What Do You Think of the Shadow and Bone TV Adaptation? (My Thoughts)

Years ago I was fortunate to discover Leigh Bardugo’s book Shadow and Bone, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I’ve loved the entire Grishaverse series, her short story collection, and her venture into adult fiction, Ninth House.

Needless to say, I was quite excited to see Shadow and Bone come to life on Netflix in a new 8-episode series. It came at the perfect time, as just last week I finished the most recent Grishaverse release, Rule of Wolves.

That said, I must admit it’s been quite a while since I read the original trilogy, so I really have very little idea how closely the show follows the books. As far as I can recall, major characters and plot points not found in the first book end up appearing in the TV series, and I’m perfectly fine with that, as it’s quite good.

The core idea of the show is that there’s a kingdom called Ravka where magic exists, along with a major problem: dark magic scars the middle of the kingdom with a massive shadowy barrier. Beyond that I get into spoilers, so I won’t go there.

I will say this about my recollection of the series: As great as the writing, worldbuilding, and characters are in the first book, I recall it being fairly “safe” in terms of the YA fantasy tropes it employs. Or perhaps it’s just the show leaning into those tropes. However, the book and the show are still quite good; in fact, this is probably the best fantasy I’ve seen on TV since the early seasons of Game of Thrones.

The even better news is that after Bardugo found a hit in her first book, she took a big step off the beaten path into uncharted territory, redefining the “rules” of YA fantasy. Every book that follows is fresh and innovative, while still building on the amazing world and characters she previously introduced. So if you like season 1, I highly recommend diving deep into the books (starting with book 1–don’t skip ahead just because you watch season 1).

For those of you who have read the first book or two more recently, how does this jive with your perception of the show? Or if you watch the show without knowing anything of the books, what did you think?

1 thought on “What Do You Think of the Shadow and Bone TV Adaptation? (My Thoughts)”

  1. I saw this show listed on the Netflix lists, and watched the first 20 minutes or so. I turned it off more because it was time for me to go to bed than lack of interest.

    But, after seeing your post, I’ll have to stop the series and read the books! And then watch the series…

    Currently, I’m reading “Mortal Engines” by Phillip Reeve. This was turned into a hugely expensive movie by Peter Jackson, that I guess didn’t do well at the box office. So far, I really enjoying the book (haven’t seen the movie yet).

    Just before that I read “Brilliance” by Marcus Sakey. While not a dystopian YA novel, I think fans of a wide variety of YA lit would enjoy this. This book is set is our own time, but beginning in 1980, certainly people were born with amazing natural abilities (cognitive, physical or otherwise). Those individuals are now adults, and to some degree shunned or ostracized by society for being different. A very good book, that is different enough to really stand out.


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