New season of Shadow and Bone’s was an instant hit


Rory Reigle

The new season of Shadow and Bones is a hit.

When season one of “Shadow and Bone” was released by Netflix in April 2021, it was an immediate hit. The show is based on the New York Times number one bestseller, “Six of Crows,” and its predecessor, the “Shadow and Bone” book series, written by Israeli-American author Leigh Bardugo. The “GrishaVerse” continues to attract fans new and old with the 2023 release of season two.

The “Shadow and Bone” series follows multiple protagonists including Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and Malyen “Mal” Oretsev (Archie Renaux), two orphans with a huge future ahead of them. They appear alongside a ragtag gang known as “The Crows.” 

This fantastical show follows these characters through a journey of power and sacrifice. Our heroine is tested as Alina, the Sun Summoner, attempts to save not only the nation of Ravka, home to those with powers like hers, but the whole world in the process. 

The second season starts right where the last ended. Mal and Alina have escaped the Darkling – the show’s main antagonist – and she has nightmares of him. Meanwhile, the Crows return to Ketterdam, their city, where trouble finds them almost immediately. 

Personally, I did enjoy the first season even if it was different from the book. “Six of Crows” and “Shadow and Bone” don’t take place at the same time canonically. It was interesting to see those dynamics shifting, even if the changes were annoying at times. It provided the chance to see character interactions that never would have existed otherwise. 

When it comes to season two, however, the problem took a turn for the worse. As someone who deeply enjoys source material being honored, I expected more to remain the same. The entire plot of “Six of Crows” hasn’t been explored, except for tiny teasers and hints. I expect that next season will lead to that, but it is still frustrating.

I find it unusual for the show creators to take so many liberties, especially because it tends to take away from key storylines included in the books. Because the plotlines of each series don’t originally align, it makes everything complicated. The existence of the Fold, a dark void that cuts the land in two, simply confuses the plot and timeline even more. The Crows never should have dealt with it, but they do.

As for the show’s positives, the casting is spot-on. The Crows, in particular, are spectacular, excellently capturing the calm, kind nature of Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), and the chaotic charm of Jesper Fahey (Kit Young). The set design and clothing design is also amazing. However, too much of the show diminishes all of the fascinating lore that Bardugo wrote into the plot of the books. 

Overall, the show works well as a separate product from the book series. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see what they pull in season three. If they do go along with the “Six of Crows” plot line, I’ll be on the edge of my seat to see what they have planned.