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10 Books Like Shadow and Bone

Books Like Shadow and Bone

Have you ever found yourself captivated by a world where magic intertwines with ordinary life, where darkness threatens to consume everything, and where heroes rise against all odds? 

By the title, you must have known by now which book I am talking about. 

If you’re nodding along, eagerly searching for your next literary adventure after devouring Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone” series, then you’re in luck! 

Whether you’re craving more epic fantasy, daring adventures, or complex characters, these recommendations are sure to transport you to worlds beyond imagination. 

Let’s begin. 

Books Like Shadow and Bone

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

“Graceling” tells the story of Katsa, a young woman graced with the skill of killing, a talent she’s been forced to use in the service of her uncle, the king. As she begins to question her role and the use of her grace, Katsa embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads her to a new understanding of her powers and her world. 

Along the way, she meets Prince Po, who becomes an ally in her quest to uncover a sinister secret that lies at the heart of their kingdoms. 

The novel is celebrated for its strong character development, inventive world-building, and its exploration of themes of power, identity, and morality.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Shadow and Bone,” “Graceling” features a strong, young female protagonist who discovers her extraordinary abilities and faces the challenge of navigating a world filled with magic, political intrigue, and dark forces.

Both books are set in richly detailed fantasy worlds with a unique system of magic, and the journeys of both protagonists involve discovering the true extent of their powers and their potential to effect change in their societies.

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

In “Throne of Glass,” Celaena Sardothien, an 18-year-old assassin, is offered her freedom on the condition that she competes in a deadly competition to become the king’s champion. As she trains and competes, Celaena uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the very kingdom she’s fighting to serve. 

Alongside her personal journey, the novel weaves a tale of magic, mystery, and betrayal, set against the backdrop of a richly imagined fantasy world. The character dynamics, magical elements, and the fight against a tyrannical rule are central to the story’s appeal.

Major Similarities: 

Similar to “Shadow and Bone,” “Throne of Glass” centers on a strong female lead with a mysterious and powerful background. Both narratives involve elements of magic, a fight against dark forces, and the journey towards self-discovery and embracing one’s destiny. 

The series also shares a focus on complex character relationships and the protagonist’s evolution from a reluctant hero to a powerful leader.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses” is a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a world divided between mortals and faeries. Feyre Archeron, a mortal woman, is brought into the faerie lands as punishment for a crime she committed. 

As she adapts to her new life, she discovers that her captor’s estate and the wider faerie world are under threat from a powerful and malevolent force. 

The novel blends romance, fantasy, and adventure, exploring themes of love, sacrifice, and the struggle between light and dark.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Shadow and Bone” and “A Court of Thorns and Roses” feature young female protagonists who find themselves in a world of magic and danger, far from the life they once knew. 

The stories are built upon a foundation of high fantasy and romance, with a significant emphasis on the development of the protagonist’s powers and the moral complexities they face. The evolving relationships and the protagonists’ battles against dark forces are central to both narratives.

4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

“The Bone Season” introduces us to a dystopian future in London, where clairvoyants are persecuted by a totalitarian government. The protagonist, Paige Mahoney, works in the criminal underworld as a dreamwalker, one of the rarest forms of clairvoyant. 

Her life takes a dramatic turn when she is captured and taken to Oxford, a city kept secret for two hundred years, where she discovers the existence of an otherworldly race and her unique destiny within the world’s fate. 

The novel is rich in fantasy elements, with a complex social hierarchy and rebellion themes.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Shadow and Bone,” “The Bone Season” features a young female protagonist with rare and powerful abilities that set her apart in a world filled with conflict and supernatural elements. 

Both books explore themes of destiny, the struggle against oppressive forces, and the journey of self-discovery within a fantastically complex world. 

The protagonists must navigate a path fraught with danger and political intrigue, growing stronger and more adept at using their powers along the way.

5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

“The Young Elites” is set in a fantasy world where a blood fever has left some survivors with mysterious and powerful gifts. 

Adelina Amouteru is one of these survivors, known as the Young Elites, who possesses dark abilities that frighten and fascinate. 

As she grapples with her powers and the trauma of her past, Adelina finds herself drawn into a group of other gifted survivors who seek to use their powers to change the world. 

The novel explores themes of power, corruption, and the fine line between heroism and villainy.

Major Similarities: 

“The Young Elites” shares with “Shadow and Bone” a dark and intricate fantasy world where young protagonists discover they possess extraordinary powers. 

Both stories delve into the complexities of wielding such power, the consequences of their use, and the characters’ internal battles between darkness and light. 

The themes of belonging, identity, and the impact of power on the self and the world are central to both narratives, as is the journey from isolation to pivotal roles in their respective worlds’ fates.

6. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

“Seraphina” takes place in a world where dragons can take human form and live among humans, albeit with tension and mistrust simmering between the two races. 

Seraphina Dombegh, who harbors a dangerous secret about her own heritage, becomes embroiled in a plot that threatens the fragile peace between humans and dragons. 

As a gifted musician and an unlikely mediator, Seraphina must navigate the complexities of court intrigue, racial tension, and her own identity to prevent war. 

The novel is praised for its unique take on dragons, its complex protagonist, and its exploration of themes such as acceptance and the fear of the other.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Shadow and Bone,” “Seraphina” features a fantasy world rich with political intrigue and a young protagonist who possesses unique abilities that set her apart. 

Both novels explore themes of identity, belonging, and the struggle to understand one’s place in a world marked by division and conflict. 

The emphasis on a young woman grappling with secrets about her powers and heritage, while playing a crucial role in the fate of her world, mirrors the journey of Alina in “Shadow and Bone.”

7. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights,” “The Wrath & the Dawn” is a tale of love, revenge, and mystery. 

Shahrzad volunteers to marry the Caliph of Khorasan, a ruler rumored to murder his new bride each dawn. However, Shahrzad plans to survive and exact revenge for the death of her best friend, one of his previous victims. As she weaves stories to prolong her life, she discovers the truth behind the murders and finds herself falling in love with the very man she intended to kill. 

The novel is noted for its lush prose, complex characters, and the blending of fantasy elements with a romantic and suspenseful storyline.

Major Similarities: 

Both “Shadow and Bone” and “The Wrath & the Dawn” feature strong, resourceful female protagonists who find themselves entangled in dangerous, politically fraught situations far beyond what they initially understand. 

Both stories weave together elements of magic, mystery, and romance, set against a backdrop of a beautifully rendered fantasy world. 

The themes of love, revenge, and the quest for justice drive the narratives, as the heroines navigate their complex relationships and the dark secrets that shape their destinies.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” follows Karou, a blue-haired art student in Prague who is also involved in the collection of teeth for a demon who raised her. 

Her quest for answers about her own mysterious past leads her into the heart of a war between angels and demons. The novel blends urban fantasy with mythological elements, creating a story that is both otherworldly and grounded in the emotional realities of its characters. 

Taylor’s lyrical writing, imaginative world-building, and the exploration of themes such as identity, belonging, and the nature of good and evil have been widely praised.

Major Similarities: 

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” and “Shadow and Bone” share a fascination with the boundaries between worlds and the complexities of light versus dark. 

Both feature young women who are caught between opposing forces in a supernatural conflict, with their unique abilities and hidden heritage playing key roles in the unfolding drama. 

The blend of a richly imagined fantasy setting with a deeply personal journey of discovery and the exploration of themes related to identity and destiny resonate strongly between the two.

9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Set in a brutal, Rome-like fantasy world, “An Ember in the Ashes” tells the story of Laia, a slave fighting for her family, and Elias, a soldier fighting for his freedom. 

Their paths intersect in the oppressive Martial Empire, where defiance against the empire’s strict laws is met with death. 

As Laia and Elias are drawn together, they must navigate a world of treachery and cruel machinations, with the fate of their world hanging in the balance. 

The novel is celebrated for its gripping plot, complex characters, and the exploration of themes such as resistance, freedom, and the cost of loyalty.

Major Similarities: 

Like “Shadow and Bone,” “An Ember in the Ashes” features a world teetering on the brink of upheaval, where young protagonists must confront their destinies in the midst of oppressive regimes and ancient, magical forces. 

Both novels explore themes of power, resistance, and the journey of coming into one’s own abilities and moral compass in a world fraught with danger and betrayal. 

The emphasis on a gritty, realistic approach to fantasy and the moral complexities faced by the characters create a similar tone and depth.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince” delves into the dark and intricate world of Faerie, where human Jude and her two sisters have been living since they were children, kidnapped to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. 

Despite her mortality, Jude wants nothing more than to belong and to be a knight, but to win a place at the Court, she must defy Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. 

The novel weaves a tale of intrigue, power struggles, and ambition, with a sharp focus on Jude’s determination to prove herself in a world that despises humans. 

Holly Black’s mastery of faerie lore and her ability to craft complex, morally ambiguous characters have made this book a standout in young adult fantasy.

Major Similarities: 

“The Cruel Prince” and “Shadow and Bone” both immerse readers in a beautifully detailed, magical world where political intrigue and personal ambition intersect. Both feature strong, determined female protagonists who are forced to navigate a world that is at once enchanting and deadly. 

The themes of power, belonging, and survival in a hostile environment where magic plays a central role are prevalent in both narratives. 

Additionally, the complex relationships, particularly with characters who are morally grey, add a rich layer of depth to the stories, making them compelling reads for fans of character-driven fantasy.

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