Reading the Shadow and Bone books? Don’t start with the first one

In the event you binge-watched Netflix’s Shadow and Bone this weekend and also you’ve by no means learn the Leigh Bardugo books it was based mostly on, you is perhaps eager about attempting the principle trilogy the present adapts.

Right here’s some unsolicited recommendation: don’t begin with the primary novel, Shadow and Bone.

However wait, you may ask your self, is that not the e-book that the present relies on? Isn’t it the primary e-book of the sequence? The one which units the stage for all the pieces else? The one which introduces the Grisha, Solar Summoner Alina Starkov, and the swath of sentient darkness that tears Ravka in half?

Effectively, sure. However you understand how some Star Wars followers suggest a non-intuitive order to look at the films? I’m about to recommend an identical technique for diving into the Grishaverse books. It isn’t a very controversial methodology, by any means, however for these unfamiliar with the books, I’m right here to be your Grisha information.

And with that: Begin with Six of Crows.

jesper, inej, and kaz, along with an older woman, in shadows

Picture: Netflix

Six of Crows is the primary e-book in Bardugo’s spin-off duology. It focuses on a band of criminals led by the crafty Kaz Brekker, as they pull off a grand heist. The duology takes place two years after the occasions of the primary trilogy, however the first e-book doesn’t actually include any spoilers for what occurs to Shadow and Bone’s Alina, the Darkling, and the remainder of the Ravka crew. I’ve no arduous empirical information on this, however I might hazard a guess that Six of Crows is extra fashionable than the principle trilogy. Why else would the Crows characters be roped into the present, despite the fact that they don’t canonically seem within the first books?

Newbies beginning to learn the sequence with Six of Crows after watching the present received’t be misplaced, since out of the six “Crows,” 5 of them — Kaz, his right-hand knife-wielding spy Inej, sharpshooter Jesper, Ravkan spy Nina, and Fjerdan soldier (and hunter of Grisha) Matthias — appeared in season 1 of the TV sequence. Their characters will make extra sense within the present with the background of the e-book, and the prospect to see their future adventures within the current books makes their storyline within the sequence extra fascinating. Moreover, Six of Crows steps out into the world past Ravka. Shadow and Bone is primarily involved with Ravkan politics and what it means to be a Grisha, which is fascinating by itself, however Six of Crows expands on the universe, and Bardugo’s worldbuilding will get an opportunity to shine.

However beginning with Six of Crows additionally is sensible as a result of the Crows duology is simply objectively higher writing. Shadow and Bone has all the trimmings of a debut novel. The primary-person perspective does the opposite characters a disservice, and it follows a typical Chosen One setup. Even Bardugo admits there are issues she needs she’d completed in a different way, like together with extra character range and fleshing out Mal’s character. The principle trilogy will get higher with every subsequent e-book, as Bardugo grows into her personal world’s potential. However if you wish to be pulled in from the get-go, Six of Crows is the way in which to go.

nina and matthias in the snow

Picture: Attila Szvacsek/Netflix

My beneficial order — even in the event you haven’t watched the present — is to begin with Six of Crows, which aptly entices readers into a brand new world, and has a solid of vivid, dynamic characters. Six of Crows does, admittedly, finish on a cliffhanger, however the stakes it units up will make the battle in the principle sequence even richer.

If you’re curious sufficient, it’s best to then swap to the principle trilogy (Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Spoil and Rising), because the second Crows e-book, Crooked Kingdom, comprises some spoilers for the large central Grishaverse plot, and a few appearances from characters who seem within the first trilogy. Then transfer to Crooked Kingdom. After that, you possibly can dive into the sequel sequence (King of Scars and the newly launched Rule of Wolves) which pulls in Nina, Squaller Zoya Navalyskey, and yet-to-be-introduced-in-the-show Prince Nikolai Lanstov (my favourite character within the franchise) as they deal with the aftermath of the turmoil in Ravka.

The Grishaverse books are an thrilling fantasy sequence that ushered in a complete wave of high-fantasy YA which steps exterior of the everyday medieval England settings. In the event you haven’t paid a lot consideration to the young-adult style because it stopped dominating tradition with sequence just like the Twilight and Starvation Video games novels, you might not understand the affect that Bardugo’s sequence has had on the style since then. The world is wealthy, however the dynamic characters are what seize followers’ hearts. The Netflix sequence achieves the grand feat of adapting the sequence whereas caters to followers of the books first, sprinkling in little particulars, and hinting on the world past the primary story. Studying the books will increase the expertise of watching the present — and put together you for doable upcoming adventures in additional seasons.

Shadow and Bone is streaming on Netflix.

Jobber Wiki creator Frank Lengthy added to this report.