Shadow and Bone: do Kaz and Inej kiss in the books?

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Netflix TV show Shadow and Bone returned with Season 2 in March 2023, triggering again tons of questions about every character appearing in the series. Mal and Alina are back together, fighting the power of The Darkling, and their relationship has evolved since the first episode when they finally kiss for the first time. But there is also curiosity about two other characters in the series: Kaz and Inej, whose relationship leaves many questions about how the books follow their story. Do they ever kiss in the book series written by Leigh Bardugo? Let’s find out.

You can watch the official trailer for Shadow and Bone season 2 here on Youtube.

Shadow and Bone: do Kaz and Inej kiss in the books?

First, let’s raise an essential aspect of how Netflix adapted the book series written by Leigh Bardugo in Shadow and Bone: referring just to the books, Shadow and Bone is a trilogy made of three novels, Shadow and Bone (2012), Siege and Storm (2013), and Ruin and Rising (2014). In these books, you can follow the adventures of Alina, The Darkling, and Mal, but there is no trace of Kaz, Inej, and Jesper in this trilogy: Kaz and Inej are introduced by the books written by Bardugo after the first trilogy, the so-called Six of Crows duology, which includes Six of Crows (2015) and Crooked Kingdom (2016).

So the question becomes: do Kaz and Inej ever kiss in the books Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom? Well, as you can imagine, things evolve very slowly from a romantic point of view in the books of the Grishaverse, and Kaz and Inej make no exception (which is also why many people expressed their veto over the possibility of a kiss in the story). There is undoubtedly attraction between them, but to give you the answer you wish, Kaz and Inej never kiss on the lips in the book series of the Shadow and Bone universe.

Nevertheless, there is a key chapter in Crooked Kingdom which became famous as the moment Kaz and Inej had their first romantic contact. It’s chapter 26: they talk in a “lavish, white-and-gold bathroom,” Inej is wounded, and she’s bleeding through her bandages, so she lets Kaz help her. It’s a particularly romantic moment, where the book explains Kaz’s feelings while he takes care of Inej’s body.

Very slowly, the scene moves to the moment Kaz replaces the bandages on Inej’s shoulder. He’s inebriated by the vision of Inej’s skin and the smell of roses around him. After he finishes with the bandages, he’s supposed to step back, but he doesn’t. The rest is described in these beautiful lines, which we leave here below, as a glimpse of Leigh Bardugo’s writing talent:

He secured the knot. Step back. He did not step back. He stood there, hearing his own breath, hers, the rhythm of them alone in this room.


He was sick and frightened, his body slick with sweat, but he was here. He watched that pulse, the evidence of her heart, matching his own beat for anxious beat. He saw the damp curve of her neck, the gleam of her brown skin. He wanted to … He wanted.

Before he even knew what he intended, he lowered his head. She drew in a sharp breath. His lips hovered just above the warm juncture between her shoulder and the column of her neck. He waited. Tell me to stop. Push me away.

She exhaled. “Go on,” she repeated. Finish the story.

The barest movement and his lips brushed her skin—warm, smooth, beaded with moisture. Desire coursed through him, a thousand images he’d hoarded, barely let himself imagine—the fall of her dark hair freed from its braid, his hand fitted to the lithe curve of her waist, her lips parted, whispering his name.

All of it there and then gone. He was drowning in the harbor. Her limbs were a corpse’s limbs. Her eyes were dead and staring. Disgust and longing roiled in his gut…

After that, Kaz’s memories emerge from the past, and that moment’s beauty is suddenly broken. But that’s the famous moment in the book Crooked Kingdom where Kaz kisses Inej’s shoulder.

There won’t be more intimacy than this in the story told by Leigh Bardugo, and since Kaz and Inej’s stories stop after Crooked Kingdom, so far, there is no real kiss between them. But you know, the future is unpredictable.

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