There are a variety of reasons to seek out how to read the Leigh Bardugo books in order. Maybe you’ve binged the first two seasons of the Shadow and Bone adaptation and are eager to see if anything else has been announced. Or maybe you saw the commotion her massive book deal made online and are curious about her writing.
Regardless, if you’re entering the Grishaverse for the first time through Bardugo’s books, it can be a little confusing. While many of the series in the Leigh Bardugo books in order can stand on their own, they do take place in the same universe. More recently, of course, Bardugo stepped away from the Grishaverse to explore a dark academia world with an adult fantasy series.
This list will clarify how you should approach these epic fantasy books.
Who is Leigh Bardugo?
Leigh Bardugo is an award-winning author. She was born in Jerusalem but moved to the US when she was young, where she was raised by her grandparents in Los Angeles, California. Bardugo attended Yale University, graduating with a degree in English, before working in copywriting and journalism.
Her experience at Yale has become part of her adult fantasy series. The Alex Stern books are dark academia with a paranormal twist that feature Yale and New Haven as the setting. Bardugo said writing Ninth House and its sequel Hell Bent allowed her to explore and analyze her experience at the elite institution in a way she had never done before.
However, her debut publication came several years before Bardugo wrote Ninth House. Shadow and Bone introduced the tremendously popular Grishaverse.
There are currently two spin-off series within the same universe, as well as a collection of short stories and a handful of companion books. Much to the delight of fans, Bardugo does plan on expanding the Grishaverse with future novels.
Bardugo’s personal experience also became an important element in one of the Grishaverse series. Within the acknowledgements of Six of Crows, Bardugo revealed that she has osteonecrosis and sometimes needs to use a cane. This inspired part of Kaz Brekker’s story, one the protagonists in Six of Crows, who uses a cane.
Collectively, the Leigh Bardugo books in order have sold more than 20 million copies around the world and been translated into almost 50 languages.
Leigh Bardugo Books in Order
If you’re looking to experience the Grishaverse for the first time, Bardugo does have a recommended reading order for her interconnected books. The below list encompasses all three series that take place within the same world, as well as her additional works set in the Grishaverse. This includes novellas, short stories, and related books.
Chronological Grishaverse Reading Order
- Demon in the Wood (2022)
The Witch of Duva (2012) (in Language of Thorns)
- Shadow and Bone (2012)
The Tailor (2013) (Alternate Scene)
- Siege and Storm (2013)
The Too-Clever Fox (2013) (in Language of Thorns)
Little Knife (2014) (in Language of Thorns)
- Ruin and Rising (2014)
- Six of Crows (2015)
- Crooked Kingdom (2016)
- King of Scars (2019)
- Rule of Wolves (2021)
- The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (2017)
- The Lives of Saints (2020)
Shadow and Bone Series
If you’re a chronological purist, this is the recommended entry point for the Grishaverse. For an in-depth look, check out our list of Shadow and Bone books in order.
Six of Crows Series
Six of Crows is the next series set within the Grishaverse. It can be read on its own, and you can even start your Grishaverse reading journey with this duology. It is set two years after the end of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but follows a new set of characters and different plots.
King of Scars Series
This is the final series that is set within the Grishaverse – at least for now. Bardugo has said that she has plans for more books set within this world.
While this series can also be read on its own without reading the preceding books, if you choose to do so, it will contain spoilers for the Six of Crows duology. For that reason it is not recommended to start reading the Leigh Bardugo books in order with this series.
Other Grishaverse Works
In fact, Bardugo’s already started on writing more about Grisha. The works listed below include novellas or short stories set within the Grishaverse. However, you can read The Language of Thorns without reading any of the previous books.
- Demon in the Wood (2022)
- The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (2017)
- Amaya and the Thorn Wood
- The Too-Clever Fox
- The Witch of Duva
- Little Knife
- The Soldier Prince
- When Water Sang Fire
- The Severed Moon: A Year-Long Journal of Magic (2019)
- The Lives of Saints (2020)
Grishverse Companion Journal
This journal is perfect for fans of the Grishaverse. Each page in this year-long journal has an introspective question to respond to or an evocative quotation from the novels of the Grishaverse.
Alex Stern Series
While her Grisha books have been incredibly popular, Leigh Bardugo’s first foray into adult fantasy also proved to be a hit among readers. This series is much darker and more graphic than her previous works.
Leigh Bardugo has also written a young adult novel in the DC Icons series which is a collaboration between many different authors such as Marie Lu, and Sarah J. Maas. It is the first book in this series.
Standalone Leigh Bardugo Books
- The Familiar (Expected: April 9, 2024)
Leigh Bardugo Anthologies
Finally, Leigh Bardugo has contributed to several anthologies throughout her career.
- Fierce Reads: Kisses and Curses (2015)
- Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (2015)
- Summer Days & Summer Nights (2016)
- Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life (2016)
- The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (2017)
- Marple: Twelve New Mysteries (2022)
Leigh Bardugo Screen Adaptions
You might have seen the hype in early 2021 surrounding the launch of Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow and Bone, and then again the hype with the second season in 2023.
The first season is based on the novel of the same name and the second season follows events in Siege and Storm. However, the show combines various elements from the larger Grishaverse, including incorporating the original trilogy and Six of Crows. It stars Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, and Ben Barnes.
According to Netflix statistics, the first season of Shadow and Bone was Netflix’s eighth most-watched English TV show of all time with 55 million members tuning in during the first 28 days.
While the adaptation includes the Crows in Alina’s timeline, fans adore the crew of outcasts and want to see more of their heisting unfold. According to the showrunner Eric Heisserer, the scripts for an eight-episode Six of Crows spin-off have already been written. But the spin-off and a third season of Shadow and Bone depend on the success of the second season.
Bardugo has another screen adaption in the works as well.
Less than two days after the publication of Ninth House, it was announced that the book had been optioned by Amazon Studios following an intense bidding war to acquire the rights.
Bardugo is an executive producer on both Shadow and Bone and the upcoming Ninth House adaptation. However, for Ninth House, she will also be on the writing team. As well, Bardugo took a step back from the production process for the second season of Shadow and Bone.
She said she needed time to focus on writing books and the decision fatigue was having an impact. She also said the show and the books now need to live separately.
What’s next for Leigh Bardugo?
In March 2023, Leigh Bardugo and Macmillan Publishers announced a massive publishing deal. It is an eight-figure agreement that will see a dozen books published across multiple Macmillan imprints. Macmillan said that the books will span a variety of formats, age categories, and genres.
In the press release Bardugo also spoke highly about the relationship she has with her publisher. She said they took a chance on her with Shadow and Bone, then with her pivot to Six of Crows, before allowing her to explore darker themes with Ninth House.
The Familiar is the first upcoming release to be announced since the confirmation of that deal. This new standalone novel will be a historical fantasy that takes place during the Spanish Golden Age.
On top of that, Bardugo already had multiple projects at various stages which might become part of this dozen-book deal.
Fans of the Shadow and Bone books will no doubt be ecstatic to learn that Bardugo is entertaining the idea of expanding the Grishaverse even further. She has also discussed a third Six of Crows book, but that will likely be much further into the future if it does come to fruition.
In a February 2023 interview, Bardugo said that she will be exploring places in the Grishaverse through a new format that will include a different kind of collaboration.
While on tour promoting Hell Bent, Bardugo spoke about two books that she had in the works. The first was a children’s book which has not yet been announced and then the second was an adult historical fiction novel, which is very likely The Familiar.
Summary of Leigh Bardugo Books in Order
Below you will find summaries to the Leigh Bardugo books in order. This will help provide a good overview of the Grishaverse with its multiple series and many characters. In addition to finding out more about the tropes Bardugo uses in her writing, you will get a glimmer of the darker aspect in her books.
Shadow and Bone Trilogy
0.5 Demon in the Wood
Demon in the Wood is a prequel to Shadow and Bone, which was rereleased as a graphic novel in September 2022. Although it takes place first chronologically, your reading experience will be enhanced if you read this after starting the Shadow and Bone trilogy as you will better understand the world.
It tells of the story of the lonely boy before he became the Darkling.
Eryk and his mother, Lena, have spent their lives on the run. But they will never find a safe haven. They are not only Grisha – they are the deadliest and rarest of their kind.
Feared by those who wish to destroy them and hunted by those who would exploit their gifts, they must hide their true abilities wherever they go. But sometimes deadly secrets have a way of revealing themselves…
1. Shadow and Bone
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life. It is a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free.
Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha and the secrets of her heart.
2. Siege and Storm
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka.
But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her – or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
3. Ruin and Rising
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction – and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
Six of Crows Duology
1. Six of Crows
Six of Crows is the first book in the Six of Crows duology and follows six dangerous outcasts on an impossible heist.
Ketterdam is a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price. No one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz received a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams, but he can’t pull it off alone.
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction. But only if they don’t kill each other first.
2. Crooked Kingdom
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.
A war will take place on the city’s dark and twisting streets. It will be a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
King of Scars Duology
1. King of Scars
This novels marks the start of the second duology set within the Grishaverse.
The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war – and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself.
But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried – and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
2. Rule of Wolves
As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm – even the monster within – to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
Meanwhile, Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs.
Finally, Nina Zenik is deep undercover and risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.
Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.
The Language of Thorns
The Language of Thorns is a collection of short stories that take place within the Grishaverse.
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
The Lives of Saints
The Lives of Saints is a illustrated replica of a novel from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. From the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.
These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.
This beautiful collection also includes Dan Zollinger’s stunning full-color illustrations of each story.
Alex Stern Series
1. Ninth House
Ninth House is a story of power, privilege, magic, and murder set among the secret societies of Yale University. It has no connection to the Grishaverse and it is the first book set within Bardugo’s new Alex Stern series.
In this first novel, readers meet Galaxy “Alex” Stern – the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. She is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide and at her hospital bed she is offered a second chance at a better life: A full ride at the prestigious Yale University.
But she must monitor, and report, the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
2. Hell Bent
Galaxy “Alex” Stern will do anything to break Darlington out of hell. Even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale. But Alex is playing with forces far beyond her control, and when faculty members begin to die off, she knows these aren’t just accidents.
Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if Alex is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.
Final thoughts on Leigh Bardugo books in order
Leigh Bardugo’s books are a must-read for any fantasy lover. If you’re were feeling overwhelmed by how to read the Leigh Bardugo books in order and enter into the Grishaverse, hopefully this article has helped you decide where to begin.