“Shadow and Bone” shines through the darkness


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“Shadow and Bone” topped Netflix’s charts for weeks.

Adeline Gruen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Over the years, more and more books have become adapted to movies or TV shows. One of the most recent book adaptations is the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, which was turned into a TV series. The show was first released on Netflix in April 2021, and fans enjoyed it so much that it was reinstated for a second season that was released on March 16, 2023. 

While season one followed book one of the trilogy, season two combined both books two and three. The show picks up where the previous left off with Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux) and Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), aka the Sun Summoner, fleeing from the Darkling (Ben Barnes). Mal and Alina are eventually found by Sturmhond (Patrick Gibson) who agrees to help them find the last of Maravoza’s amplifiers so that Alina can finally defeat the Shadowfold once and for all. The amplifier’s are pieces of mystical animals that make their wearer more powerful. These will help Alina destroy the Shadowfold, a field of darkness, near impenetrable, infested with monsters, that is splitting her country, Ravka, in two. Meanwhile, the Darkling is gaining followers and coming up with his own schemes to recapture Alina and take over the world using her power.

Just like the previous season, the characters from Bardugo’s novel “Six of Crows” join in on the fun even though their story canonically takes place after the events of the third novel. As Alina tries to reunite Ravka, Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) and his band of thieves including Inej Gafa (Amita Suman) try to find a weapon that will help Alina defeat the undead. 

Since the producers chose to combine two books into one season, it is understandable that the events of the books were not fully explored. However, by not fully following the plot of the books, a substantial amount of the show’s potential was wasted. They would have been able to explore more of the emotional side of Alina if she would have gone through the battle at the Little Palace and temporarily lost her powers like she did in “Siege and Storm.” The show as a whole would have been better if they split up into three seasons, one for each book. However, with what they did include, I thought Mei Li did a wonderful job performing as Alina. She was really able to bring out the emotion in her scenes, making audiences remember that the characters are really just broken teenagers.

Even though the Crows aren’t technically part of the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy, they were by far the best part of the show. Carter and Suman were able to bring out the complex relationship between their characters, and the addition of Wylan Hendriks (Jack Wolfe) to the Crows elevated the storyline. Some fans are even saying that instead of a third season of “Shadow and Bone” they want a spinoff series with just the Crows.

Fans of the books may have differing opinions over the latest season, but with a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.6/10 on IMDb, this series is sure to continue to be a viewer favorite.

Contact Adeline Gruen at [email protected]