Into the Shadow Fold

Netflix Review – Shadow and Bone


Worth watching, even if you aren’t familiar with the books.

Maya Adimora, Staff writer

After two years of patiently waiting, Grishaverse fans were finally able to watch Shadow and Bone on April 23. Since its release, the Netflix show has received glowing reviews.  Considering that I’m rating this show 10/10 stars, I’m not an exception to that rule, especially since I binge-watched all eight hour-long episodes of Season 1 in two days.

Shadow and Bone sets itself apart from other novel adaptations through its handling of the plot, characters, and relationships. The plot is a crossover between the Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology with a twist. It closely depicts the events of the first book of the trilogy, Shadow and Bone, with Alina discovered to be Grisha, meeting the Darkling, and visiting the Little Palace. However, there is a twist. The plot also follows the Crows—Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey —undertaking a “heist” taking place before the events of Six of Crows, which is imperative to drawing in fans of the more popular duology and setting up their characters before Season 2.

Episode 1 follows Alina, a Ravkan cartographer, reuniting with her childhood best friend, Malyen Oretsev. This reunion is cut short as Mal is soon sent on a mission that involves him crossing the Shadow Fold, a swath of darkness dividing Ravka into eastern and western halves. Alina, in an effort to keep them from being separated, hatches a plan to get herself and the other cartographers onto a ship. As they traverse the Fold, they are attacked by Volcra, the monstrous inhabitants of it, and something unexpected happens. On the other side of the Fold, in Ketterdam, the Crows want to know how to get safe passage to Western Ravka across the fold.

Another major divergence between the show and the source material is the character of Mal. Within the Grishaverse fandom, he is infamously known to be arrogant and selfish. However, Shadow and Bone miraculously manages to make his character very likable through the shared awkward pining between him and Alina and the fact he is softer than she is (being protected from bullies). Also, his character is given more depth and more of a reason to connect with Alina by being half-Shu. Throughout the series, they often face racism and harmful stereotypes against the Shu, which is an incredibly well-timed portrayal of anti-Asian sentiment.

Overall, I highly recommend this series to anyone interested in watching a new, entertaining Netflix show. Although you don’t need to read any of the Grishaverse books to understand the books, you really should. There is a high likelihood that you will enjoy the Six of Crows duology.

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