‘Shadow and Bone’: A series that you need to binge-watch

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Netflix

Season one of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone was released on April 23, 2021. The show follows follows an orphaned cartographer in a war-torn world where she unleashes a power that might be able to change the fate of her country.

Ioanna Tsompanellis, Staff Writer

As someone who enjoys books and watching TV, I personally love adaptations of the stories I read. It’s exciting to see a version of your favorite fictional characters you’ve imagined in your head being brought to life on screen. And while, in some adaptations, your expectations might end up being deceived, Shadow and Bone is an example of the exact opposite. 

Based on the fantasy adventure Grishaverse novels written by Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone follows orphaned cartographer Alina Starkov [Jessie Mei Li] in a war-torn world where she unleashes a power far beyond her comprehension that might just be the thing that could change the fate of her country. 

Okay, I’ll be honest. I pretty much watched this whole show in one sitting. If you end up watching it, you’ll see why. 

Shadow and Bone makes you feel like you can’t look away. Each scene captivates you and feels like it carries some sort of importance, even the filler scenes that are there for comic relief. Since I read the books beforehand, I knew what would happen, yet I still couldn’t tear my eyes away. 

I’d just take a second to talk about the details because WOW. From the costumes to the set, this show perfectly captured the way I pictured everything in my head while reading the books. Kudos to everyone involved in the production. 

I’ll admit that the show is a bit fast-paced for my taste, but to some people that might not be a bad thing. With there only being eight episodes, so much is happening at once it’s hard to keep track of events. 

Not everything about the show was how I envisioned it though. 

When I say that, I’m mostly talking about some of the characters and a few scenes from the book that weren’t featured. I know I might be sounding a bit nit-picky, but I still found myself disappointed when they altered a few things. I guess that’s what you have to expect while watching an adaptation. 

Nevertheless, there were a few changes that I didn’t mind.

But before I get into that— if you haven’t read the Grishaverse novels yet, I’ll give you a rundown. 

At the beginning of the series, we start with the Grisha trilogy which consists of Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. The trilogy follows Alina’s journey, as I explained a little before, and is the main focus of the Netflix series. 

Then we move onto the Six of Crows duology which consists of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. The duology revolves around criminal mastermind Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker [Freddy Carter] and his crew as they embark on a mission to pull off an impossible heist. 

And then there’s the King of Scars duology, but you don’t have to read that in order to gain some understanding of the show. 

Going back to the changes that I liked— the show decided to combine Shadow and Bone and elements of Six of Crows. The show uses the characters of Six and Crows and gives them their own plot within the TV series. 

At first, I was nervous about the combination of the two. I felt as though it might mess up some things, but I was proven wrong.  

The utter joy I felt when I saw the characters from each series interact was amazing. When I tell you I was freaking out, I was freaking out. The connection that was made between the two books in the show just made sense. And while yes, I still have a few questions about itin general, I think they were successful in merging the two storylines. 

But before I wrap this up, can I just say, Shadow and Bone managed to completely change my opinion of Mal Oretsev [Archie Renaux], who’s Alina’s childhood best friend. 

While reading the books, I hated him. Okay — maybe hate’s a strong word. Let’s say I had mixed feelings about him. The trilogy was from Alina’s point of view and because of that we obviously didn’t get to see things from his perspective. But in the show, we see much more of him without Alina’s narrative, we get to see what we didn’t in the books. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a few problems with the book version of Mal, but so far I love what they’re doing with his character on screen. 

I loved it, I really did. Despite this, some of the major plot points they chose to alter put me off and left me with some unanswered questions. I’d recommend you read the books and then watch the show for yourself. 

Other than that, I hope it gets picked up for another season. There’s just so many things I want to see happen from the second book. Hopefully, if there is a second season, they’re able to execute it as well as the first, or maybe even better.