Shadow and Bone is based upon the popular Young Adult series, The Grisha Trilogy, which takes place in a steampunk-ish, Russian fantasy world at war. The story’s main character is Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), an orphan who discovers she has some magical powers when she journeys into something called the Fold with her childhood friend Malyen, “Mal” (Archie Renaux), for short. The witches in this fantasy world are called Grisha and are trained to help with military operations for some king. The General of this witch army is Kirigan, played by Ben Barnes. There are also two other storylines, this group of kidnappers, and a Grisha that’s enslaved.
This series wasn’t really made for a general audience, it was made for the fans of the book trilogy. The series starts, and the watcher is immediately thrust into this fantasy world that doesn’t really make much sense with no prior knowledge. If you couldn’t tell from the series description, I wasn’t really into it. It took me two months to watch all eight of the episodes. I almost didn’t keep watching after the first two episodes, but my boss encouraged me to keep going.
The storyline is your standard YA novel, a girl who didn’t know her powers, some lame love triangle, and for some reason, the girl is the only one that can save the world. Nothing new to see here. My interest was only piqued by Barnes’ character Kirigan, and Barnes was the main reason I actually kept watching the show. The seventh episode, which features Kirigan’s backstory, was the most interesting.
The whole kidnapping crew storyline wasn’t really all that interesting. The leader, Kaz (Freddy Carter) is a kingpin-type character with an unexplained limp, or I missed the explanation. The crew also had an assassin-type character, Inej (Amita Suman), who might not really have been an assassin, again, missed that explanation. The best member of this crew was Jesper (Kit Young), who was the charmer, expert trick shooter, and the second most interesting character in the series.
The subplot with the whole kidnapping Alina thing was neither here nor there, I don’t even remember the characters’ names that were involved in this subplot. Maybe it meant something to the readers of the novels, or it’ll make sense in the next season, but it certainly didn’t mean anything to me. I think I fast-forwarded through those portions in the last episode.
I think I started liking it after the seventh episode, but two interesting episodes do not make an interesting series. It’s been about a week since I finished it, and I honestly had to look up all the characters’ names. I probably seem flippant about explaining the different plots, but it’s legitimately all I remember. This series also didn’t leave me with a hankering to read the book series, nor would I care to watch any further seasons. I’m sure if you’re a fan of the book series, you’d probably love this, but it was not for me.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.