Whether they heard of the show or the book series first, it’s safe to say that everyone is a Shadow and Bone fan these days. But what makes it so appealing? Is it the story? The relationships? The twists on familiar tropes? Try all of the above! Here are a few book recommendations for you in the same realm based on if your favorite part of Shadow and Bone was…
The power dynamics of Alina and the Darkling
Look, we all know this was not a healthy relationship. However, seeing Alina break free of the Darkling’s hold is oh-so-satisfying, and plot tropes like this aren’t difficult to find in science-fiction and fantasy.
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Marya Morevna first witnesses magic as a young girl when birds transform into men and whisk her sisters away. Hoping that her day will come too, she befriends the creatures living under her house and the strange old woman next door. On the eve of war, a handsome young man arrives at her door. He is Koschei the Deathless, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya’s destiny. Locked in an eternal battle with his brother, he sweeps Marya away to become his bride.
While Marya enters his world willingly, Koschei is cruel, giving as much to Marya as he takes away. While he says he’s devoted to her, he also wants to rule her, taking her voice and eventually her will. As we follow Marya from childhood to middle-age, however, it becomes clear that she isn’t going to just follow Koschei; instead, like Alina, she takes control of her life and frees herself of her captor’s hold.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
“Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.”
For Jude, life among the faeries is cruel and full of danger, but it’s all she knows. She hates the weakness that comes from her mortality. No matter what, she’ll never be as strong, fast or gifted as those around her. She hates the faeries she lives among, especially the cruel Prince Cardan. Still, if she is to become powerful, she must befriend Cardan while plotting to take him down.
The Cruel Prince puts a different spin on the villainous character than Shadow and Bone does, and Jude is far more conniving than Alina. Her spars with Cardan — both verbal and literal — are captivating, and she is more than willing to show him who’s in charge. This is a book full of court intrigue, bloodshed and a relationship between two people shaped by the cruelty of others.
While they don’t appear in the Shadow and Bone book, the Crows stood out as fan favorites in the show. Everyone loves a good heist story, especially when the team is as charming and morally grey as Kaz and the gang.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
“To us — richer and cleverer than everyone else!”
As the leader of a gang of thieves and crooks known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke Lamora is infamous in the island city of Camorr. His story begins with the crew attempting their biggest heist yet. With both the newly-arrived Gray King and the Spider’s secret police hunting them down, the Gentleman Bastards find themselves involved in something much more dangerous than they’d ever expected.
Locke is Kaz Brekker aged-up, with a sense of humor and a sailor’s colorful vocabulary. As for the crew, each has their own specialty, and their relationships with each other are at the heart of the book.
Publisher Erewhon Books describes The All-Consuming World with the following:
“A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade… but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet.”
This one doesn’t come out until June 22 and I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but the queer, female crew of criminals on a treasure hunt has me very excited for space-based heists.
The Chosen One Narrative
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Sometimes people embrace Chosen Ones because of their skills; other times, they’re feared. Like Shadow and Bone’s Alina, Tea of The Bone Witch has a strange and obscure power. She’s a necromancer, something she discovers after accidentally resurrecting her newly dead brother at his funeral. Taken in by an older bone witch and brought to another land, Tea learns to wield elemental magic. Magic comes at a cost, however, and dark forces are gathering.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
We’re throwing it back to one of child me’s favorites. Eragon is a classic tale of fantasy and adventure from all the way back in the year 2002.
Eragon is a farm-boy plucked from obscurity after he finds what turns out to be a dragon egg. When the egg hatches, he must embrace his destiny as one of the last dragon riders. Together, Eragon and Saphira travel the land, embracing their responsibilities as protectors of the weak and the only ones who can defeat the powerful tyrant Galbatorix. Like Alina, Eragon teams up with a band of friends and allies to take on great evil using a special power only he’s been given.
What was your favorite part of Shadow and Bone? Let us know below! Keep an eye out for more read-alikes for your favorite movies and shows (coming soon)!
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