Updated: May 28, 2021
ADAPTED FROM– The Grishaverse series: ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo and ‘Six of Crows’ by Leigh Bardugo
SYNOPSIS – The series follows the story of a young girl called Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), who has always been an outcast. Alina’s mother was Shu, a rivalling neighbour of West Ravka, the country in which the story is set. Due to this she has a tough time making friends, with the exception of her childhood best friend, Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux). Alina is a cartographer for the first army, which attempts to cross the Fold, a dark shadowy mass, from which very few people have ever returned. The First Army start this journey with the help of Grisha soldiers (practitioners of magic, or small science), led by their mysterious general, Aleksandar Kirigan (Ben Barnes). During the voyage, the crew is attacked by a thunder of volcra (a breed of dragon), and Alina discovers that she is a Sun Summoner, a particular Grisha that is immensely powerful and is capable of destroying the Fold.
On the other side of the Fold, the story centres on a group of young street gangsters, called the Crows, led by Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter). Members of the team are Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young). They hear word on the streets that a wealthy merchant is offering a million Kruge to navigate across the fold to retrieve the newfound sun summoner, Alina Starkov. The plotline then follows these two separate storylines as they each endeavour to complete their respective missions - Alina on her’s to destroy the fold, with the help of the dark heretic, General Kirigan also known as the shadow summoner, while the crows continue to try and capture Alina.
REVIEW – The entire season is very reminiscent of the hit series ‘Game of Thrones’ as it takes place in a similar landscape although it is more centred towards the Victorian era, particularly the period of Tsarist Russia. The story, weaved intricately, does a stupendous job of not leaving any threads untied and continues to blend each emerging plotline seamlessly into it. Each storyline has enough substance in it to leave the audience gripping their seats in anticipation for the next frame.
Most characters in the story have a complex character arc, which successfully shows not only their positive traits but the negative aspects of their personality as well. Ben Barnes, who plays General Kirigan, rises up to the occasion perfectly and leaves no stone unturned. Freddy Carer, Amita Suman and Kit Young, all playing pivotal characters in the show, also provide a delightful performance.
The only flaw of the show is perhaps the portrayal of the main protagonist, Alina Starkov. She fits into the already overused trope of the ‘Chosen One’ perfectly, and leaves no room for development. Alina Starkov, shows no major emotion except that of a little eye widening at opportune situations. Her movement as a protagonist are very predictable and does not leave an element of surprise.
Overall, there is a perfect book to TV adaptation, one that is rarely seen. The characters are vivid and portray their designated role perfectly. In my opinion, the show provides a pleasurable viewing experience and should definitely be watched, at least once, by people enthralled with fantasy.
If you haven't yet seen the trailer for Shadow and Bone, check it out below-
-By Avantika Sen, Writer for TheLucidLlama