Shadow and Bone (Season 1)
Finally, I watched Shadow & Bone on Netflix, and oh boy, it’s amazing! Being a fan of the Fantasy genre since I was a kid, I was looking forward to this show after it was announced. Even though I haven’t read the book series (yet!), there were 2 reasons I wanted to watch this show. Firstly, it’s a fantasy show and I’ve heard a lot of praise about the books and secondly, Ben Barnes is in it! FYI, he played Prince Caspian in the Narnia movies, which I loved, along with the book series. Now moving on to the review -
Based on Leigh Bardugo's worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier/mapmaker and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free.
The story takes place in Ravka, where Grisha (those who can do magic or small science) are persecuted after the creation of a mysterious & dangerous wall called The Fold, a permanent darkness separating East from West Ravka, inhabited by carnivorous winged creatures known as Volcra.
Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), an army cartographer, discovers that she is a Sun Summoning Grisha, the only one who might dissolve The Fold and is sent to a magic school called The Little Palace in order to learn more & train with her powers. But she's separated from her best friend and gifted tracker Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux).
General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) controls the Second Army, which comprises of Grishas and vows to destroy the Fold with help of Alina's power. The Grishas don’t practice “magic”, they call it the Small Science; controlling fire, water, wind and more.
Meanwhile, in Ketterdam, a subplot set in Ravka’s shadowy underworld, a ragtag crew of criminal antiheroes hot on Alina’s trail, consists of Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), and Barrel boss Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter). They plan a heist that involves crossing the Fold and kidnapping the Sun Summoner for a million Kruge (the local currency).
Every major character gets enough time to shine, especially the trio from Ketterdam. It's always fun to watch Jesper swinging his guns and shooting & the character arcs for Inej and Kaz also improves, as the story goes on.
There are some twists that you can see coming but still gets surprising and dark towards the end of the season.
I haven't watched many Fantasy shows (I like to read books instead) but I can fairly say that Shadow and Bone is one of the best TV Series out there, in its genre. For me, it's the second-best (fantasy) series, after The Witcher, on Netflix. There were an episode or two which felt too slow-paced for me but it didn't affect the series or its story much.
If you love reading young-adult fantasy novels or watching these type of series/movies, then Shadow and Bone is a must watch!
Netflix again surprises by adapting the books to screen with Shadow and Bone, a fun, action-packed series based on Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling Grishaverse books. This season captures much of the darker magic of young-adult fantasy without being hesitant to make smart changes to certain characters’ origin stories and even the sequence of events.
TSHC's SCORE: 8/10