Shadow and Bone has completely taken over our lives since its release on Netflix on April 23rd, and like so many fellow fans of the show, many of us have been turning to the books for more Grishaverse content – some of us for the first time, some of us for the second, third or even fourth time. Anyone who enjoys the show is sure to love all the books they’re based on – from the Grisha trilogy to the Six of Crows duology and, of course, the most recent King of Scars duology.
But what happens after you’ve read all of Leigh Bardugo’s books in the Grishaverse? If you’re like me, you’re now looking for another fantasy world to immerse yourself in, another cast of characters to fall in love with. Here are the ten books that, I think, have the best chance of filling the hole left behind by the Grishaverse books.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Summary: This series takes place in a brutal world inspired by ancient Rome. One of our protagonists, Laia, has learned that survival means lying low, keeping out of the way of the Empire. But when her brother is arrested, she agrees to become a spy for a rebel group that has promised to rescue him. At the Empire’s greatest military academy, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest solider and our other protagonist.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: This series has a thrilling plot that keeps you guessing right until the end. The worldbuilding is also really interesting, and the series has that gritty intensity that drew so many people to Six of Crows.
The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
Summary: This is a retelling of several famous fairytales, but set in the distant future. In this world, a plague is ravaging the Earth while Lunars – people with the ability to control minds, who live on the moon – watch and bide their time. Cinder, a cyborg, has to assemble a team of outcasts to save the earth from Lunars.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: Thematically and tonally, this series could not have less in common with Six of Crows. However, it’s also a story about a group of misfits with various special powers teaming up to take on the world. It’s witty and fun and the world is really interesting, and it has that character-driven element that drew me to the Six of Crows duology. This might sound weird, but I like to think of this series as the middle ground between The Heroes of Olympus and Six of Crows.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Summary: This book follows a treasure-hunter named Séverin Montagnet-Alarie in Paris, 1889. When a powerful society known as the Order of Babel seeks him out of help, Séverin must assemble a team of experts to pull off a heist.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: Like Six of Crows, this book also features a lovable and diverse cast of antiheroes tasked with pulling off a heist.
The Penryn and the End of Days Series by Susan Ee
Summary (from Goodreads): It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.
Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: This series doesn’t have a lot in common with any Grishaverse books, but I do think it will appeal to people who liked Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom for two reasons. One, it’s a story about criminals and street gangs and ordinary people instead of some kind of “chosen one” narrative. And two, it’s genre-defying and off the beaten path, something completely unlike any other book series I’ve read, much like the Six of Crows duology. Read this if you’re looking for something delightfully weird and incredibly witty, with fun characters and a really heartwarming message at the end.
The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken
Summary: In this dystopian future, a mysterious disease has ravaged the United States, killing most of its children and leaving the rest with superpowers. At ten, Ruby was taken from her family and locked away in a camp, deemed too dangerous for society. Now sixteen, her life is in danger. She takes her one chance at escape, teaming up with a group of kids like her in search of East River, one of the only safe havens left kids with abilities.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: Like The Grisha Trilogy, this is fairly typical early-2010s YA, but with great worldbuilding and enough heart to make it stand out. The characters are all easy to root for, and their relationships carry the narrative. The magic system also has a some similarities to the one in the Grishaverse.
The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Summary (from Goodreads): Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Officially he serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador. Unofficially he’s a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: Great worldbuilding and really interesting characters. This is a world you’ll want to live in forever, plus the plot is very engaging and there’s plenty of witty banter.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
Summary: Comprised of five main series – The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and the upcoming series The Wicked Powers – these books follow a race of supernatural warriors known as Shadowhunters, who are tasked with ridding our world of demons. If you’d like to know in what order to read the books, check out this handy guide I wrote a few months ago.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: The characters. Each Shadowhunter Chronicles series features a huge cast of well-rounded, complex characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. I think these books will appeal especially to fans of Nikolai Lantsov. Plus, like with the Grishaverse books, you get multiple series set in the same world, but following different sets of characters. Each series stands on its own – and like the Grishaverse books, they get better as they go along – but they still reference each other and connect in interesting ways.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Summary: Adelina is the survivor of a deadly disease known as the blood fever, and like other survivors of this disease, she has been left with dangerous powers. The Young Elites tells the story of Adelina’s descent into the darkness and vengeance as she discovers her abilities and slowly becomes the villain of the story.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: Antiheroes. If you loved reading about morally grey characters taking on the world, this is the series for you. If you wish the Grisha trilogy had ended with Alina embracing her powers and joining up with the Darkling, you’ll probably enjoy this series. Lu’s Legend series is also great for anyone who enjoys Kaz’s scheming.
The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon
Summary: The Witch King takes place in a world where the fae have fled their homeland and settled in a kingdom called Asalin, which is located in the human world, but away from any human contact. Our main character, Wyatt, is a witch – someone born to fae parents, but not fae, and possessing magical powers. Before the story begins, he has fled his life in Asalin – and his engagement to his childhood friend, Prince Emyr – to live in the human world instead. But when Emyr finally tracks him down and brings him back to Asalin, Wyatt realizes that his old kingdom needs him, badly. Forced to confront the trauma that led him to flee in the first place, as well as his lingering feelings for Emyr, Wyatt must choose between his own personal freedom, and the freedom of all witches in Asalin.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: The Witch King is charming and witty and character-based, with a really cool magic system. Read this if you’re looking for a light read that offers a fresh take on the Chosen One narrative. This is the only book on this list that isn’t out yet, but you can read my advanced review and mark your calendars for June 1st!
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Summary: This series starts out with a simple concept: what if the good guys lost? A thousand years after the prophesied hero failed to defeat the Dark Lord, a young girl named Vin is recruited by a gang of thieves who have decided to take matters into their own hands by pulling off a dangerous heist against the Dark Lord himself.
Why it will appeal to Grishaverse fans: This series has a really cool magic system, and, like Six of Crows, challenges the idea of a “chosen one” by having criminals and thieves be the heroes of the story. The heist isn’t as central to the plot in this story as it is in Six of Crows, but it’s still there.