SoC books though it was *so* long ago that the details are super patchy. I’ve been meaning to re-read them but so many books, so little time! LOL I’ve been leaning towards just re-reading SoC but I know the Shadow & Bone books technically come first and the struggle is real 🤪

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ahh kay!! i love this post so much!! i wish i had this guide while starting out lol, because it took forever for my two brain cells to decide what to read first!! i loved everything though SoC and CK were 100x better than S&B lmao. i’m SCREAMING and SO SO excited for the show 😭💓

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kay I love this post so much omg!! I insisted on dragging myself through the S&B trilogy before SoC because I wanted the *full reading experience* 😂 I’m stubborn that way.

    I haven’t read the Nikolai duology but I’ve been really torn about whether or not to start it. There are some people who LOVE love it and then there’s people who think it was entirely unnecessary. I desperately want more Nina content but then I’m like do I really want to read two books from Nikolai and Zoya’s POVs?? Ahhh I’m so conflicted 😫

    AHH LESS THAN A WEEK TILL THE SHOW. I seriously CANNOT wait. Based on everything they’ve shown is so far, my expectations are set sky high and it better live up to them or else!! 😱

    Fantastic post Kay!! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you, I read the Crows duology first, and I thought the Nikolai plot twist was so damn clever until I finally went back and read S&B and was just like–ah, yes, I am dumb. I’m currently rereading the entire universe, and I’ve really enjoyed reading them chronologically. It fills out the world so much more to start from the beginning!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. LOL I love this! I read Shadow & Bone first, then Six of Crows. I haven’t read Nikolai’s though. I’m currently rereading Shadow & Bone since it’s been so long since I read it and I want to remind myself of plot and characters before the show…..but it’s not as good as I remember it to be lol I’m kind of bored? I’m almost done and like nothing has happened and when something finally did it was so out of nowhere hahah I want to reread Six of Crows now to see if I like it more this time around.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I read The Grisha Trilogy back when Six of Crows wasn’t even a thing yet, so those were my firsts 🙂 But I think it doesn’t matter if you read Six of Crows or Shadow and Bone first, as long as you don’t start with King of Scars 😀 but good god, I was so excited for the show (and ended up loving it!!)

    Liked by 1 person

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