Zhanet Zografova’s review of “Shadow and Bone”


On April 23, the long-awaited “Shadow and Bone” television series was released on Netflix. The first season contains eight episodes full of action and adventure.


The show begins in the war-torn country of Ravka, where the main character, Alina Sarkov (Jessie Mei Li) is a cartographer for the Ravkan army. The country is divided by the Folda large region of impenetrable darkness containing monsters that feast on human flesh. On a mission beyond the Fold, Alina’s childhood best friend Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux) gets attacked by one of the monsters. When Alina tries to help him, a mysterious burst of sunlight explodes from an unknown place, saving Mal and the crew. 


This reveals Alina’s mythical sun summoning abilities. This makes her a Grisha, a group of people that can manipulate different elements of matter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               She is brought to the leader of the Grisha, General Kiregan (Ben Barnes) who needs Alina’s help to destroy the fold once and for all. New alliances are made, new spirits are betrayed and Alina finds herself in a position she can’t retreat from. 


At the same time, the show follows a well-known gang in the neighboring nation of Kerch. The gang leader Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) along with Jesper Fahey (Kit Young) and Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) are battling amongst other rival gangs to see who would arrange a unique plan to kidnap Alina Sarkov. Tensions begin to rise once the gang arrive in Ravka and begin to realize the grave danger they put themselves in. 


The show does an amazing job of transporting you into the fantasy world of the Grisha. Each small detail from the sets, props and costumes makes the show seem that much more authentic. Greed for power, intense love triangles, friendships, betrayals and the importance of staying true to yourself are all themes shown throughout the episodes. 


Since this show is based on two different book series (“Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” both by Leigh Bardugo), viewers may be confused as to how the characters all connect, but the show does a great job at subtly hinting backstories and explanations, which help establish an understanding of the various characters and their actions. 


Cast and crew members all collaborated to bring the show to life. Li’s breakthrough role emerges them into the film industry with a powerful portrayal of Alina’s actions, passions and thoughts, bringing the character to life. Barnes is best known for his role as Prince Caspian in the “Chronicles of Narnia” movies. Their on-screen interactions show the difference between light and dark in their characters in a way that is captivating and full of emotion. 


Fans all around the globe have shared their love for the show, the cast and the book series all across different social media platforms. Even though critics may judge and compare the show’s similar elements to those in “Game of Thrones,” the Grishaverse is its own universe full of mystery, science, humor and power. On Rotten Tomatoes, it is currently at 86 percent on the Tomatometer and a 92 percent for audience score. 


If you’re looking for a new series, “Shadow and Bone” is highly recommended and worth the watch.