Do you need to read the books before watching Shadow and Bone?

Whenever a new television comes out that’s based on a popular book series, especially a fantasy series, it can be daunting to go into the show blind without having any information about the universe beforehand. Shadow and Bone is the highly-anticipated adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy and many might be wondering whether you need to read the Grishaverse before watching the Netflix series.

The good news is, based on everything we’ve seen and heard, you don’t need to read the books at all before diving in! This makes sense because Netflix wouldn’t want to alienate potential viewers by making a series difficult to get into for those who haven’t had the chance to read the series yet.

You should be able to watch Shadow and Bone having never read any of Bardugo’s books, picking up the story as you go alone. The show already has rave reviews from critics and fans alike. It’s even been rated Certified Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes and currently sits at 92% approval with lots of praise for the way the show has handled its visuals, world building, female characters and introductions into the world.

Shadow and Bone: The books aren’t required reading, but you should still try them

That said, even though you don’t need to read the books beforehand, we strongly recommend picking them up to read later. They’re great novels regardless and there is a lot of lore to get into! So if you end up watching Shadow and Bone and binging the first season in the first weekend, it might be a good plan to borrow or purchase the novels so you can continue the story while we wait news on additional seasons.

The Grisha trilogy consist starts with Shadow and Bone and then continues with Siege of Storm and Ruin and Rising. Then there is the Six of Crows duology which focuses on different characters but is set in the same universe as the Grisha books. Following Six of Crows is the King of Scars duology, again also set in the Grishaverse continuity.

It’ll be interesting to see if Netflix plans to fold in these other novels and stories into their new series or if they might even be planning additonal spin-offs!

The first season of Shadow and Bone is now available to stream on Netflix.