“Shadow and Bone” delivers sparkling new worlds for viewers


Image Courtesy of Teen Vogue

Alina Starkov, played by Jessie Mei Li, is the main character in Netflix’s new adaptation of the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy.

Ketevan Gallagher, Staff Writer

After the Netflix logo fades away, the screen is black, but only for a moment: a burst of light engulfs the screen, revealing the words “Shadow and Bone” in metallic gold lettering. No one can say this show doesn’t start off with a bang. 

“Shadow and Bone” is a new Netflix show based on the “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” series written by Leigh Bardugo. Both books take place in the same fantasy world — called the “Grishaverse” — but in different countries. “Shadow and Bone” focuses on orphans Alina Starkov and Mal Oretsev who live in Ravka, a land where magical people called Grisha serve in the Second Army but are persecuted outside Ravka. Ravka is also torn apart by a strip of darkness where monsters called Volcra roam. On the other hand, “Six of Crows” starts off in Ketterdam, a busy city filled with both rich merchants and powerful criminals. Main protagonist Kaz Brekker is one of those criminals and so are his crew, which in the show, is composed of Jesper Fahey and Inej Ghafa.

With fast-paced, fantastical adventures, the show is filled with the same flair and drama that Bardugo put into her own writing; Bardugo participated in the production as an executive producer, but the show was largely developed by Eric Heisserer. Adding to the immersiveness, I found the elaborate set design and costumes to envelope the viewer in a world unlike any other.

Although the show is visually stunning, I feel that the plot can become confusing with all of its storylines. Those who aren’t familiar with the books may have trouble keeping the terminology and characters straight and as a result could spend the first few episodes being lost.

In addition, I think Alina is portrayed as one-note as she is in the first book of the series, but hopefully her character will expand and develop nuance as it did in the last two books in the series. Personally, I’m excited to see her growth from a lost, scared orphan to a powerful Grisha, forced to make difficult choices along the way.

While the show does contain characters from “Six of Crows,” the show is called “Shadow and Bone” for a reason. The actual plot of the latter doesn’t change too much from the book in the Netflix series, but the storyline for “Six of Crows” is very different, as they had to incorporate events in the book that take place two years after the last book in the preceding “Shadow and Bone” book trilogy.

Overall, I found the show to be an exciting jump into a lavish world, immersing viewers in a fantasy world of magic, thieves, and saints. While the first few episodes may be a little muddled with storylines and nomenclature, with every minute action-packed, it keeps viewers at the edge of their seats.