Shadow And Bone Review: Netflix TV series adaptation VS Book

We all fall for mysterious men/bad boys, don’t we?

Bored of regular crime, sci-fi and drama on tv? Want to take a dive into the fantasy world for a change?

Then the Shadow and Bone Tv-series is perfect for you!

SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

Shadow and Bone tv-series is adapted from the young adult fantasy adventure novels “Shadow and Bone” and “six of crows” written by Leigh Bardugo. She is also one of the executive producers for the series.

People who enjoy books might be hesitant to watch films or tv series adapted from their favourite books because we’ve seen many adaptations failing due to bland scriptwriting, changing the plot accordingly, deleting key characters and most importantly compressed adaptation. Let's face it. You cannot include each and every scene from a 600-1000pages novel into a 2.5hrs movie.

After the epic failure of “Game of Thrones” Season 8, it left a big void in fantasy lovers.....Thanks to Netflix's original series and contenders for thrones-crown like “the witcher” “fate: the Winx saga” “the umbrella academy”, people seem to have embraced fantasy again looking at their positions on top10 weekly on Netflix. Shadow and Bone has been on Top10 Netflix weekly for a week after the release in many countries.

But fans of Leigh bardugos fantasy novels will not be disappointed. There’s good and bad magic and also heists, criminals and so many dark secrets. Perfectly enjoyable and binge watchable stuff. 


    • There are notable changes from the book to the show. The most remarkable and noteworthy change is that the crows are in the show. 
    • Crows do not show up in the first book. They are introduced in "six of crows" which is the fourth book. 
    • It was the showrunner and also one of the executive producer's Eric Heisserer's decision to import characters from the "six of crows". 
    • I think it was a clever decision to involve The Crows early. Not only the crows but Nina Zenik and Matthias are also added who aren't introduced until "six of the crows".
    • The show is telling their story earlier than it's told in the books. Another prominent change is Mal being very less toxic and more accepting of Alina's Grisha part.  
    • In books, he is was a hypocrite but in the series when Alina reveals she had a brief fling with the darkling, he won't lash out like in books. 
    • He simply responds in a mature way. This is a huge and significant growth in mals character. 
    • Few new characters are added like "the conductor", the west ravkan general and him wanting to make west ravka sovereign, the relation between the two, it's all-new. 
    • The show has a  sympathetic backstory for the darkling. 
    • Losing the girl he loves right in front of him and in this grief and rage he accidentally creates the fold. 
    • Of course, he has one in books too but there's more weightage of negativity and darkness to him than virtue and sympathy. 
    • Few other Grisha characters at the little palace were given higher prominence in the series.

    Eric Heisserer divided the entire show into 3plots

    • One which takes place in east Ravka.The story of Alina-general Kirigan- mal and changes happening in Alina's life.
    • The second is “the crows” set in Ketterdam involving 3dregs Kaz, Jesper and Inej
    • The third one and the weakest one is focused primarily on a Grisha named Nina Zenik and Grisha hunter Matthias Helver.


    1.Alina Starkov

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by Jessie mei li is a half shu- half Ravkan. She was never welcome in Ravka because she looks like the enemy. She is a cartographer. She always wanted to find a way out and go somewhere she is welcome or somewhere where nobody cares where she’s from. As she grew old enough she understood the only way out is to go through the fold.

    2.Mal Oretsev

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by Archie Renaux is Alina's best friend and potential main lead. He is Alina’s childhood Bestfriend since their Orphanage days. Both Alina and mal grew up in Keramzin. He is a gifted tracker. He can track about anything with a heartbeat. He works for the military(first army) and he is a corporal.

    3.General Kirigan

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by ben Barnes goes my multiple titles like “the darkling”, “the black heretic”, "the shadow king” and many more. He is the leader of the second army. He takes care of all Grisha and trains them at the little palace. His ancestors created the fold and he wants to destroy it with help of Alina. He thinks they both make a great team and can do wonders together. General Kirigan is this very handsome bearded man who is a little older than Alina.

    Ben Barnes is getting huge recognition and attention after his role as darkling and has gathered lots of female fans.

    4.Nina Zenik

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by Danielle Galligan is a heart render. She serves Kirigan as part of the Ravkan army. She is sent on a mission by general Kirigan.

    Now coming to my favourite crows!

    On the west of Ravka, there’s an island called Kerch.The capital of kerch is Ketterdam.

    5. Kaz Brekker

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by Freddy carter is a crow club boss and current leader of dregs in Ketterdam. He is well known for doing any kind of job and will go to far lengths as long as it involves lots of kruge. He has a limp and carries a cane with a crow’s head as a weapon.

    6.Jesper Fahey

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by kit young is a gambler, infamous sharpshooter and comedic relief. He is witty and sarcastic. He knows his way around pistols. He is one of Kaz's seconds.

    7. Inej Ghafa

    SHADOW AND BONE Review: Netflix TV adaptation VS Book

    Played by amita suman is a spy.She is of suli heritage and was raised performing with her family as an acrobat. She was torn from her brother during war times and wants to find him. She is mentally very strong and owns many knives. Kaz buys Inej from Heleen under a contract and gives Inej to join the dregs.

    These 3 make a sexy heist trio.

    My favourite part of the entire show is the crows.

    They are smarter and craftier than anyone in the show

    Kaz calls Inej and Jesper as his crows. He didn’t name them after crows just because they are the animals of vengeance but because the crows don’t just remember the faces of people who wronged them. They also remember those who were kind. They look after each other and whom to watch out for.


    The story revolves around a girl called Alina Starkov who lives in east Ravka and “the fold” which is consumed by dark shadow and has monsters called volcra in it.

    To get to the other side you have to cross the fold. You cannot go around because in the north there’s Fjerda. They want all the Grisha dead.

    Grisha are humans who practice small science. They consider their powers to be an extension of the natural world which is why they don’t call their powers “magic”.Grisha are historically considered witches. Grisha are the second army.

    Fjerda has Grisha hunting groups called Druskelle.

    To the south of Ravka, Shu-Han is guarding its mountains.

    So no matter what you have to cross the fold. But in the process, many people die. Everybody is waiting for a miracle to happen ie for the fold to disappear. People consider the fold an abomination and say the saints who can summon the sun can destroy it.

    These countries, in general, might be tsarist Russia or eastern Europe inspired world.

     Alina and mal meet at the military base camp near the fold. They are happy that they are in the same unit. But for the supply run across the fold which is considered to be a nightmare, mal is selected as a tracker with 4 other staff and some Grisha from the second army. Alina gets worried and distraught from the fact of being separated from mal, she decides she must simply get and spot on the skiff. It's called the ultralight and it's made by their own fabrikators. So she burns the maps and gets on the skiff as a cartographer. There they get attacked by volcra because of a fellow cartographers mistake of striking a match and one of it goes for mal. To save mal, Alina pulls a heroic stunt thereby resulting in a beam of light appearing from her skin and killing volcra with it. The fellow cartographer escapes but sees what happened in the fold.

     On the other side of Ravka, in Ketterdam (our famous crows!!!!) the camera cuts to a casino setting where they introduce Jesper as a gambler and Kaz Brekker as the crows club boss. His spy Inej has a new lead.

     A merchant named Dreesen is paying one million kruge to return someone. For it, they have to travel through the fold. The crows find out that Dreesen is seeking a Heartrender to extract info from someone. For this job, another gangster called Pekka Rollins is also gathering his gang. But our artful crows steal the Heartrender under Pekka Rollins nose.

    They appeal to Dreesen for the one million kruge job by bringing him the Heartrender. But to extract info from whom? The cartographer that escaped from the skiff and saw the visual wonder. Then they learn about the sun summoner.

    Dreesen challenges the crows to come up with a plan to cross the fold by sunrise or else they’ll lose the job to Pekka Rollins. They pull many strings and finally find the man named “the conductor” who helps to cross the fold.

    Meanwhile, after the visual show witnessed by everyone, the black general summons Alina to his tent and tests her (the Grisha test). Alina won't take the Grisha test in the orphanage because even the slightest thought of accidentally being Grisha and taken away from mal kills her.

    Mal finds out Alina is Grisha and tries to talk to her but meanwhile, she is taken to the little palace for training by general Kirigan.

    After going there she gets torn between 2 potential male leads. She is caught between her attraction to mal and the mysterious and handsome general Kirigan. Mal is more of a safe and comfortable choice because he did everything for her from going to jail to almost dying several times for her. They are each others home. They always find their way back to each other, but in few scenes, there’s undeniable attraction and chemistry between Kirigan and Alina.

    Looking at the title you might’ve thought whom are they talking about and why they didn’t mention him yet now that you have reached the end of the basic plot. You'll know once you watch the show. And yes the season1 ends with a cliffhanger leaving us in mystery longing for more adventures and dark secret’s.

    Now rest of the story revolves around how mal and Alina are reunited, how Alina is trained at the little palace, the love triangle between general kirigan-Alina-mal, did the crows manage to cross the fold? how did they find out about the sun summoners whereabouts, how did they kidnap her? What is Nina Zenik’s share in this plot and how is she linked to these people? Dark secrets of black general, flashbacks, did they manage to destroy the fold and many more!!!

    Now get some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the lockdown.

    Also for book lovers, if you did enjoy the series and want to explore more of this universe, you cant start reading Grishaverse.

    Grishaverse consists of one trilogy, two duologies and 3 individual books filled with folktales and fables from Grisha universe.

     The shadow and bone trilogy:

    • Shadow and bone
    • Siege and storm
    • Ruin and rising

    Six of crows Duology

    1. Six of crows
    2. Crooked kingdom

    King of scars Duology

    1. king of scars
    2. Rule of wolves

    And the rest...

    1. The language of thorns
    2. The lives of saints
    3. The severed moon

    The shadow and bone is the weakest book in grishaverse because it's just the start of the author's journey and the story. But if you continue reading you'll see her develop from book to book. The characters, the plot complexity, the sentences, everything!it becomes more suspensive.

    If you enjoyed the series and now that you guys are familiar with the characters and basic plot, why not take a look at the books?

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