Others · Reviews

Let’s Talk Shadow and Bone

I won’t sit here and pretend that one of the reasons I made this blog isn’t to be able to talk even more about Shadow & Bone, specifically about the crows.

Just like every other person on the book community I had been waiting eagerly for Shadow & Bone to come out, although I admit my enthusiasm had been somewhat lacking for a bit. Mainly because the Six of Crows character mean a lot to me and I was scared they were going to get them wrong, so I was waiting for the worst and hoping for the best. And I have to say I was (mostly) very pleased with the result.

Let’s get into it!

First of all, if by any chance you have been living under a rock and have missed this, here’s a trailer:

I will say this right off the bat: I didn’t enjoy the Shadow & Bone trilogy at all when I read them, so I had little interest in that part of the show (great start, I know), and having them mix that story line with the crows made me nervous to say the least. Okay, I was actually mad about it, quite a bit, but since there was nothing to do I just let it go and hopped that they would deliver a great portrayal of the characters from Six of Crows.

My thoughts on the different plot lines:

-Shadow and Bone:

This is the hardest for me to review because I simply don’t like the source material. HOWEVER, the show actually made me like this plot a bit more. This is mainly thanks to the cast and the fact that we’re not stuck in Alina’s boring brain.

The best: The fact that they actually made Mal likable. Nobody thought that was possible but Archie Renaux managed it. Yay for no slut-shaming or possessiveness! Him and Jessie Mei Li’s chemistry actually had me rooting for Malina. That and the fact that I can’t stand the Darkling (I’m sorry Ben Barnes).

Mal (Archie Renaux) and Alina (Jessie Mei Li) from Shadow and Bone

The worst: The added racism subplot. I don’t know if I can even call it a subplot, they just threw some comments around and never actually addressed it. I think that if they wanted to add that they should’ve taken some time to unpack it. Kate over at Your Tita Kate talks about this much more eloquently!

Also, Alina’s amplifier. It is a sight I very much wish to unsee.

Overall, I’m sad to report that I still don’t care all that much about Alina & co.

-Six of Crows (Kaz, Inej, Jesper):

I had a plan to make all of my non-reader friends fall in love with the crows, and all my chances of accomplishing this were resting on how this trio was presented in the show. Aaand, I am happy to declare victory. One of my friends even read (more like devoured) the duology! 👏

Mal (Archie Renaux) and Alina (Jessie Mei Li) from Shadow and Bone

Despite being mostly very pleased with the portrayal, there were still some things I didn’t particularly enjoy, namely, the plot. When we are introduced to the Dregs in Six of Crows, we meet a ruthless group of criminals with outstanding wit and resources to accomplish what they want without fail. On the contrary, the show gives us crows who simply cannot get it right. What did they manage in 8 episodes? Absolutely nothing. I still enjoyed seeing them run around, but the impact they had on me (or the story, really) was considerably reduced.

I do have high hopes that if we get a second season we’ll actually get the Six of Crows plot line. And considering how things left off, I think chances are pretty high.

The best: The cast, particularly for Inej and Jesper (although there is something to say for the issue of colorism in casting, as Chronicles of Noria explains it here). Both Amita Suman and Kit Young embodied their respective characters flawlessly. And perhaps I am slightly biased, but Jesper absolutely stole the show.

The worst: The aforementioned plot and *clears throat* Kaz’s watered-down personality. Don’t get me wrong, I think Freddy Carter did a fantastic job with what he was handed, it’s just that he wasn’t given great material. It definitely feels unfair to say it’s “the worst”, because I still enjoyed show Kaz, but I can’t help comparing him to book Kaz, and in that regard he’s definitely lacking.

Also, the erasure of Jesper’s bisexuality. He’s clearly being presented as gay (they even gave him an unnecessary sex scene), when it would’ve been so easy to address that he’s bisexual…

If we get a second season I hope they make changes to some of these things while keeping everything they did right.

-Six of Crows, but not quite (or Nina and Matthias):

This is an adaptation done right. Which isn’t surprising considering the source material is great and they were intelligent enough to pull the dialogue right out of it. I reread Six of Crows after finishing the show and I was surprised to see that the scenes were exactly the same. The end result shows that it was definitely the right choice.

The best: The dynamics between the character. The chemistry between Danielle Galligan and Calahan Skogman simply cannot be denied.

Nina (Danielle Galligan) and Matthias (Calahan Skogman) from Shadow and Bone

The worst: The wasted chance at fat representation in a mainstream show. Despite Danielle’s great performance I think it is a real shame that they simply chose to ignore that Nina is canonically chubby in the books, and that there is power in that. Charley Ann talks about it more in her video on the topic.

All in all, I really loved the show and I’m looking forward to a second season. If it does get one I would love to see them hopefully address the racism sub-plot as well as progressively developing Kaz to bring him closer to the original. Also, I’d adore it if we got the Six of Crows heist plot, so fingers crossed for that! 🤞

What are your thoughts on the show? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? What is something you would like to see if it gets renewed for a second season?

3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Shadow and Bone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s