Review: ‘Shadow and Bone’ debuts as captivating show


Amanda Hare

Next to the book series, the “Shadow and Bone” logo plays in the new TV series on Netflix. The show is based on the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy and “Six of Crows” duology by Leigh Bardugo. The show debuted on Netflix on Friday, April 23.

Morgan Reese and Amanda Hare

Writer’s note: This review will be spoiler-free until the spoiler warning.

When I heard my favorite book series was getting turned into a TV show, I was skeptical. TV adaptations of book series have a history of disappointment and inaccuracy, and I didn’t want my favorite series to be ruined.

To my surprise, however, the series was amazing and did the books justice.

Last Friday, April 23, a new TV show called “Shadow and Bone” debuted on Netflix based on the Grishaverse book series. The show is based on a blend of the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy and “Six of Crows” duology, both of which are written by Leigh Bardugo.

Despite my previous concerns, I absolutely loved the show. I was originally worried about how the two storylines would blend together, since “Six of Crows” is a spin-off of “Shadow and Bone” and occurs in the same universe, just at a later time. However, the two storylines were integrated so well, and I was pleasantly surprised by the way it was done. They decided to follow the “Shadow and Bone” storyline and just give the “Six of Crows” main characters a new storyline that integrates into it. I loved the “Six of Crows” storyline in the book, and I am sad I wasn’t able to see it on the screen, but, I was satisfied with what it ended up being.

A part of the show I appreciated was that it had a nice mix of being serious and funny. The storyline was as serious as it should be, however, there were nice pockets of humor to keep things light.

It was also so nice to see and hear some of my favorite quotes from the series. Some quotes gave me chills to hear, especially when I already knew them from the books.

It sucked me in and I couldn’t stop watching until I had finished the whole season.  A season two of the show is already in the works, and I can’t wait to see how great it will be.

— Amanda Hare

I was initially a bit skeptical about the casting. I already had a firm image of the characters from the books, but I was blown away by the actors’ performances. One character I was particularly concerned about was Nina Zenik, played by Danielle Galligan. When I first saw her in the cast introduction video, she didn’t seem like she would be able to uphold Nina’s reputation of sass and her fiery personality. I was pleasantly surprised by her performance and found myself watching her scenes over and over again.

The casting was great for all characters, though. Ben Barnes portrayed General Kirigan – also known as the Darkling – in a complex way, making him a much more dynamic character, the only drawback was that he seemed slightly too old for the characters, especially next to Alina who looked way younger. I also loved the way Inej and Jesper were portrayed because they were so fun and cool to see.

I loved the way Freddy Carter acted as Kaz, and he was almost exactly as I imagined him, especially with his cane and gloves. My only problem was that he felt less like Kaz than he did in the books. In the books, he always had a crazy plan to surprise the readers and was really cool, but he wasn’t as scheming in the show. However, this is supposed to occur before the “Six of Crows” storyline as a prequel, so hopefully, Kaz’s character will build up in future seasons to be like he was in the book.

One of my favorite parts of the show was the relationships. They were all done so well, and I fell in love with all of them.

My favorite by far was Nina and Matthias’s relationship. Their relationship is the ultimate enemies-to-lovers trope done well, and I loved their dynamic that showed the contrast in their personalities. I loved them in the books, but seeing their love story play out on the screen was amazing. It was so nice to see the specific scenes and quotes from the books.

I also loved the buildup for Kaz and Inej’s relationship. You could really see how they trusted and depended on each other. They never actually get together in the show, but they had the wonderful beginnings of a relationship.

Another one of my favorites was the relationship between Mal and Alina. In the books, I wasn’t a fan of their relationship at all and preferred Alina’s relationship with General Kirigin. Throughout the “Shadow and Bone” book trilogy, Mal was less accepting of Alina’s power, and their relationship seemed forced. But in the show, it was a lot more genuine. I loved the scenes during their childhood at the orphanage, and I thought it was much more impactful to see than it was in the book.

What really made the series great as well, was the cinematography and videography. The special effects and fine details made the show even better to watch. I loved the way they showed the lights and shadows for Alina and General Kirigan’s powers. I also loved their outfits as they fit the setting well.

Spoilers will be from this point on.

A major change from the book was how General Kirigan fused the amplifier into her neck, instead of just leaving it around her neck and she couldn’t get it off. It was actually horrifying to watch, but I thought it added to the severity of General Kirigan’s actions and really raised the stakes. It does make me wonder about how future storylines will be executed.

Overall, the show surpassed all expectations and did the books complete justice. It sucked me in, and I couldn’t stop watching until I had finished the whole season. A season two of the show is already in the works, and I can’t wait to see how great it will be.