She’s on fire

Season two of “Shadow and Bone” does not disappoint, delving deeper into numerous storylines among the characters.



Gosh, I love this show. 

Netflix’s original series, “Shadow and Bone,” returned to the screen for its second season on March 16. The show takes the storylines of the book series “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows,” both by Leigh Bardugo, and incorporates twists not seen in the books. It follows the story of Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) who discovers that she is the fabled “Sun Summoner.” She has the ability to tear down the “Fold,” a wall of darkness filled with monsters that were created by the Darkling (Ben Barnes), and her childhood best friend Malyen Orestev (Archie Renaux) helps her on the journey. These characters come from the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy, which takes place before the “Six of Crows” duology. 

Within this storyline, the showmakers mixed in the “Crows” characters, Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), a group of thieves who completed multiple heists in the first season. Two other “Crow” characters, Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) and Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman) have their own forbidden romance story separate from all the others.

The second season continues this storyline and introduces more characters from the books, such as Lewis Tan playing Tolya Yul-Bataar, Anna Leong-Brophy as Tamar Kir-Bataar, Patrick Gibson as Nikolai Lantsov and Jack Wolfe as Wylan Hendricks.

The first episode was the best hour of my life, and the rest of the season didn’t disappoint either. One of my critiques of the first season was that it felt slightly slow and everything happened in the last two episodes. With this season, however, every episode had an intriguing and compelling storyline. The costume design, special effects and sets were far superior this season. It felt so much richer and exactly how I imagined it when reading the books. The subtle details the show had, like how the camera-work and coloring changed when switching between the “Shadow and Bone” characters and the “Six of Crows” ones perfectly replicated the mood of the books. When the scenes contained the “Shadow and Bone” characters, they were more light and regal, reflecting the essence of Ravaka (the mythical country where “Shadow and Bone” primarily takes place), whereas with the “Six of Crows” characters, it’s dark and moody, capturing the gritty nature of the gang. The camera work also shifts: with the “Shadow and Bone” story, it uses longer shots with little movement (unless of course it’s a fight scene). With “Six of Crows,” the camera moves quickly, which heightens the viewer’s emotions, making them feel like they’re part of the heist, experiencing the anticipation and nervousness of the crew firsthand. 

One of my favorite things that the show does is that it actually improves the “Shadow and Bone” characters. “Six of Crows” is one of my favorite books in the entire world, however, “Shadow and Bone” didn’t have the same amount of complexity and intrigue for me as its prequel did. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I truly did, but “Six of Crows” outshined it in my eyes. The show just adds more layers and enhances Alina, Mal and the Darkling’s characters. 

The graphics weren’t the only thing that stood out this season. Each actor understands their character perfectly and plays them fantastically. The Crows portrayed their book counterparts especially well . Once again, this season, Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, Wylan and Matthias—the six Crows—were my favorite characters. Every time the camera panned to them plotting or performing a heist, I became even more enthralled in the show.

There are so many reasons why I loved this season, however, I do understand some of the complaints that other fans have. One was that it crammed too much story into an eight-episode season, and while I can see where they are coming from, I feel as if any less would not have done justice to the anticipation fans have had. Since it’s not definite that the show will be returning for a third season—fingers crossed that it does—it would make more sense to show as much as possible during this season so fans could be satisfied if it doesn’t get renewed. 

The criticism that I do have with the season is that in some aspects, they strayed away from the source material too much (like hinting at a romance between two characters who not only never even meet in the books, but one has a canonical lifelong partner). I won’t spoil anything, but some scenes and additions caught me off guard and had me praying that in future seasons (please Netflix), the book endgames come true, and that the showmakers only did this to increase the desire for a next season. Needless to say, I still loved this season so much. I understand that the show will be different from the books, and I keep them separate in my mind. The show isn’t supposed to be a word-for-word adaptation, it’s simply based on the series, and I respect what the producers are doing. 

“Shadow and Bone” is an amazing show that came from incredibly well-written books. Between the dedicated cast and crew, this series has truly become something special. No matter what happens, if it’s canceled after this season or continues for another three, “Shadow and Bone” will forever be my favorite show.