Shadow and Bone: An Accurate Adaptation or Just an Exceptional TV Series?

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the Grishaverse and an Executive Producer of Shadow and Bone
Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

Leigh Bardugo is the author of the Grishaverse and an Executive Producer of Shadow and Bone Photo by: Wikimedia Commons

The long-awaited second season of Shadow and Bone was released on Netflix on March 16, 2023. The TV series is based on the Grishaverse, a collection of book series written by Leigh Bardugo. Season one is based on the first book in the Shadow and Bone series, and season two bounces between books, with multiple plotlines occurring at once.


In the beginning, I was a little disappointed in the plotline of season two because it covers the last two books in the Shadow and Bone series, and the last book in the Six of Crows duology. This is a lot to tackle in one season, and attempting this led to a loss of important events.


In the first episode alone there is a lot of missing content. A good portion of Siege and Storm was omitted, where the characters are sailing on a boat, which is understandable because a long boat ride could get boring very quickly. However, this also means they skipped over the first encounter with the Darkling in Siege and Storm, prolonging the inevitable confrontation between Alina and the Darkling.


Another thing that differs from the books is the portrayal of Crooked Kingdom. In the books, Six of Crows is the first book in the series, and then Crooked Kingdom, but the TV series has chosen to ignore that and include the Crooked Kingdom plot line without any Six of Crows plot. However, this gives me hope that they’re saving the Six of Crows plotline for a later date, but it upsets me because Six of Crows includes important character and relationship development that’s vital to Crooked Kingdom. There have also been rumors of a separate Six of Crows spin-off show in development, which I hope might do the Six of Crows plotline justice.


As for characters, I feel as though the casting is very accurate for both seasons. In particular, I think that Freddy Carter does a particularly exceptional job of portraying Kaz Brekker in season two. Patrick Gibson, who was cast as Nikolai Lantsov, encapsulates Nikolai’s wit and humor perfectly.


Some characters were killed early like Marie and David, and others were missing from the show entirely, like Misha. While they play smaller parts, it’s somewhat disappointing that these characters don’t appear in the show as much as they do in the book.


I think that some parts of the show might be difficult to understand if you don’t have the advantage of reading the books, but Shadow and Bone is still an amazing TV show. The acting was nothing to complain about, and the actors have a kind of chemistry with each other that enhances the show. I’m grateful that Bardugo is an executive producer on the show, which means she was actively involved during the production.


Overall, Shadow and Bone was an enjoyable show, and even though it lacked some aspects of the books, it was one of the better book-to-movie adaptations I’ve seen. I eagerly await any future Grishaverse content from Bardugo!