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Welcome to a list of books like Six of Crows. In these cities, promises pave the streets, leaders assemble ragtag crews, impossible heists become possible, and the ruling class doesn’t stand a chance. It is chaotic, thrilling, and we are all along for the ride.
Six of Crows: A Brief Summary
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was the start of a fantasy heist duology. A crew of damaged rogues work together to steal the impossible and save the world in the process. Between explosives, sleight of hand, magic, and brute force, our lovably deadly Crows break into an unbreakable ice prison and discover friendship along the way.
After walking through the world in the Shadow and Bone series, Bardugo was set to sprint through Ketterdam. Complex characters maneuver through brilliant political mechanicians in a novel with an impressive expansion of prior worldbuilding. When you finish the series, you need books like Six of Crows to fill the void. In short, you can have your waffles and eat them too.
Fans Flocking From Netflix
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As a reader, I have always adored the duology more than the Grisha trilogy. So, I was unsurprised to see fans flock to the books after seeing the Crows in Shadow and Bone, the hit Netflix TV show. Now that Netflix has confirmed season 2, viewers can expect to see more of the crows (and Milo the goat) in the future. As a holdover, I hope you enjoy these books like Six of Crows.
Selecting My Crew
I pulled mostly YA novels with a few adult novels thrown in to mix things up. I have always found the books straddle YA and NA. A list of books like Six of Crows had to be similarly mixed. Broken down by time period we have: Too Fantastical to Date, Medieval, Late Modern, and Dystopian Future. I couldn’t resist including a quote from the duology that applies to each of the books like Six of Crows. Without further fanfare, I hope you have a bunch of fun with these bastards outside the barrel.
Books Like Six of Crows Too Fantastical to Date
Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
“I’m going to excavate that pathetic excuse of a heart from your chest.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Child Abuse, Death of a Loved One, Torture, Animal Death
Crown Prince Lucien moonlights as a robin-hood-style thief and detests the very court that adores him. He cannot imagine he will find love during his upcoming season, that is until he meets Lady Zara. One problem: Zara isn’t a lady at all. She is a Heartless assassin who adopts the guise of a court lady so she can literally steal the prince’s heart. If she cannot, she will never get her heart back from the witch who turned her Heartless decades ago. We have swords, trickery, a lovely ensemble, and hilarious dialogue. So begins a trilogy filled with political intrigue, magic, and betrayal.
The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst
“She followed him anyway.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Animal Death
Five heroes came together to defeat the bone maker and free the people from his inhuman bone army…25 years ago. Four heroes survived the mission, but their leader, Kreya, is determined to resurrect her husband, the thief-turned hero, even if it means sacrificing her life and illegally using the bones of the dead. She is willing to reach out to her former team to collect the bones left on the abandoned battlefield. But on the five hero’s final journey, they might just discover the past is not quite settled, and they are still the heroes the kingdom needs. Between the aging heroes, breakneck journeys, and tragic backstories, who can say no.
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
“Better terrible truths than kind lies.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Racism, Animal Cruelty, Torture, Sexual Assault, Sexism and Misogyny, Abuse, Child Abuse
If you want to fulfill your dark academia anarchist fantasies, Ellorian and her friends at Verpax University might just fit the bill. After the Black Witch eliminated enemies for the benefit of the Gardnerians, everyone expects her granddaughter to be equally ruthless to outsiders. Instead, when Ellorian arrives, she befriends the children of her peoples’ enemies. As her education continues, she begins to realize there was more to the history she was taught and perhaps her future lies with misfits at the University who could overturn it all.
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
“The blood you spill is the blood of kings.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Misogyny, Death of a Loved One
A criminal mastermind turned revolutionary god-killer, a street urchin with untapped power, and a lovable cast of complicated thieves make for an impressive fantasy epic. Vin, a terrifying orphan, is involved in a plot to overthrow the god and ruler of the world with a band of professional thieves. Kelsier is the criminal mastermind behind it all, whose escape from the prison mines prompted the discovery of his alomancy. The magic is unique, the suspense is real, and the character development is top-notch.
Books Like Six of Crows: Medieval Edition
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
“Our crime is existing. Our crime is what we are.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Misogyny
In a medieval France–inspired city where witches are deadly, witch-hunting Chasseurs are all that stand between the public and madness. Lou is a bawdy thief desperate to leave her life as a witch behind her, but when one heist goes sideways, she must make an impossible choice between prison and marriage to a Chasseur. Captain Reid has dedicated his life to a life of celibate witch-hunting. That is until a public scene forces his hand, and marriage to a heathen is his last choice. She gains protection, he maintains his rank, but will their marriage of convenience develop into something more? For fans of Nina and Mattias, this is the book for you.
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Death of Loved One, Physical Abuse
It’s Feudal Japan and magic is everywhere. Yumeko loses everything when assassins attack the temple that raised her to hide her yokai nature as a half-Kitsune. Her mentor’s dying wish? She protects the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers and stops anyone from claiming the dragon’s wish. Kage is one samurai ordered to steal the scroll at any cost. Trained to use a demonic blade, he is up for the task. When Yumeko and Kage’s paths cross, they form a shaky alliance: she will lead him to the scroll and he will protect them both. Along the way, they collect a crew of allies that help them on their travels.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
“If I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together — knives drawn, pistols blazing.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Animal Abuse, Child Abuse, Sexual Assult
Gracelings born with extraordinary skills serve the kingdom in many ways, it just so happens that Katasa was Graced with killing. As the king’s niece, Katasa should enjoy nightly balls, instead, she threatens the king’s enemies in the dead of night. After years of service, she now leads a council determined to save the helpless, even if it crosses her king. In walks a confident Prince Po graced with combat, who may become an unexpected friend and ally. The book is a classic recommendation for a reason and I would not sleep on it.
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
“The law here is profit.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Abuse, Death of a Loved one, Non-Consensual Medical Procedures
Sancia lives in a world where merchant houses are laws unto themselves and the lawless unclaimed land between them is left to fester. She is a talented thief, but when she is given a job to steal a revolutionary magic object, she quickly realizes her only chance at survival involves leaning into the impossible and further risking her life. In a world where everything can become a commodity, is there any escape? She might have to tear it all down with the help of some friends made along the way. There may or may not be a talking key, rune magic, and a bisexual protagonist but you will have to read and see.
Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
“You can only sharpen a blade so far…In the end it comes down to the quality of the metal.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Sexism and Misogyny
Samurai, bandits, and an arranged marriage are served up on a platter with chaos mixed in. As the only daughter of a prominent samurai in feudal Japan, Mariko must cast aside her alchemy and battle cunning so she may marry her betrothed in the imperial palace. Luckily, on her way to the palace, the Black Clan attacks her retinue and she escapes to the forest. Disguised as a peasant boy, she infiltrates the Clan that attacked her to discover the source of the hit. Mariko never expected to be valued for her skills or find companions amongst her enemies. Now she must decide if revenge is more important than belonging.
Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Animal Death, Death of a Loved One
Before her father turned traitor and tried to assassinate the high king of Rime, Kate was a member of the nobility and in love with Prince Corwin. In the aftermath, she has been outcast and forced to use the skills that her father taught her to work for the royal courier service. You know what they say, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor nightdrakes will delay the post.” As a wilder, Kate was born with the forbidden magic to influence animal minds, allowing her to become one of the best couriers in the kingdom. But when Kate comes across Corwin amongst the remains of a massacred caravan, it is up to her to save his life. Together, they will fight to escape the wastes and reconcile their lingering attraction.
Late Modern Books Like Six of Crows
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
“You think they can’t kill each other with their bare hands?” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Abuse, Torture
Get ready for a Romeo and Juliet reimagining set in 1920s Shanghai during a bit of a monster crisis. Roma and Juliette are heirs to opposing gangs in the city whose blood feud is legendary. Four years ago they were lovers, but when their secret trysts were revealed, blood was shed on both sides and Juliette was sent to America. If foreigners and communists taking over the streets were not enough to deal with upon her return, people in the city have begun to claw their throats out too. Left with no other option, she must team up with Roma to get to the bottom of this madness infecting the city and the monster behind it all. If you are looking for quick-wit, concealed weapons, and the feeling of Ketterdam, this is the pick for you.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
“When fear arrives, something is about to happen.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Ableism, Child Abuse, Homophobia, Death of a Loved One, Abuse, Racism, Torture
In Paris 1889, the Order of Babel controls the magic to forge materials and minds in the city. A house of thieves stands between the aristocracy and complete control of the magical world. Séverin is on a mission to find a treasure that will unlock his inheritance, so he pulls together an unlikely crew to accomplish his goals. An expelled student who can forge metals, his brother who can forge plants, a dancer who can read objects, and a historian looking for a foot in the door. The Crow-level witty dialogue, achingly realistic character flaws, and an expertly planned heist are a sight to behold.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
“We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Sexual Assault, Torture, Abuse
Four Londons dropped to three when Black London was consumed by its magic. Borders were shut to stop the spread, and now only Antari, like Kell, can freely move between Red, White, and Gray Londons. Kell is an ambassador from Red London who monitors the cruel regime changes in White London and couriers letters to George III in the magicless Grey London. That does not stop him from his under-the-table work as a smuggler, but when he runs into the cut-purse Delilah Bard, he is forced to take her with him to Red London if he wants to reacquire his possessions. As his position at court becomes perilous, Kell must navigate the dangerous magic seeping into the corners of the city and save the world in the process.
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
“Doesn’t matter how big the gun is if you don’t know where to point it.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Child Abuse, Abuse
If you were looking for a dystopian Annie Get Your Gun, this is your best shot. After her mother’s death, Pity inherited her pair of six-shooters and the commune that controlled them. The glittering, lawless city of Cessation might just hold the key to her freedom when she finds her spotlight as a trick shooter on the stage. Cunning politicians, ruthless bounty hunters, and her relentless past might just call curtains on her chance at freedom, but her fellow performers will do anything to keep her safe, even if it means risking their lives. A book for all those missing Jesper’s trick shots.
Books Like Six of Crows Set In A Dystopian Future
The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
“When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Child Abandonment
After the Alien World War, western India’s Crate Town has grown into a precarious place with cargo containers filled with vendors, thieves, and everyone in-between. Ella, a teenage thief, con-artist, and smuggler, has grown up relying on herself, but during one mistaken encounter, she becomes Io’s chosen host. Now Ella and the low-ranking alien, Io, will work together to continue the operation Io’s last host failed to complete. With help from her mentor at the local boxing ring and Io’s experience, she might just be able to fight on humanity’s behalf, that is if she can survive the mission.
Spellhacker by M.K. England
“Sometimes scientific discoveries are like that.. Once people know something is possible, the pace of new findings increases.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warning: Death of a Loved One
A magic heist uncovers a hidden government conspiracy and four teens are at the center of it all. Diz and her friends use their talents with magic and hacking to siphon magic, or maz from Maz Management. With their time in high school coming to a close, this is set to be their last heist- that is, until a new strand of maz gets pulled into their score and they are all dragged into uncovering the real cause of the spellplague that killed thousands. Now they just have to save the world. If the fight over Jurda Parem was thrilling, the battle over maz will have you spellbound.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
“You’re weak because you’re afraid of people seeing your weakness.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Child Abuse, Racism, Sexism, and Misogyny
When the government received the oracle’s prophecy foretelling a chosen one who would save them all from a big bad, they got to work recruiting possible candidates from the civilian teen population. The chosen ones trained with magical items, developed combat skills, and worked together to finally defeat the big bad. But then they grew up. Being a twentysomething is hard enough without battle trauma and the certainty that you peeked in your teens. So, when they get pulled into a new dimension with a new big bad, they fall back into old patterns to defeat evil once more. But this time, they are in charge. Moral ambiguity creeps in as they begin to realize good and evil aren’t as easy to recognize this time around.
Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha
“There was no part of him that was not broken, that has not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Nonconsensual Medical Procedures, Emotional Abuse, Child Abuse
This romantic thriller involves a library heist in a post-apocalyptic future. A group of mercenary librarians wants to provide services like free books, food, and heat to their local community that currently lacks all three. So, when a band of ex–super soldiers offer them a job to steal books from the library of congress and split the profits, they can’t say no. A few small problems: the librarians are ex-experiments, someone has put a price on one of their heads, and the soldiers are setting them up. But on their epic road trip, the soldiers come to develop mutual respect for their marks and realize they might just have to protect the librarians at any cost.
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
“Being angry at Kaz for being ruthless is like being angry at a stove for being hot. You know what he is.” (Six of Crows)
Content Warnings: Nonconsensual Medical Procedures, Mention of Suicide, Mention of Animal Abuse, Cannibalism, Torture
Moral ambiguity is scattered amongst corpses and dissected limbs in this dystopian urban fantasy novel. Nita has always been her mother’s scapple. Her dear mother would hunt down supernatural beings, kill them, and Nita would dissect their corpses for black-market sale. One day, her mother delivers a live teenage boy instead of the usual, and it is too far, even for her. But when she frees him, he sells her to the supernatural black market in return. As a rare shapeshifter, she is valuable. Nita will have to become a real monster if she wants to escape intact. As an aside, there is a wonderful bit of aspec representation here.
Renegades By Marissa Marr
“We can endure all kinds of pain. It’s shame that eats men whole.” (Crooked Kingdom)
Content Warnings: Death of a Loved One, Animal Death
A villain sneaks into a superhero academy to destroy them from the inside. What could go wrong? In a world where superheroes act as a governing body, police force, and healthcare network, normal people no longer feel the need to get involved with leadership. Nova grew up amongst a group of scattered villains and learned to use her sleeplessness to fight against the hero’s rule. She never expected to meet heroes she could count on. Now she has to decide if she will betray her heroic friends or her family of villains.
What Next After These Books Like Six of Crows
In 2015, when I hopped off Leigh Bardugo’s thrilling series I was hungry for more, so I continued to reread the duology and pick up similar titles. These books like Six of Crows also explore the battle between darkness and light, desire to escape, new overcoming old, power and corruption, and will to survive. They might not be set on the streets of Ketterdam, but they will do in a pinch.
Say you need another set of read-alikes or targeted recommendations. TBR, Book Riot’s Tailored Book Recommendations Service is for you. TBR is a book recommendation service that pairs you with a qualified book nerd who finds specific-to-you book recommendations. So, whether they are books like Six of Crows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, or Gideon the Ninth, TBR will find the next book for you.