After You Read Shadow and Bone, Check Out These 17 Epic and Magical Novels, Too
Whether you've been a fan of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone for years, or you're just joining in with the Netflix adaptation, there's plenty to love about the YA fantasy epic. Even better: there are plenty of other magical books that you can dive into as soon as you're ready! Whatever elements of Shadow and Bone are your favorites — the world-building, the magic, the epic battles, the romance — we've picked some of our favorite books that will hit those same notes every time. From Russian fairytales to modern-day legends to alternate realities and more, here are some of the best books to read if you want more of the same feelings Shadow and Bone conjured up.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Fans of Shadow and Bone — and its companion series Six of Crows — will find a lot to love in V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is a Traveler, a rare magician who can travel between four parallel (but very different) worlds. Officially, he's a prince and ambassador for Red London, a place imbued with magic and ruled by an empire. Unofficially, though, he's a smuggler who doesn't discern much about his clientele — until a street thief gets the better of him and makes him her unwilling ferryman between worlds.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Like Shadow and Bone, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao centers on a young woman with incredible powers and a dangerous path forward. Xifeng grows up as a peasant girl, but her aunt, a powerful witch, promises that she's destined to be an empress — but only if she embraces the dark magic that flows through her. It's up to her Xifeng to decide what she really wants to do: live her quiet life with the boy who loves her, or embrace a cruel magic that could make her the most powerful woman in the empire?
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
The epic feel and imperial politics of Shadow and Bone get a different twist in Mirage by Somaiya Daud. Amani is an ordinary girl living under the reign of a brutal empire and dreaming of a better life. Adventure does come for her, but not how she'd hoped: she's kidnapped by the regime and forced to become a body double for the despised princess. As Amani gets deeper and deeper into the empire's intrigues, she realizes that posing as the princess is actually the least dangerous part of her new life.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
If the idea of a King Arthur-esque fantasy novel with a Southern Black teenage girl at the center sounds like your kind of book, be sure to pick up Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. Bree just wants to try to get back to a normal life after her mother's sudden death in an accident, but instead, she uncovers a mysterious society of students with magical gifts, a mage who tries to wipe her memories, and her own long-repressed powers that may be connected to the ancient legends of King Arthur and the knights of Camelot.
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
One of the new kids on the YA fantasy block, Victoria Aveyard's Realm Breaker covers some of the same territory as Shadow and Bone: a magical land, a darkness held barely at bay, and a girl who is hailed as the last hope to contain it. Fans who are excited about Netflix's Shadow and Bone adaptation including elements from Six of Crows will be particularly into this book, with its ragtag band of misfits and criminals, all hiding secrets of their own.
Out May 4
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Enjoy Shadow and Bone's dark magic and complicated emotions? You'll definitely like Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. The story centers on Louise, a young witch who fled her coven to hide in a city, where she must hide her magic or risk death. When strange circumstances force her into a marriage to a notorious witch-hunter, two natural enemies are stuck with each other and have to decide what matters more: what they've been taught, or what they feel now.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
In The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh puts a new spin on the legend of Scheherazade. Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid, the young Caliph who has executed each of his wives after just one day, in order to get revenge for the death of her friend. The longer she stays alive and gets closer to Khalid, though, the more she learns about the truth behind the apparent murders. With a rich world of Middle Eastern culture and an angst-filled love story, it's the perfect epic for your next read.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
If the criminal underworld elements are what you're most excited about from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, then you should definitely be reading The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. Nahri is a young con woman who knows the streets of 18th-century Cairo better than anyone. When she accidentally summons a djinn, Dara, during one of her cons, though, everything gets thrown into chaos. She's forced to go on the run with Dara, and they head for the legendary city of brass: a city steeped in legend and magic — with an ancient war ready to spark into a flame.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Fans of epic fantasy and rebellions against empires can't miss Claire Legrand's Furyborn. A thousand years ago, a young woman called Rielle undergoes seven dangerous trials to prove her worth to be a prophesied queen. Now, a bounty hunter joins a rebellion against the empire to investigate her mother's death and, in the process, discovers just how much her own story intersects with the queen of legend.
Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera
Infinity Reaper, the second in Adam Silvera's Infinity Cycle, will satisfy Shadow and Bone fans looking for more stories of epic wars, persecuted magicians, and angsty romance. Emil is desperate to find a cure for his brother Brighton and rid himself of his own unwanted powers, while the vigilante magicians, the Spell Walkers, are being slowly fractured from within their own community. As the politics of their world continue to shift, Emil, Brighton, and those around them are pulled further and further into a war that has much more beneath the surface than any of them knew.
On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig
Heidi Heilig's On This Unworthy Scaffold is one of the year's most-anticipated fantasy titles, and we think Shadow and Bone fans will be first in line. The final entry in the Shadow Players trilogy follows Jetta, a young woman with the magic to either save her war-torn country or destroy it. As an evil necromancer takes control, Jetta struggles and weakens, while her allies try to infiltrate the palace and put an end to evil's reign forever.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik's Uprooted is one of the most obvious choices for Shadow and Bone fans, sharing several of the same story elements. Agnieszka lives in a village near the edge of a magical, corrupted Wood, whose power is reputedly kept at bay solely by the magic of a wizard called the Dragon. The Dragon takes as payment only one thing: a young woman chosen to serve him for ten years without question. As the next Choosing approaches, Agnieszka fears that her best friend Kasia will be chosen — so she makes a choice to go instead, changing her own fate and that of her entire land.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Out of all of Cassandra Clare's "Shadowhunter" books, Clockwork Angel, the first book of The Infernal Devices trilogy, is one of the most intriguing. Set in a magical Victorian London, the book follows a young woman, Tessa, who discovers her connection to the Shadow World. When her brother goes missing, she enlists the help of two Shadowhunter boys: the sarcastic, secret-keeping Will, and the gentle, thoughtful Jem, learning the truth about herself in the process. Fans of Shadow and Bone will appreciate the book's aesthetic as much as its compelling love triangle and intriguing female lead.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Shadow and Bone readers will appreciate the Russian-tinged fantasy world of Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale. It starts, as many fairy tales do, with a wicked stepmother. When Vasya's father remarries, her new stepmother disdains their traditions and forbids their household — and, eventually, their village — from honoring the spirits. When the spirits rebel, so does Vasya, calling upon her long-hidden powers to try to save her family from the dangers that have been unleashed.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
If you prefer the charming-thieves premise of Six of Crows over the more traditional Shadow and Bone epic, then you might like Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson. When his father dies, Jase becomes the head of an outlaw empire, which is being targeted by a young queen bent on reform. She sends Kazi, a former street thief, to infiltrate and investigate Jase's empire, but Jase and Kazi soon discover they have more in common than they thought — even as they continue to fight for the causes they still believe in.
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
For another Russian-influenced epic fantasy, look no further than Evelyn Skye's The Crown's Game. In Imperial Russia, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter at his side to face down invaders that threaten the empire. He declares a "Crown's Game": a competition between the only two enchanters in Russia to determine who will become his advisor and who will die defeated. Small-town girl Vika and orphan boy Nikolai are inevitably pitted against each other, both with a desperate need to win, but the growing feelings between them force them both into unwinnable choices.
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
In Deathless, Catherynee M. Valente puts a fresh spin on a piece of Russian folklore: Koschei the Deathless, a wicked, immortal figure of magic. In Valente's retelling, Koschei's bride Marya takes center stage. Marya starts out as a child of the Bolshevik revolution, before being wed to Koschei and, eventually, becoming the source of his great downfall. It's a quirky, fantastical blend of real history and centuries-old folklore that positions a seemingly ordinary young woman as the linchpin of everything.