Shadow and Bone: a review

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch the Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone, an eight episode show based on the novels written by Leigh Bardugo. Here are my thoughts, my experience, and my opinion on the show.

To begin, one of the things that immediately grabbed my attention and impressed me was the diversity of the cast. Actors Ben Barnes, Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Danielle Galligan, Freddy Carter, and Amita Suman were critical in living up to the expectations book fans had about the inclusiveness of characters in the series. This collection of actors really made it easier to believe that the characters came from different countries throughout the world.

Unfortunately, I personally found the first episode to be a little slow with plot development. If I had not known what was coming next, I might have given up on the show after the first episode. However, the fifty minute long episodes significantly improved after the first, and I was hooked until the very end.

Now, I must admit that one of the primary reasons that I was so hooked to the series is because, as usual, I absolutely fell in love with the tension between two characters. Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar, played by Danielle Galligan and Calahan Skogman respectively did an amazing job in their scenes together. I have zero complaints because I was impressed by how accurate the scenes had translated from book to movie. They were so good, in fact, that I re-watched my favorite scene played by these two actors nearly four times. Although their conflict is only part of a sub-plot, for me, their scenes were unforgettable.

In contrast, I did not particularly care for the main character's, played by Jessie Mei Li, love life. The directors were clearly trying to promote her relationship with the character Mal, but it felt a little too forced. After about the third flashback we see of them as kids promising to look after each other, I became a little bored with their future. There was absolutely no doubt whether they would end up together in the end, so some of their scenes seemed redundant. Granted, I have read the books so I know how it should end, but I think that their relationship evolution could use some work.

In the end, I would give the show a solid 8.5 out of 10. The directors did a great job at intertwining the plots of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. As a book fan, I was not disappointed and I would definitely recommend this show to people who loved the books, or who are looking for a fantasy show with romance undertones.


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