Fan-favorite Shadow and Bone series receives Netflix adaptation


Sophie Barkett

The current seven works in Leigh Bardugo’s, “Grishaverse” series, shown above. The fantasy, young adult fiction books, are fan-favorites, and have been adapted in a Netflix Original series, that is streaming now.

Popular young adult book series, Shadow and Bone, is coming to Netflix. The New York Times bestselling series, written by Leigh Bardugo, has amassed a large following for its beloved characters. Over the span of seven books, Bardugo creates a universe referred to as the, “Grishaverse”, after the book’s magic system of Grishas, the book’s version of witches. The complex universe is very elaborate, with countries and languages that seem to be modeled from real countries. 

The Netflix adaptation of the series will have eight episodes, to be released on Apr. 23. The show description from Netflix reads as, “Dark forces conspire against orphan Mapmaker Alina Starkov when she unleashes an extraordinary power that could change the fate of her war-torn world.” 

The show is named after the first book of Bardugo’s trilogy. If the show follows the book’s plot, Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), mapmaker in the Ravakan army, is introduced to magic. Starkov is an orphan who is used to indifference, until she discovers she possesses unheard of Grisha magic. In the universe, there is a territory called, “The Shadow Fold”, that contains terrifying creatures and pitch blackness. Starkov, however, possesses power that can counteract and possibly rectify this “scar on the map”, as described in the show’s teaser trailer. After being thrust into a life of magic and luxury, Starkov must rapidly adapt. Other notable characters such as General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), Genya Safyin (Daisy Head), Maylen Ostrev (Archie Renaux), and Zoya Nazyalensky (Sujaya Dasgupta) make an appearance. 

Bardugo’s second series, Six of Crows, which takes place in the same universe as Shadow and Bone will also play a part in the series. The fan-favorite characters or “Crows”; Kaz Brekker (Freddy Cater), Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), Jesper Fahley (Kit Young), Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan), and Matthias Helavar (Calahan Skogman) will all be present. Along with the story following Starkov, the producers will include a plotline that showcases what the Crows were doing, prior to the Six of Crows story. Fans suspect from the trailer that the gang of Crows will be tasked to kidnap Alina Starkov, for their portrayal in the show. 

The show has changed some aspects of the books, such as increasing the ages of the characters. In the novels, Alina Starkov is 17, and when the show takes place the crows would have been very young, around 14-15 years old. In order to create more age-appropriate content, all characters are aged up. 

Another change lies in the main protagonist’s ethnicity. In the novel she is full Ravakan, a territory in the universe which fans suspect to represent Russia. However, the show has altered her character to fit the Asian ethnicity of actress Jessie Mei Lei, and have given Starkov a half Shu heritage, which represents Mongolia and China. 

The highly anticipated series has a rating of TV-MA, presumably for its violence. The series has gained popularity in the young adult genre, and its fans eagerly await its premiere on the 23rd and hope for more seasons to come.