Posted in TV

Shadow and Bone – Netflix review ðŸ

Shadow and Bone (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDb
all images credit to Netflix

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’ve always preferred sci-fi to fantasy, but all of the series in the Grishaverse (Shadow and Bone trilogy, Six of Crows duology, Nikolai duology) have consistently been some of my favorite YA fantasy novels. Packed with lush prose and complex worldbuilding that can’t be matched by much else, it truly stood out amongst the vast field of YA fantasy.

So naturally I was excited, but more than a little nervous that Netflix was developing a show based off of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. I haven’t enjoyed much of Netflix’s original shows other than Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy, and I hadn’t heard of any of the actors. But the more they revealed, the more excited I got. And now that I’ve watched it, I think it restored some of my faith in Netflix. Shadow and Bone is, for the most part, every bookworm’s dream: an adaptation where the love for the source material shines through in every line and episode.

So let’s get into it, shall we? Bc I’ve got some THOUGHTS

But be warned! This review contains some spoilers for both the show and the books, so tread lightly!

Shadow and Bone: fans saying same thing about Netflix's new show | HELLO!


  • The casting: As I said earlier, I hadn’t heard of any of the actors in the show prior to watching this. (Not even Ben Barnes…apparently he was in one of the Narnia movies? I wouldn’t know, I think the only one of the movies that I watched was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe…) (EDIT: no wait apparently Baghra was also Madam Hooch??? I knew I recognized her from somewhere) But the vast majority of them were INCREDIBLE. Not only did quite a few of them stay true to the characters, but they felt like the perfect actors for these characters. Some of my favorites in particular were Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, Daisy Head as Genya Safin, and Kit Young as Jesper Fahey. (Also, David was precious. I forgot how wonderful he was. And HELNIK. HELNIIIIIK.)
Shadow and Bone' Trailer: Can Alina Bring the Light to Save Everyone?  (VIDEO)
The perfect Alina. Gaaaaaaah

And on that subject…

  • Mal is actually likable now? I just found him…so bland in the books, and Archie Renaux’s portrayal seemed to flesh him out a little more. Still not my favorite, but I get more classic hopelessly-romantic-idiot vibes from him now. What a guy.
Shadow and Bone | Netflix Official Site

  • Faithfulness to the source material: I didn’t take the time to re-read everything before binging all this, but even then, there were so many iconic lines that made their way into the show that I noticed. The show’s character’s were so wonderfully true to the novel’s, and all the details about the world made the show radiate such love and respect for the original Grishaverse novels. I mean, part of that’s definitely because Leigh Bardugo had a fairly prominent role in the show, but still.

  • Sets and costumes: EVERYTHING LOOKED SO. SO. BEAUTIFUL. The decor and keftas (can we talk about THE DETAILS IN THE KEFTAS???) in the Little Palace were especially gorgeous, and I loved all the landscapes that we got to see, especially in Ravka. Ketterdam was definitely a favorite of mine as well.

  • CGI: For the most part, the special effects were great! The Fold must have been such a pain to animate, but it was 100% worth it: just as terrifying as I imagined it! (And, by extension, the volcra. Guuuuuuh.) All of the Grisha magic looked amazing too.

  • Diversity: One thing I will say in Netflix’s favor: a lot of their original shows do a good job of having a variety of characters of different races, sexualities, and gender identities, and this one was no exception! Most of the characters who were POC/LGBTQ+ in the books were rightfully so here, and the decision to make Alina mixed-race and Mal POC was great! Say what you want about Chosen Ones, but isn’t it pretty cool that we have a mixed-race Asian character as our chosen one here? I think so.

  • Milo the goat: self-explanatory.
Why Milo the Goat Is the Best 'Shadow and Bone' Character - Thrillist
the look of love
  • The Leigh Bardugo cameo: tears. TEARS.

But, of course, the show wasn’t *entirely* without its flaws, which I’ve been itching to discuss…


  • The Darkling: okay, unpopular opinion time. Ben Barnes’ acting was fine, yeah, but he just…was not a good fit for the Darkling. His voice is great and he’s clearly a talented actor, but he was barely menacing. He just looked like a pretentious hipster in a big furry cape. I guess that made him easier to hate (because, y’know, the Darkling is a nasty manipulator), but…nah. I loved him as the villain in the original novels, so that was a major letdown.
Which of Leigh Bardugo's Books is The Netflix Show Based On? -

And on that subject:

  • WHY, WHY WHY DID THEY BRING IN THE ALEKSANDR REVEAL IN SO EARLY? I’M STILL SO MAD ABOUT THIS. UGH. We got the information that he’s Baghra’s son/the Black Heretic/all that jazz in book 1, but we didn’t get his name until the end of Ruin and Rising, and it was an appropriate bombshell of a reveal. I suppose they wanted to “humanize” him and all (please S T O P ), but if you already have the Black Heretic/Baghra reveals at the ready, then what’s the point? To whoever’s idea this was, I just wanna talk…

  • Nina not being plus-sized: for the most part, like I said, the show stayed pretty close to the characters, but not Nina? COME ON. Danielle Galligan was fine, but there’s plenty of plus-sized actors they could’ve chosen for the part. It just doesn’t sit right with me that they erased that part of her character. Ugh.

  • The new Six of Crows subplot felt a little rushed: okay, I’ll admit that it was probably hard to incorporate SoC into the Shadow and Bone timeline when the original books happened after all this. But even though I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and the rest of Ketterdam, their new subplot just felt…flimsy. Shoehorned in. I did like the bit with the Conductor, but it just didn’t have the care and weight put into it that the other parts of the show did.
Shadow and Bone' Fans Debate Who Will Be the 'Star' of the Netflix Original  Series

All in all though, this made my stupid little Grisha bookworm heart so happy. This is the kind of love that should be put into every novel to TV/film adaptation: respect for the source material, but adding in some fresh twists, but not enough to make it unrecognizable. I was a little scared for this one, admittedly, but I’m so glad that none of my fears came to pass.

Except for the Darkling, of course. :/

MY RATING: ★★★★☆

TW/CW: racism, sexism, graphic violence, blood, body horror, animal death

Today’s song:

this just came on shuffle and I had to listen to it on repeat again…I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS SONG

That’s it for this TV review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!



book blogger, aspiring author, music nerd, sci-fi lover, comics fan, stargazer. ☆ she/her ☆ ISFJ ☆ bisexual ☆ spd ☆

17 thoughts on “Shadow and Bone – Netflix review ðŸ

  1. This is coming from the perspective of someone who has only read the Six of Crows Duology, I really enjoyed the show and the cast ( I can’t describe how much I loved the cast) especially Jesper! I like how they combined the plotlines of the two series and showed Nina’s and Matthias backstory. There’s just so much and I can’t contain my love for how the portrayal of the Dreg characters were!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not the biggest fan of Ben Barnes considering I don’t know any movies or shows he’s starred in previously but I can appreciate his portrayal as a villain rather than the Darkling. I saw him more of a manipulative psychological villain instead of an in your face I’ll-kill-everything-and-everyone-you-love villain.
        I can’t speak to his portrayal as the Darkling though.

        I loved reading your perspective on the show!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, apparently he was in one of the Narnia movies but I’ve only seen one of them, so I don’t know anything about him either. That’s an interesting take though, I suppose he is a bit more psychological than the book Darkling? Maybe? They’re both blatant manipulators but
        Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t read too much of your review because I haven’t finished the show yet and don’t want to be spoiled, but I totally agree that the casting for this show is amazing! (I’m only on episode 3 but) the Crows are my favorite so far. I can’t say that I remember much about Mal in the books, but from what I’ve heard from other readers he wasn’t the most likable character. I definitely agree that Archie does a good job portraying him! Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Firstly, the fact that you put a goat emoji in the title is AMAZING. I love you for that hahaa.
    Secondly, I agree with all your points, especially the Darkling ones. Like he’s supposed to look at least 19 or 20 years old and I know that that’s just how Ben Barnes looks but it makes it feel like he’s 30 years old or something.
    And the Leigh cameo was SOO GOOD!
    Lovely review!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yah, he was just kind of like…a person. I honestly don’t know how I did imagine him, but it was definitely not that. I feel like I imagined his hair to be different, mostly. Darker, for the most part (let’s not talk about how Ben Barnes’s hair is very dark, I still imagined it darker) and I dunno.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. omg yesss the show was so amazing 🥺 i loved all the casting (except for ben barnes – he was just too old imo), like he did a pretty good job of acting as the darkling, but he was also old enough to be alina’s dad, which did make things awkward. jesper was also SO full of energy and him and milo were the perfect pair ahh!! inej and kaz were also so perfect, and nina and matthias completely destroyed me 😭💓 i love them so much lol i could go on forever ~

    lovely post!! 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AHHHH IT MADE MY HEART SO HAPPY 🥺 I’m glad you enjoyed it too!
      The Crows were so amazing! Nina and Matthias made my heart so happy too 😭
      thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review! I really loved the cast and the acting was just perfect. The crows were amazing, as always Inej was a badass and I also was really surprised that I liked Mal. I agree, Ben Barnes was probably too old to play the Darkling, but I thought that he is an amazing actor. And Milo the goat is the best. Sorry about ranting but I just loved the show so much lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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