Netflix top hit “Shadow and Bone” – Is it worth watching?

Scene from ‘Shadow and Bone’ of Jesper Fahey, Inej Ghafa, and Kaz Brekker.

Scene from ‘Shadow and Bone’ of Jesper Fahey, Inej Ghafa, and Kaz Brekker.

The new fantasy series “Shadow and Bone” stormed the castle and took the top position in Netflix’s top ten for the weekend after its release on Friday, April 23. The show is based on the YA book trilogy ‘Shadow and Bone’, which the show is named after, and the duology Six of Crows, both by Leigh Bardugo.

About eight hours in total, the show was a fantastic way to spend the weekend. Filled with believable magic, romance, and an exciting heist, this series will leave you wanting more.

The two series take place in the same universe, referred to as the Grishaverse, and follow a parallel storyline with different characters and issues.

The series starts off with an introduction to Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and her best friend Mal (Archie Renaux), caught in the middle of a war with loyalties only to each other. The world is flipped on its head when it is discovered that Alina is a magic-user–known as a Grisha– and has the ability to wield a powerful light that could destroy a dangerous magical barrier called The Fold created by General Kirigan (Ben Barnes).

Alina meets a Tailor, a title for a Grisha who has the ability to heal minor wounds and change appearances, named Nina (Danielle Galligan) who helps her in her training to wield and use the light. Later in the series, Nina’s story is revealed in a series of flashbacks where she is captured and taken to be executed by Fjergans who believe she is a witch. When the ship crashes, she softens the heart of a Fjergan named Matthias (Calahan Skogman) who realizes witches aren’t inherently evil.

Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), a major figure in the world of crime on an island called Ketterdam, takes on a large job for a large sum of money and enlists the help of two con artists and thieves Inej (Amita Suman) and Jesper (Kit Young). Together they cross the Fold, but their heist doesn’t go completely according to plan.

One drawback about the show is its fast-paced nature. It’s clear that Alina’s ‘chosen one’ plotline is the main focus and the other stories end up being a lot to handle. The Grishaverse has a lot of complex lore, politics, and world-building that take time to fully comprehend.

Though still entertaining and fully immersive, many times I sat there wishing the show would take more time on the world or minor characters.

A few scenes spent on Alina felt drawn out and boring, and I found myself wanting to see what Kaz and his crows were up to. Highly entertaining and very funny, the dynamic between Kaz, Inej, and Jesper kept me going through the slower scenes.

“I really like the TV adaptation,” says Hillcrest student Saanvi Patel. “At first, I was skeptical, but I think they managed it very well. Although the storyline wasn’t the exact same as the books, it was highly enjoyable.”

‘Shadow and Bone’ has been renewed for a second season that will, according to showrunner Eric Heisserer, continue to expand on the world and characters. He hopes to spend more time in Kaz’s home turf, the crime-filled city of Ketterdam, and introduce a major character from Six of Crows that is missing from the Netflix adaptation.

With all that considered, ‘Shadow and Bone’ is a great show to watch for fantasy lovers whether you have read the original books or not, and I recommend giving it a go.

4.5 out of 5 paws.