Last month, Netflix released the first season of Shadow and Bone, an adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha novels. Mixing together the trilogy Shadow and Bone with the Six of Crows duology definitely kept the show exciting. And if you haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo yet, starting with her work is a great idea. But if you’re looking for books like Shadow and Bone that aren’t in Bardugo’s Grisha world, this is the list for you. These books are different from one another, but all of them are full of thrilling fantasy settings, deep worldbuilding, and characters grappling with their own powers. Whether you liked Alina and Mal’s romance, the hijinks of Kaz and his crew, or the broody General Kirigan, this list has something for everyone who’s just watched (and loved) the show Shadow and Bone.
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
Every year the moon caste demon king chooses eight girls from the lowest cast to be his concubines. These paper girls have no choice. They are taken from their homes and family, into a life of unbelievable luxury but no freedom. When the guards collect Lei, a paper caste girl from a small village, she feels resigned to her fate. But even after weeks of training at court, she doesn’t think she can complete the roll. And soon a forbidden romance makes her think about how to end the entire oppressive system. Many of Lei’s scenes reminded me of when Alina first arrives at Ravka’s Little Palace and learns to become Grisha. However, I also want to note a content warning that this book includes violence and sexual assault.
Nocturna by Maya Montayne
In a Latinx inspired world, the grieving Prince Alfie uses illegal magic to release a terrible power into the world while trying to find a way to bring his brother back from the dead. He needs the help of Finn, a thief with the power to change her face in any way, to re-imprison the evil power. But Finn is running away from old demons from her past that threaten to take over. These unlikely allies must work together and use their individual magic talents to try and save the world before it’s too late.
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Aster. Violet. Tansy. Mallow. Clementine. They are the good luck girls. They are marked as low caste by their lack of shadows and were sold as children to “welcome houses” by their desperate parents. But after one girl kills a man, the five escape looking for freedom and revenge on the men that hurt them. This story mixes fantasy and western tropes together and gives the girls more agency and adventure than in traditional cowboy stories. The setting descriptions are soft and lyrical, while the story obviously deals with harsh themes such as prostitution, assault, and violence.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
If you are looking for more Darkling (AKA General Kirigan) characters, this is a perfect book to read after finishing Shadow and Bone. Jude is only seven years old when the fae kill her parents and kidnap her and her sisters. She’s lived ten years in their court being raised by her parents’ murderer. But she wants to be more than a captive, even though doing so puts her in danger especially with Prince Cardan — the cruelest of the high king’s sons who particularly hates humans.
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
In the world of Orleans, people are born gray and need the help of Belles to become beautiful. Camellia Beauregard wants to become the most powerful Belle in the land and assist the royal family. But life as a palace Belle is not everything Camellia dreamed of. Soon the Queen asks her to risk her own life, and the fate of the kingdom, to help the princess. Camellia isn’t sure if she should help the princess or turn against her to save herself and the other Belles. If you loved the character Genya from Shadow and Bone and the way she could alter Alina’s appearance, this is the book for you!
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Triplet princess sisters with elemental magic must battle in order to crown the next queen of Fennbirn Island. Will the winner be Mirabella who controls the weather, Katherine who can ingest any poison, or Arisnoe who commands plants and animals to do her bidding? After being raised apart all their lives, fate is supposed to be responsible for the answer. But someone might have taken fate into her own hands, before this battle to the death begins.
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
In a world being covered by darkness, Corayne discovers she is the last descendant of an ancient lineage and the only hope for saving world. Thus begins a quest where she’s joined by a band of companions ranging from a badass assassin to a secret keeping queen. Told in multiple perspectives, with a strong chosen one narrative, Realm Breaker has strong connections to the Shadow and Bone series.
Hope you enjoy these books like Shadow and Bone! While you’re here, you might want to find out which character from Shadow and Bone you are most like or what kind of Grisha you are.