Shadow and Bone

     Game of Thrones fans that are still brooding over the loss of one of television’s most iconic shows of the past decade, well brood no more, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone will surely heal that suffering.  Netflix’s newest fantasy- adventure series Shadow and Bone, is sure to unite fans of Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of The Rings and Game of Thrones, as well as fans new to the whole fantasy genre into this intricate world of magic.

  Shadow and Bone is based off the best -selling young adult fantasy series from author Leigh Bardugo and is the first book in the Grisha trilogy. Instead of following in the footsteps of many popular fantasy series; and placing its world in a pseudo medieval Britain, this series is set in Tsarist inspired Russia. Events take place in a kingdom called Ravka, which is being ravaged by civil war. Most of Ravka's cities are cut off from the sea and separated by a vast strip of land called the Unsea or the Fold, where a dark ominous like fog hovers over the barren land; and murderous creatures called vocra live. Only the most skilled travelers attempt to make the journey across the Fold.

   The series heroin, Alina Starkov, potrayed by the talented Jessie Mei Li, is a teenage orphan and map maker for the Ravka army. On an expedition into the Fold, Alina unintentionally uses a supernatural power that she did not know she possessed to save her childhood friend and fellow orphan, Mal from being killed by a vocra.  After using her hidden power, Alina attracts the attention of the Grisha. The Grisha are humans gifted with supernatural powers to manipulate elements that they use against Ravka’s enemies. Alina is summoned by the Grisha’s leader, the Darkling also known as General Kirigan, portrayed by Ben Barnes. The Darkling realizes that Alina’s power is valuable, which makes her a target to Ravka’s enemies. The Darkling rushes Alina to the palace in the capital and presents her to the king and queen. Alina learns that she has the ability to summon light, which can be used to cross the Fold. The Darkling takes Alina under his wing and has her trained to use and control her newfound gift. Alina's special ability attracts attention from people in Ravka, and many began to revere her as the fabled saint known as, the Sun Summoner who can offer safe passage across the Fold. Alina also attracts some unwanted attention from a group of rouge criminals, that intend to kidnap her for a hefty reward of four million.

   Shadow and Bone is a fun, fast paced action- packed series that can easily be binged in a few days. Bardugo’s world is rich in detail, although the series has some familiar fantasy tropes, Bardugo has created a complex world where each city that's visited has its own unique flair filled with fascinating characters. The series fun- filled, adventure set tone evens out the more serious and political aspects in the story. There are plenty of colorful characters and great comic relief, mainly from kaz Brekker and his crew.  Brekker’s crew consists of the quick gun slinger and pretty boy, Jesper Fahey, portrayed by Kit Young, and the beautiful knife wielding fighter and spy, Inej Ghafa, portrayed by actress Amita Suman, and Kaz, the leader and mastermind of the small group put together to kidnap Alina is portrayed by Freddy Carter.

   Many of the characters stories are separate from Alina's storyline, but come together over the course of the eight episodes. It's obvious that these characters will be key players in the future and will somehow impact Alina life down the road.     

   The Darkling, whose dark and tragic backstory will have you either understanding him, despising him or both, and I really love morally grey characters and well written villains. As Ben Barnes has shown us with his character in The Punisher, he's great at pulling off those kind of tortured soul roles. He embodies these characters with an unexplained passion that leave viewers stunned. I find the Darkling fascinating and feel that he's one of the most intriguing characters so far, his backstory and fascination with Alina will offer some insight into some of the events that plague their world. His and Alina's chemistry will have you begging for a romance for a bit, and their obvious flirting is fun to watch.

   The Grishas are quite interesting, because each possess a unique super power to control various elements such as wind, water, fire, and some even have healing power. Alina's ability to control light make her the most valuable asset in destroying the Fold that divides Ravka. 

   I Love how each episode ends on a bit of a cliff hanger to keep viewers coming back. There is never a dull moment and the many twists and turns will leave viewers yearning for the second season.

Shadow and Bone official trailer