Shadow and Bone Books In Order: A Complete List

If you are an avid reader and love diving into the realms of fantasy, chances are high that you’ve come across the magical Grishaverse penned by Leigh Bardugo. From battles against evil forces to heartfelt friendships and unpredictable romances, Bardugo’s books transport you to a world rich with mystique and wonder.

In this blog, we take a look at the recommended reading order for the Shadow and Bone series, and tackle a common question for beginners: “Should I start with Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows?”

Shadow and Bone Books In Order

Shadow and Bone Books in Order

Shadow and Bone Books in Order
Shadow and Bone Books in Order

To fully absorb and appreciate the intricacies of the Grishaverse, here’s the chronological order of the Shadow and Bone books:

  • Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)
  • Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2)
  • Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3)

After the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the following books are:

  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1)
  • Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology #2)

Lastly, the King of Scars Duology continues the universe:

  • King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)
  • Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2)

Should I start with Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this, as it often depends on your reading preference. If you wish to follow the chronological narrative and witness the development of the Grishaverse from its genesis, it is advisable to start with Shadow and Bone. On the other hand, if you’re more drawn toward ensemble casts and heist stories, Six of Crows might be a captivating start.

However, starting with Shadow and Bone provides important context and background to the universe, which many find enriches their reading of Six of Crows and subsequent books. Therefore, the most recommended order is the one listed above: starting with Shadow and Bone, then moving on to Six of Crows, and finally the King of Scars duology.

1. Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)
Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)

“Shadow and Bone” introduces us to the dark, mystical world of Ravka, a kingdom divided by the Shadow Fold, a swath of nearly impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters known as velcro. Alina Starkov, a plain, seemingly insignificant orphan and soldier, discovers a dormant power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free.

When her regiment is attacked, and her best friend, Mal, is critically injured, Alina unleashes a surge of magical light, revealing her unique ability. She is then taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the kingdom’s magical elite led by the enigmatic Darkling.

2. Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2)

Siege And Storm (The Shadow And Bone Trilogy #2)
Siege And Storm (The Shadow And Bone Trilogy #2)

In “Siege and Storm”, Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling and his Grisha Army. Alina’s power as the Sun Summoner has grown, but she struggles with her new identity and the longing for a life she can’t have with Mal by her side. The duo is eventually captured by the Darkling and introduced to a new character, a charming privateer named Nikolai.

A dramatic battle sees Alina activating another amplifier, cementing her status as the Sun Summoner. Nikolai offers to help them overthrow the current Ravkan king, but a dark power within Alina grows, threatening to take over.

3. Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3)

Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3)
Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3)

“Ruin and Rising” sees Alina, weakened and confined within the white cathedral by the Apparat and his followers, plotting to overthrow the Darkling once and for all. As her health dwindles, Alina hatches a plan to escape the Apparat’s grasp and search for the Firebird, the third amplifier that would grant her unimaginable power.

Alongside Mal and her loyal Grisha, Alina uncovers shocking truths about the Darkling, the Fold, the amplifiers, and her destiny. The climax provides a dramatic showdown between Alina and the Darkling, culminating in unexpected sacrifices and a transformative decision for the future of Ravka.

4. Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1)

Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1)
Six of Crows (Six of Crows Duology #1)

In “Six of Crows”, the action shifts from Ravka to the bustling city of Ketterdam in Kerch. Kaz Brekker, a cunning gang leader known as “Dirty Hands,” is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge, a sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager, a runaway with a privileged past, a spy known as the Wraith, a Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums, and a thief with a gift for unlikely escapes together, they form a mismatched, highly skilled team ready to infiltrate the Ice Court and retrieve a hostage.

This hostage, a scientist, holds the secret to a drug that can amplify a Grisha’s power an invention that could change the world as they know it, for better or worse.

5. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology #2)

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology #2)
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology #2)

In the action-packed sequel, “Crooked Kingdom”, Kaz Brekker and his crew are back in Ketterdam. However, instead of reaping the rewards from their daring heist, they find themselves in deeper trouble. Double-crossed and left with nothing, Kaz hatches an intricate plan to not only retrieve what they’re owed but to topple the kingdom’s corruption.

As their plan unfurls, the crew contends with their pasts, questions their futures, and navigates tricky relationships. Their success can reshape the world, but it also comes with deadly risks and sacrifices, pushing their bonds to the limit.

6. King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)

King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)
King of Scars (King of Scars Duology #1)

“King of Scars” shifts the focus to Nikolai Lantsov, the charming and clever king of Ravka, previously introduced in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Haunted by a dark curse from the civil war, Nikolai must journey to the edges of Ravka and beyond, into the heart of enemy territory, to rid himself of the magic within.

Meanwhile, Nina Zenik, a heart render and survivor from the Six of Crows duology, is on a covert mission in Fjerda where she grapples with loss, revenge, and the discovery of a new, dangerous Grisha power.

7. Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2)

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2)
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2)

The duology concludes with “Rule of Wolves”, which sees Nikolai fighting to secure his kingdom as threats from both political and magical press from all sides. His ally in the south, the Grisha soldier Zoya, harbors her own dangerous secrets as she attempts to fortify their vulnerable nation.

Meanwhile, in the icy north, Nina continues her mission, forging unlikely alliances and uncovering more secrets about her power. As war looms, Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina must navigate treacherous paths of deception, loss, and personal challenges to save their kingdom.

What is the significance of Alina Starkov’s power in “Shadow and Bone”?

Alina Starkov’s power as the Sun Summoner plays a pivotal role in the entire series. Initially, she is presented as an ordinary girl, lacking any special abilities or status. However, the discovery of her power marks the beginning of a journey filled with challenges, personal growth, and high-stakes battles.

Quick Fact: Her ability to summon and control light, a stark contrast to the Shadow Fold’s darkness, positions her as the potential savior of Ravka. It is this power that catches the Darkling’s attention, triggering a series of events that shape the course of the trilogy and, by extension, the entire Grishaverse.

Who is Nikolai and how does his character evolve in the series?

Nikolai Lantsov is introduced in the second book of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, “Siege and Storm”, as a charming privateer with his own agenda. Over time, he becomes a key ally to Alina and her cause. His evolution is significant throughout the series, especially in the King of Scars duology, where he becomes the main protagonist.

Here, as the king of Ravka, he grapples with the aftermath of war, political upheaval, and a personal curse, demonstrating his strategic mind, resilience, and dedication to his country. His character evolves from a roguish outsider to a leader struggling with internal and external pressures.

Why is the heist in “Six of Crows” significant?

The heist in “Six of Crows” is critical because it sets the stage for the narrative and character development of the duology. It brings together a diverse crew of characters, each with unique skill sets and personal baggage. As they embark on the seemingly impossible mission, they must navigate complex relationships, personal demons, and deadly challenges.

Additionally, the mission’s objective to kidnap a scientist who created a drug that can amplify Grisha’s powers poses significant ethical questions and has the potential to radically shift the power dynamics within the Grishaverse.

How does Alina’s character change over the course of the Shadow and Bone trilogy?

Alina’s journey is one of self-discovery, growth, and transformation. At the series’ onset, she is an ordinary, insecure orphan with no sense of belonging. However, the emergence of her Grisha powers thrusts her into a world of magic, power, and political intrigue.

Over the trilogy, she must grapple with her new identity, the heavy responsibility that comes with her power, and her complex feelings for Mal and the Darkling. By the trilogy’s end, she evolves into a decisive, independent figure who makes considerable personal sacrifices for the greater good.

What role does Nina Zenik play in the Grishaverse?

Nina Zenik, a Heartrender from Ravka, first appears in the Six of Crows duology. Initially, her role is confined to her abilities as a Grisha, using her power to manipulate others’ bodies. However, her role expands significantly in the King of Scars duology. Here, Nina becomes an agent working on behalf of Ravka, operating covertly in the hostile territory of Fjerda.

She unearths and confronts significant threats and develops new, dangerous Grisha abilities, playing a vital role in the political machinations of the Grishaverse.

How does the Grishaverse change throughout the series?

The Grishaverse, Leigh Bardugo’s intricately built world, undergoes substantial changes throughout the series. Initially, the focus is primarily on Ravka, a nation divided by the monstrous Shadow Fold.

However, as the series progresses, the narrative expands to other territories like Ketterdam in Kerch and Fjerda, showing the political, social, and cultural differences that exist within this universe. Moreover, the balance of magical power shifts dramatically, particularly concerning the amplifiers and the introduction of the drug that can amplify Grisha’s powers.

These transformations add layers of complexity to the Grishaverse and drive the story forward.

What are the main themes explored in the Grishaverse series?

The Grishaverse series delves into several themes. One prominent theme is the exploration of power in its many forms and its effects on individuals and societies. This includes political power, magical power, and personal power derived from one’s skills or influence.

Other themes include the complexities of morality, where characters often operate in shades of gray rather than strict right or wrong. The series also explores themes of identity, belonging, and transformation, as many characters undergo personal journeys of self-discovery and change.

Lastly, it delves into relationships and love, not just in a romantic sense, but also exploring friendships, loyalties, and sacrifices.

Who is the Darkling and how does his character influence the narrative?

The Darkling, also known as General Kirigan, is introduced in “Shadow and Bone” as the commander of the Grisha, an enigmatic figure with the rare and powerful ability to manipulate darkness. The Darkling is revealed to have been the creator of the Shadow Fold, making him a formidable antagonist in the series.

His complex relationship with Alina, characterized by manipulation, allure, and conflicting feelings, significantly impacts her journey and the overall narrative.

Quick Fact: The Darkling’s actions, driven by his desire for power and control, shape the course of events, leading to battles, betrayals, and surprising alliances.

What is the Shadow Fold and why is it important in the series?

The Shadow Fold, also known as the Unsea, is a swath of near-impenetrable darkness filled with monstrous creatures known as volcra, located in the heart of Ravka. It acts as a physical and symbolic barrier, dividing the country and creating economic, political, and social challenges.

It’s the driving force behind many plot points, especially the discovery of Alina’s Sun Summoner abilities. The eradication of the Shadow Fold becomes a primary goal in the series, leading to significant developments in the storyline.

How does the relationship between Alina and Mal evolve throughout the series?

Alina and Mal, who grew up together in an orphanage, start as close friends in “Shadow and Bone”. When Alina’s Grisha powers manifest, a rift forms as Alina is whisked away to the Grisha court, while Mal remains a common soldier. Their relationship is marked by longing, misunderstandings, and separation.

However, their deep bond and shared experiences eventually bring them back together, their relationship evolving from childhood friendship into a complex and passionate love. Their bond forms the emotional core of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, influencing many of their decisions and actions.

What makes the crew in “Six of Crows” unique?

The crew in “Six of Crows” is unique due to their diverse backgrounds, abilities, and personal narratives. Each member hails from different corners of the Grishaverse, bringing varied experiences, skills, and perspectives. This diversity, coupled with their shared experiences of hardship and resilience, forms the backbone of their dynamic.

Their interactions, conflicts, and relationships add depth to the narrative, showcasing themes of camaraderie, loyalty, and personal growth.

What is the significance of the King of Scars duology in the Grishaverse?

The King of Scars duology broadens the scope of the Grishaverse and offers a deeper exploration of familiar characters. Focusing on King Nikolai, the duology navigates the challenges of leadership in the post-war era, the struggle to reconcile personal burdens with public responsibilities and the dynamics of power.

It also delves deeper into the character of Nina Zenik, her struggles, and her mission in Fjerda, further expanding the universe’s geographical and political landscape.

How does Leigh Bardugo’s writing style contribute to the series?

Leigh Bardugo’s writing style is essential in creating the immersive world of the Grishaverse. Her detailed world-building, characterized by its depth and precision, transports readers into an entirely unique universe, complete with its own geography, political systems, social norms, and magical laws.

Her complex characters, narrative twists, and thematic depth all contribute to the compelling nature of the series. Bardugo’s ability to seamlessly switch perspectives across different books allows for a comprehensive view of her characters and the world they inhabit.

How do the character’s personal histories impact their decisions and relationships in the series?

Each character in the Grishaverse is deeply shaped by their past, which in turn influences their decisions, actions, and relationships. For instance, Alina’s experiences as an orphan and an outsider significantly impact her self-perception and her relationship with her power.

Kaz Brekker’s past traumas drive his ambition, ruthlessness, and his guarded approach to personal relationships. Nina’s experiences with war, loss, and prejudice shape her fierce dedication to her covert mission in Fjerda. These personal histories add depth to the characters, making them relatable and driving the narrative in meaningful ways.


Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse offers readers a richly imagined world, filled with complex characters, compelling narratives, and thought-provoking themes. From the dark, shadow-filled realm of Ravka to the bustling streets of Ketterdam, each book in the series adds to the vivid tapestry of this universe.

Whether you’re following Alina’s journey as the Sun Summoner or rooting for Kaz Brekker’s crew on their daring heist, Bardugo’s series is a captivating exploration of power, identity, and the lengths one would go to protect their world.

Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to the series, the Grishaverse awaits, promising a journey filled with magic, adventure, and intrigue.

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About Ben Hudd

Hi, my name is Ben, and I am part of the writing crew for TheWritersHQ!

I have a roaring passion for books and writing, and have written 2 books throughout my life! I am now excited to share my writing and book knowledge with the world!