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The Grishaverse currently includes a number of fantasy novels, short story collections, a graphic novel, and a Netflix series created by author Leigh Bardugo. Set in the fictional countries of Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han, Kerch, Novyi Zem, and the Wandering Isle–each of which is based on a real-world counterpart–the stories prominently feature a magic system called the “Small Science,” which is practiced by individuals called Grisha.
Grisha are divided into different orders depending on the type of element or power they can control. The main Grisha orders are Corporalki, Etheralki, and Materialki. Respectively, they can control the human body, the elements, and materials like metal or chemicals. Each main order is divided into smaller categories such as Heartrenders (who can slow a pulse or take the breath from a person’s lungs) or Durasts (who work with steel, cloth, wood, etc.).
Different nations have different approaches to Grisha. For example, the Grisha are regarded with suspicion in the country of Ravka, but also form its powerful Second Army. In Fjerda, Grisha are considered witches and are hunted and killed. Many of the stories follow nations and people grappling with Grisha and their political and social status.
Shadow and Bone Trilogy (Originally Called the Grisha Trilogy)
The Shadow and Bone trilogy marks the chronological beginning of the Grishaverse and makes a natural starting point for readers new to the universe.
Shadow and Bone
Best friends Alina Starkov and Mal are training in the army in the Russian-inspired kingdom of Ravka. As part of their assignment, they need to cross the Fold–a swath monster-infested darkness that divides the kingdom. While under attack in the Fold, Alina reveals she has unusual Sun Summoning powers, and is taken to join the army of Grisha, individuals who can control the elements, heal others, or slow a person’s heart. Many believe Alina has been sent to save Ravka and destroy the Fold. But the commander of the Grisha army, the Darkling, seems to have his own plans for Alina and her powers.
Siege and Storm
Alina and Mal are on the run, both trying to keep Alina’s identity as the legendary Sun Summoner secret. But Alina will have to face her old foes eventually. To do so, she enlists the aid of a famously dashing privateer.
Ruin and Rising
Ravka has fallen. Alina and Mal are in hiding. They need to find the amplifiers of legend to increase their power and take back the country. But doing so might mean allying themselves with groups who have questionable motives.
Six of Crows Duology
Six of Crows takes place two years after the events of Ruin and Rising and starts in Ketterdam, the capital city of the country of Kerch. The books in the duology can be thought of as companion books, rather than sequels, to the Shadow and Bone trilogy as they feature entirely new characters. The duology thus can work as a starting point for new readers, though there are some allusions to the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy.
Six of Crows
Bo Yul-Bayur, a Shu scientist, has developed a drug known as jurda parem, which can greatly enhance the powers of Grisha, though it is highly addictive. Now, nations are fighting over the discovery while Yu-Bayur languishes in a high-security prison in the nation of Fjerda. Ketterdam gang leader Kaz Brekker receives an offer he cannot refuse, when a rich merchant pays him to rescue Yu-Bayur. But this mission is the biggest his gang has ever taken on, and it has political implications that even Kaz cannot ignore.
Kaz and his gang have just achieved victory in a monumental heist, but they have been double-crossed and a team member has been taken. They will have to work together to save their gang and determine the fate of the Grisha in a world that has been changed by the discovery of jurda parem.
King of Scars Duology
This duology takes place in Ravka after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Readers should be familiar with the Shadow and Bone trilogy before starting King of Scars. Reading the Six of Crows duology is less necessary, but will explain how some of the characters ended in their current positions. Reading this duology before the Six of Crows duology could also result in a major spoiler for Crooked Kingdom.
King of Scars
Nikolai Lantsov is trying to hold Ravka together. The nation has been ravaged by civil war and the country’s treasury and its Grisha army are both dwindling. But a monster is growing inside him, and he will first need to go on a journey to save himself.
Rule of Wolves
As Fjerda prepares to go to war against a weakened Ravka, Nikolai Lantsov joins forces with legendary Squaller Zoya Nazylaenksy, and the spy Nina Zenik, to save his country.
Graphic Novels and Anthologies
The Demon in the Wood
Adapted from a previously published short story, this standalone graphic novel follows an episode from the early days of the Darkling–before he became the Darkling. Though technically a prequel, this is best read after the Shadow and Bone trilogy.
The Language of Thorns
This illustrated anthology contains six stories inspired by myth and fairy tales, set in the Grishaverse. (Three of the six stories had previously been available and published online.)
The Lives of Saints
This illustrated volume, mentioned in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, collects some of the lives of Saints Alina Starkov might have read.
Shadow and Bone adapts the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology into one story. That is, whereas the Six of Crow books are set chronologically after the events of all three Shadow and Bone books, the show places all five books into the same timeline. As a result, the show differs significantly from the books. Currently, the series is only available on Netflix.