Welcome! If you’re curious about this website, this is part of the Most Interesting Questions series on my blog. I answer the most interesting questions I can find or think of about bestselling franchises, and today I’m going to be covering Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, which starts with Shadow and Bone.
The Grisha trilogy is an epic fantasy series of books for young adults. The Grisha Trilogy/Shadow and Bone explores the Grishaverse, which is another world, separate from our own. It’s kind of like middle-earth in Lord of the Rings, but there’s no elves, dwarves, orcs, or hobbits. The magic is a little bit less powerful, though still very powerful. The events of Shadow and Bone take place in a country called Ravka within the Grishaverse.
If you’ve read the books, you might have picked up on the fact that they take inspiration from pre-industrial Russia. There are old stories inspired by Russian folktales, kings and queens, and the language takes a lot of inspiration from Russian too. To me, that’s really interesting. I love fantasy that takes inspiration from real life, and a world inspired by old Russia is such a unique one.
So, whether you’ve read Shadow and Bone or not, if you’re interested in learning more about it, I’m going to explore the five most interesting questions about Shadow and Bone and the Grisha Trilogy.
Before I do, if you’re wondering about who I am, I’m an author from Portland, OR. I write epic fantasy also, and if you like the Grishaverse and are looking for another good read, I’d encourage you to check out Sand and Smoke, the first book in my Dragon Destiny trilogy, by clicking here.
Q #1) When is the Shadow and Bone Netflix show release date?
A: The Shadow and Bone Netflix show comes out on April, 23, 2021. If you’re wondering about who will be in it, it’s headlined by Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Archie Renaux as Mal. Meanwhile, Ben Barnes is going to be playing the Darkling. One of the main characters from Shadow and Bone, Nikolai Lantsov, actually won’t be in season one. If there’s a season two, it’s possible he’ll show up then. Also, what has been revealed is that the show will encompass both the events in Shadow and Bone and the events in Six of Crows. Six of Crows is a duology set in the same world as Shadow and Bone, but it takes place in a different country, following a band of criminals in the island country of Kerch, where people from all over the globe mix and mingle. The Shadow and Bone Netflix series will have a lot of ground to cover, tackling both series, spanning a total of five books.
Q #2: What is the best order for reading the Shadow and Bone series or the Grisha Trilogy?
A: In my opinion, publication order is always a good order to go in. Here’s the Shadow and Bone, or Grisha Trilogy, series order: it goes, Shadow and Bone (the first published book), then Siege and Storm, then Ruin and Rising. After that, Six of Crows followed by Crooked Kingdom. However, Six of Crows is a whole lot better than Shadow and Bone. If you’re wondering: can you read Six of Crows before Shadow and Bone, the answer is yes. Bardugo was clearly finding her footing as a writer in the Grisha Trilogy, so it might pay to start the series at Six of Crows. In my opinion, though, the best reading order for Shadow and Bone is a matter of preference. I actually read Six of Crows first, and I really enjoyed the experience of reading that series first, and then diving into Shadow and Bone and the Grisha Trilogy. I think I would have found Shadow and Bone less interesting if I had not read Six of Crows first. Regardless, I wouldn’t advise a reading order for the Grishaverse that starts with anything besides either Shadow and Bone or Six of Crows. Those two books are clearly the best starting points to get into the series.
Q #3: What’s the age rating for Shadow and Bone or what ages is it appropriate for?
The Shadow and Bone age rating, and the Siege and Storm age rating, is 12 and up. It’s a young adult book, so middle-schoolers and high-schoolers are most likely to enjoy it. If you’re wondering about the Shadow and Bone Netflix series age rating, the show hasn’t been released yet as of me writing this, but I’d imagine it will probably be suitable for the same ages; I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s rated pg-13. The Ruin and Rising age rating follows along the same lines. The books are pretty clean overall, there is a suicide in book three, that’s the worst thing that comes to mind for me. There is also a lot of romance in these books, so you should be at least okay with that. If you like romance, then this could be a great series. But be aware that the romance isn’t straightforward, there are a ton of twists and it’s messy and not-exactly-love.
Q #4: Can you give a summary of what happens in Shadow and Bone?
A: I won’t give a chapter by chapter summary, but here’s the gist of what happens. Alina Starkov, an ordinary mapmaker in Ravka, learns that she has amazing powers. She’s a Grisha, which is a magic-user. But she’s not just any Grisha, she’s one of the two most powerful Grisha in existence. The other powerful Grisha is called the Darkling. He takes her under his wing, but she quickly learns that he’s not the man he appears to be. I don’t want to say anything else, because it might spoil the book. If this sounds interesting, then check it out!
Q #5: What characters are in Ruin and Rising?
A: The third book of the Grisha Trilogy features all of the characters you’d expect. Alina and Mal are in most of the book. The Darkling is in some of the book, as is Nikolai. Other characters include Zoe, Baghra, and a whole collection of guys and gals that Alina has recruited to be in her inner circle.
Thanks for reading! If you have already read Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, I invite you to check out my Dragon Destiny trilogy. I think it’ll appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo, because it’s also epic fantasy, for young adults, and it has mythical creatures (like the stag and the firebird): it has dragons! The first book in my trilogy is called Sand and Smoke. Read more about it by clicking here.