Fantasy show ‘Shadow and Bone’ debuts on Netflix


Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Kit Young, Freddy Carter, and Amita Suman star in “Shadow and Bone”. The tv series was released on Netflix April 23.

By Rukayah Hussein, buzz calendar editor

Soaring to the top of Netflix’s Top 10 in countries all over the world, a new series called “Shadow and Bone” made its debut on April 23. “Shadow and Bone” is a show that has been adapted from novels in the Grishaverse, a collection of young adult fantasy book series written by author Leigh Bardugo. 

 “Shadow and Bone” features an immersive, complicated and vivid fantasy world — one that viewers have likely never experienced before. The show focuses on the main character Alina Starkov, a mapmaker for the First Army in the fictional country of Ravka. Ravka is loosely based on Russia and other eastern European countries, and it faces many challenges, including a shadowy expanse of darkness known as “the Fold,” which has torn the country in two. “The Fold” is extremely dangerous to pass through, due to demonic monsters known as “volcra” that live within it. 

Alina, portrayed by Jessie Mei Li, finds herself and her childhood best friend Malyen “Mal” Oretsev, played by Archie Renaux, traveling through the Fold along with members of the Second Army. The Second Army consists of individuals known as Grisha, who possess special abilities such as healing powers, control of various elements and much more. The Second Army is commanded by a man known as General Kirigan, also known as the Darkling, who can summon darkness — as his name would suggest. Kirigan, portrayed by Ben Barnes, is leader of the Second Army and other Grisha, wants to destroy the Fold, which was created by his ancestor called the Black Heratic. 

During her journey through the Fold, Alina and the others are attacked by the volcra, triggering her abilities as a Grisha. Alina can summon light, making her the Sun Summoner and the only one capable of destroying the Fold once and for all. This makes her very valuable. 

Three thieves, also members of a gang called the Dregs, set out from the nearby country of Kerch and the city of Ketterdam to kidnap Alina and collect their earnings. The Dregs are lead by Kaz Brekker, played Freddy Carter, who is a cold and calculating individual in search of profit. Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) is a graceful spy that joins Brekker, along with Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), who is a skilled and witty sharpshooter, in order to claim their prize. Their dynamic is one beloved by longtime Grishaverse fans. 

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Alina, upon being discovered as the Sun Summoner, is separated from Mal and rushed to Os Alta, Ravka’s capital. While she is there, she begins to train and better harness her abilities and finds a strength she didn’t know she possessed. She meets other Grisha, like Genya Safin (Daisy Head), who is a Tailor with the ability to change one’s appearance and who quickly becomes a companion for our heroine. Alina struggles with her new role as she is presented to the king, along with General Kirigan, as the person who can solve all of Ravka’s problems. 

Speaking of problems, Ravka has many. In addition to the Fold, they are constantly at war. Rather than traveling around the Fold, they have enemies to the south in the country of Shu Han, and enemies to the north in the country of Fjerda. Fjerdans hate Grisha, and Fjerdan soldiers, known as the “drüskelle” make it their mission to hunt Grisha. One such drüskelle, called Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman), encounters Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) — who is a Grisha spy. Together, although they are enemies, they must cooperate in order to survive the frigid temperatures of their countries. 

“Shadow and Bone” is a balance of heart and peril in a high fantasy setting, which can take some getting used to for viewers who had not previously read the books in the Grishaverse. However, Alina Starkov is a worthy heroine they can relate to as she finds her way through the dark. 

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