Season Two of “Shadow and Bone” is released to Netflix


Season 2 of “Shadow and Bone” was released to Netflix on March 16, 2023.

Shadow and Bone, an adaptation of the “Grishaverse” trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, is a brand new fantasy series on Netflix, and it can be quite difficult to understand for new audiences. Season two was just released on March 16, 2023. The show also includes scenes from Bardugo’s duology, The Six of Crows, which surrounds three thieves involved in a heist and takes you on their journey.

If you’re new to all of this and haven’t read the Grishaverse trilogy, the terminologies and vocabulary they use in the show can be difficult to understand, but the show is overall very intriguing. Some background knowledge about this fantasy world that the characters live in is crucial to understand before reviewing the series.

The history of Ravka, a fictional nation, is made up of citizens who either are non-Grisha with no powers or Grisha with powers. Ravka has a long history of war between the Northern Fjerdians and Southern Shu Han. This entire series surrounds a young girl named Alina Starkov who is given the powers of a Grisha and who holds a special power that can save the people of Ravka from something very threatening to their nation, the Fold. The Shadow Fold is ultimately just darkness splitting east and west Ravka. Alina Starkov is a Sun Summoner, given the powers of heat and light, which help her navigate through the Fold. Alina is the only Grisha with this ability and therefore, this makes her a main target for the Shadow Summoner, a very powerful Grisha like Alina and the creator of the Fold. Alina ends up having to run away from the Darkling and his powers that he tried to use on her so that he could control her powers to manipulate the Fold.

Season one events from Shadow and Bone are continued in Season two, with Mal and Alina evading the Darkling. Mal is Alina’s best friend from the orphanage she grew up in. Their relationship also becomes closer throughout the season, much as it does in the books. As hinted in season one and thoroughly described in the novels, the two closest friends set out on a mission to discover the final amplifiers in order to stop the Darkling from gaining them and to give Alina the strength she needs to defeat the Shadow Fold. Through their activities, Ravka and other new locations and characters will be added to the Shadow and Bone universe.

There are many important events that take place in this series that also take place in the book and for these events some aspects have been slightly or dramatically changed. For the first major event, the privateer Sturmhond, who will later go by the name Nikolai, does not use the Crows to learn where Alina is in Siege and Storm, the second book in the Grishaverse series. Following their escape, the Shadow Summoner quickly found Alina and Mal and forced them onto boats bound for Ravka that later turned out to be Sturmhond-owned vessels. On their way back, they will pick up the Sea Whip, the second amplifier. The Darkling has been with them the entire time, but when Mal locates the Sea Whip and the Darkling becomes preoccupied trying to seize it, Sturmhond, his crew, Alina, and Mal all run since it turns out that Sturmhond is on their side. However, in the show, the Darkling is busy with other things instead of tracking Alina and Mal down like he does in the book while Alina is able to take the amplifier. Like in the books, Nikolai is infected with the shadow magic of the Darkling and transformed into a shadow monster, used by the Darkling as a weapon against Alina and her allies. He is brought back to normal once the Darkling is slain (this happens later on in the series but it expands more on Nikolai’s character).

Another thing we see in this series is that Baghra, the Darkling’s mother, is extremely different in many ways. One illustration is how the Darkling in the book blinded his mother. Even while he still keeps her hostage, he doesn’t use her bones to make amplifiers for Grisha and himself. In both iterations of the story, she continues to believe that her child is unsalvageable. But in the books, Baghra’s passing has a much smaller impact than it does in the TV. She may use her shadow talents to detour and destroy the shadows that are chasing their party, allowing the others to escape. She doesn’t offer herself as a sacrifice to sever the Darkling and Alina’s relationship.

Also in the show, they alter not only the circumstances under which Mal discovers he is an amplifier, but they also alter the significance of his passing. Mal does not have Baghra guide him through learning that he had Morozova blood–the most powerful Grisha. Instead, he and Alina are forced to figure it out on their own when they track down the firebird and learn that its power was transferred to Baghra’s sister when Morozova used it to bring her back to life, and the power was passed down through her bloodline for generations. In the novels, Alina kills him and gains strength for a while before losing her capacity to summon. He is revived when the Darkling is killed by some Grisha, not by Alina’s magic.

Both versions of the story end with the death of the Darkling. But unlike in the show, he wasn’t primarily responsible for his own demise. After killing Mal, Alina’s powers don’t seem to work as intended, but instead appear to be passed to the non magical Ravka troops who have accompanied her into the Fold. The Fold still collapses once Alina stabs the Darkling as she does in the television episode, but Alina’s complete victory is less certain. It appears that the sword can kill Mal because it is stained with his blood. The multitude of new Sun Summoners that Alina has just made, not her sadness, are what bring down the Fold.

Lastly, The story’s conclusion has undergone some of the most significant alterations, or rather, endings, since the characters are dispersed in ways they had never even considered in the novels. Most dramatically, Mal and Alina leave. Alina declines Nikolai’s offer in the novels, and she and Mal go back to Alina’s hometown after the Darkling’s defeat and the loss of Alina’s abilities. They rebuilt the school and orphanage there, providing the children with the compassion they lacked. It is a radical change to send Mal off to become a privateer and to crown Alina queen.

Overall, I think this series turned out amazing considering that four of Leigh Bardugo’s books were crammed into one series. This season definitely contains more plot twists and dramatic turns than season one which makes it a lot more interesting and fun to watch. The only complaint I could think of is the required book knowledge or background knowledge you need from the books to understand this series. The show does not provide you with much information on Ravka in the beginning of the seasons, so you’d have to read the books to really understand what is occurring. I also believe there were quite a few adaptations to the original content in the books in this season, and the ending was especially a shock when Mal and Alina went separate ways when Mal took on the role of a privateer.