Last Updated on September 17, 2020Leigh Bardugo is a bestselling author of several young-adult fantasy series, including the Grisha trilogy, Six of Crowns duology, and her newer Nikolai and Alex Stern series.
Her debut novel, Shadow and Bone, was picked up by Macmillan Publishing and was turned into a trilogy ordered by the publisher. Her initial trilogy based on the debut novel has sold so far in over 22 countries, translated into 38 languages.
Here are the Leigh Bardugo books in order of reading and publication order. Do note that all the books by the author – except for the latest adult series – take place in the Grisha universe (also called the Grishaverse). To get into the Grishaverse, you should start with the initial prequel short stories, followed by the original Grisha trilogy.
New Leigh Bardugo Book
Grisha Prequel Short Stories
part of the Grishaverse
- The Demon in the Wood, 2015
- The Witch of Duva, 2012 (included in The Language of Thorns anthology)
- The Too-Clever Fox, 2013 (included in The Language of Thorns anthology)
- Little Knife, 2014 (included in The Language of Thorns anthology)
Grisha / Shadow and Bone Trilogy
part of the Grishaverse
Six of Crows Duology
part of the Grishaverse
part of the Grishaverse
- King of Scars, 2019
Alex Stern Series
a dark fantasy series for adults set at Yale focusing on secret societies that the elites at East Coast are involved in
- Ninth House, 2019
Other Leigh Bardugo Books
- The Language of Thorns, 2017 (short story collection set in Grishaverse)
- Wonder Woman: Warbringer, 2017 (DC Icons story)
- The Lives of Saints, 2020 (illustrated short story collection in the Grishaverse)
Leigh Bardugo Biography
Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1975. Soon she moved to the US, to Los Angeles, where she grew up living with her grandparents. The author always wanted to write, and her aspiration led her to join Yale University to earn a degree in English, from where she graduated in 1997.
While she was working on her first book, to pay her bills, she took on several jobs, including journalism, copywriting, as well as a Hollywood artist for make-up and special effects. After writing her first book, Shadow & Bone, she tried to send it to various agents, but, although YA novels were popular, it was a difficult market. She got numerous rejection letters, but she persevered. Eventually, an agent found her book interesting and soon it was sold to Macmillan Publishing, which immediately organized a 3-book deal. This was in 2010. In 2012, the book was released, and it immediately jumped to the first positions in the New York Times Bestseller list.
Over the years, the various Leigh Bardugo books in her book series have sold over 2.5 million copies all over the world in English language only. In 2012 and 2015 the books earned the author the RT Reviewers Choice Awards, and they were featured as impressive by many reviewers.
Since 2012, when Shadow & Bone was published, the novelist wrote and got published at least one novel every year. The way she writes her drafts, she first outlines everything for each novel she creates. She writes all the ideas she will put in the book on one page, and then she begins to flesh out the novel by writing the scenes and developing the characters of the story.
While she was working on her Ravkan language for the Grisha trilogy, she had help from and was consulting with David Peterson, who also helped to create the Dothraki language for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Over time, she has also written several short stories for places like Tor.com. She also collected her own folktales and fairytales in her own book titled The Language of Thorns, published in 2017, which are also loosely based on the Grishaverse, although the author admits that the tales in the collection are mostly what the main characters of her books would have read as kids.
The Grisha trilogy is set in a czarist Russia-modeled world, where people have the power to shape matter from birth. Alina Starkov believes she was born with no such powers until something happens that brings her dormant abilities to life. The Six of Crows duology, while it’s based on the same Grisha world, follows six teens who are following Kaz Brekker and taking them on a dangerous path – that of a heist with dire consequences. Her Grishaverse book list should be read in the proper chronological order if possible.
The author is suffering from a chronic degenerative condition called osteonecrosis which makes walking for her quite painful, and it’s interesting to see that her main character in the duology, Kaz, also suffers from it. The author first learned about her condition when she was in her 20s. While she is not always using a walking stick, she has been seen around with one at times, and as time passes and the condition worsens, a walking cane will be a must.
As an interesting note, Netflix has greenlit both Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows for an eight-episode first season series, to which the author will serve as an executive producer along with alongside Pouya Shahbazian (who helped produce the Divergent trilogy). The series will be created, written, and produced by Eric Heisserer. Heisserer is known for writing The Arrival for 21 Laps Entertainment, a company known for the popular young-adult fantasy TV series Stranger Things, among others. Shadow and Bone is the author’s main fantasy series, while Six of Crows is a duology set in the same Grishaverse universe.
The only two works so far that are not part of the Grishaverse are the Wonderwoman book and Ninth House, the first in the new Alex Stern adult series. Wonder Woman Warbringer is the first book in the DC Icons series (Sarah J. Maas wrote the third book in the series, Catwoman: Soulstealer). The author’s research for Wonderwoman took her to learn more about Ancient Greek religious practices, as well as the mystery around Helen of Troy. Wonderwoman, aka princess Diana (no, not that princess Diana) is still young, living on the secluded island where she has to prove herself of a worthy warrior. When she stops to save a mortal girl, Alia, things change forever for both of them.
When she is not writing, Leigh Bardugo can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic, although lately not as much as before since the members of the band all have grown up and are dealing with their own personal lives that limit their artistry time together.
Praise for Leigh Bardugo
Lushly designed and wonderfully rendered … Bardugo doesn’t twist familiar tales so much as rip them open. (Booklist)
Mesmerizing. . . . Bardugo’s set up is shiver-inducing, of the delicious variety. This is what fantasy is for (NYT Books Review)
Danger and duplicity abound . . . in this lavish portrayal of a country reminiscent of Imperial Russia. (VOYA)
A heady blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure. (Rick Riordan on Siege and Storm)
Rich, satisfying, and gorgeous, laced with heart-pounding action and pitch-perfect romance. (Cinda Williams Chima)
Shadow and Bone” was unlike anything I’ve ever read. Alina is a clever, sympathetic character I will gladly follow into the next installment–which can’t come soon enough! (Veronica Roth)