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Shadow and Bone: The Show, The Books & So Much More

Alright, it’s finally time to talk about Shadow and Bone. This adaptation has been one of the most exciting things I’ve had in months and with the pandemic, I’m pretty sure everyone is just as obsessed as I am. 

So let’s talk about the show, the books, and everything grisha!

The Characters

Alright so I read the books before launching myself into the show and I have to say that each actor portrays their character beautifully. I think that it’s so important for an actor to actually care about the way a character is written which I think each of them have done. They’ve read the books, they’ve met with the author (Leigh Bardugo), they’ve actually tried their best to recreate and portray these characters with as much accuracy as possible and it really shows. 

I loved seeing characters such as Inej Ghafa, Kaz Brekker, Genya and Alina, all of them coming to life right before my eyes, especially now that the characters mean so much to me. 

I think that each of these actors really care about their characters and how they look, act, think, and it shows with their stances and the way they carry themselves as the character. 

Is it worth reading the books before the show?

Absolutely. I loved having little pieces of information on each character. 

While this is great, there are some things that made me want to scream at the show for getting wrong. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll know that Aleksander is the real name of the Darkling, which is supposed to be a huge reveal in Ruin and Rising, however, it was treated as if it was just a name and wasn’t that important in the grand scheme of the show. It really bothered me that this crazy information that I’d been waiting for three books to find out, was given in the first couple of episodes. 

“The Darkling slumped back in his chair. “Fine,” he said with a weary shrug. “Make me your villain.”

Despite that, I’d definitely recommend reading the books before the show, especially with the world building aspects that it gives you. For someone who hasn’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I could imagine how confusing it might be to understand the world of grisha, where everything is on the map, and how grisha abilities work. This is when the books definitely come in handy. I found myself explaining all of this to the person I was watching with and it wasn’t particularly clear in terms of the understanding of the show. 

The Books or The Show?

Don’t make me choose! 

I loved each of these books so much. Watching Alina’s story as she fought the Darkling and saved Ravka was such a beautiful and intense story. With each book I found myself falling harder for each of these characters and becoming more and more attached. 

The show was incredible. I feel like the actors really managed to grasp the concept of each of their characters and portray them in a way that I found myself agreeing with. It was so cool to see the characters I had been reading about for pretty much the entire month of April come to life right before my eyes. I was able to see little quotes and quirks that I understood immediately from reading the books only days before watching. 

Each episode was a complete rollercoaster. 

That being said, I love how the producers incorporated the crows into the Shadow and Bone story. I feel like this is the backstory of how Inej got her Sankta Alina knife, and how the trio of Kaz, Inej, and Jesper were able to come even closer together as a family. 

While it was lovely to see all of these characters in one space, I can’t help but wonder how the Six of Crows stories will be added into the show. 

Spoilers for the show ahead!

During the last episode, Kaz is given a necklace or something with expensive jewels on it, and this is going to be used to buy the freedom of Inej, and a whole load of other things. They’ll be rich basically. And while this is amazing for the crows, I’m just wondering how the Ice Court from Six of Crows would be played out, how Crooked Kingdom would take place, everything. 

We see Nina and Matthias on the same boat as Jesper, Kaz, and Inej in the last episode, which means that the majority of our crew is together. We’re still waiting on Wylan (who I hope will appear with Nikolai in season 2)! 

“Oh, I see. I’m the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!”

She poked him in the chest.

“Stop that.”

“No. I’m beguiling you.”

While our crew is finally coming together, if the crows are rich, then what purpose does the Ice Court do for them? Does it even happen? 

I’d love to see Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom portrayed through the show with these incredible actors, especially if we see more of Ketterdam. 

Changes from the Books to the Show

There were definitely a few changes that caught my eye while watching the show. 

I’m pretty sure that Alina is Ravkan in the books, however, in the show, she is part Shu. While this isn’t a huge change, it’s still important in terms of diversity between the character. 

Another huge difference from the Shadow and Bone trilogy is obviously that Kaz and his crew are in the show. This is a change I can’t help but be happy about. 

We also didn’t get to see the backstory of the Darkling in the books, which I’m pleased to say that it was in the show. It was so cool to see his side of the creation of the Fold and kind of what happened there. He isn’t much of a villain as much as he’s doing what he believes is right. 

In the show, we’re able to see Mal’s point of view quite regularly which was a nice change. I have to admit that show Mal is far superior to book Mal. From his point of view alone we can interpret his feelings for Alina as being stronger than they were in the books. I had a difficult time with Mal’s character in the books but in the show I found myself loving his point of view and how he’s struggled his way towards Alina. 


I loved the show, I loved the books. The grishaverse is so well thought out and Bardugo does such a great job of pulling it all together for eight episodes that I’m definitely going to rewatch over and over again. 

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