One of the latest series to hit Netflix is Shadow and Bone. From the trailers, it brought us in with it’s eastern European look and diverse casting. The fantasy drama in this war torn world is based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse Novels. Disclaimer – we have not read the books and have entered this series review not knowing the books.
About the Series
Shadow and Bone is all about a war torn world hit by a Shadow Fold dividing the world. The series focuses on the low level soldier and orphan, Alina Strakov (Jessie Mei Li). Alina finds herself at the front of the battle with her finding an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free from the Shadow Fold.
Her journey from lowly soldier changes with her new found power, she encounters both risk and rewards for this. Her training to become a “Grisha” (magical soldier) has huddles and she finds that nothing in this lavish world is what it may seem.
She works out, it takes more than magic to survive. Shadow and Bone is a Netflix production from 21 Laps Entertainment, starring Jessie Mei Li (Alina Starkov), Archie Renaux (Malyen Oretsev), Freddy Carter (Kaz Brekker), Amita Suman (Inej), Kit Young (Jesper Fahey), and Ben Barnes (General Kirigan).
Should You Watch It?
Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The answer is if you like fantasy shows built within a “close to reality” type world this is terrific. It brings the viewer in with it’s atmosphere and thoughts of travelling to it’s locations. Then nails it in with it’s terrific characters, from it’s main characters, side criminal gangs and even a goat.
Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li)
Played extremely well by Jessie, she brings depth to the role we did not expect. Her character’s journey from lowly soldier to one of the strongest “Grishas” showed the actress’s depth of talent. At the beginning, the viewer sees that vulnerability and at the end that strength in herself.
General Kirigan (Ben Barnes)
Introduced into the series as a General in the same army as Alina, his character’s development was terrific throughout. Without spoiling the plot, he pushes Alina’s buttons as much as the viewer’s. His pivotal episode is the one where we see his own backstory and find out the reasons for why he is who he is. (Wish we could say more)
The Side Story
The show does not just focus on Alina’s arc throughout the show, it also focuses on the world of the criminal underworld with Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) and his friends. They always are in need of making money and their journeys begin to intersect with Alina’s.
We learn as the show goes on that these characters are the heart of the show (at least for us). They keep the show light with their scraps and scrapes and even have fun with a little goat.
The Backdrops/ The Scenery
The show has a very Eastern European feel with it’s use of some fabulous locations. They never take away from the show but build around and help create the world in terrific ways. With the show’s use of location shooting mainly in Hungary – it so makes us want to go visit Hungary when the pandemic is over.
We hope this demonstrated some of the reasons why you should watch the show. It has terrific depth of characters across the board and we lost ourselves to the world within the week it took us to watch it.
Some characters only had a few scenes in season 1 but we would love to see how they develop in season 2. We cannot wait for more.
For More Info
There are no others like her. And there never will be. Get ready to enter the Grishaverse. Shadow & Bone premieres April 23, only on Netflix.
For more information on Shadow and Bone here are a few links to follow –