The Grishaverse Expands

“Shadow and Bone” Releases on Netflix



Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) showcase Alina’s power as the Sun Summoner in episode one of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone.

Simon Scannell, Editor-in-Chief

   Full of magic, battles, and heists, Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” does not disappoint. The show combines elements of Leigh Bardugo’s books The Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Informally known as “The Grishaverse”, the two series explore different elements of the same world. 

   “The Grisha Trilogy” is set in Ravka, a Russian-inspired fictional country, where tensions are high. The Grisha, those with magical powers, are feared because of the power they hold. The Second Army is fighting the country to the north.  The Shadow Fold and the mountains to the south keep them from getting aid. The Shadow Fold is full of monsters who feast on the human flesh of those who dare to attempt to cross it. The only thing that can get rid of The Fold is a Sun Summoner, and Ravka’s just found one. 

   “The setting is something interesting, the idea of light and darkness being a running motif in a story sense and applied to the characters,” senior Krisona Wen said. Wen read the Shadow and Bone books in their peak popularity, but has yet to watch the show because of wanting to read “Six of Crows” first.

   Both “The Grisha Trilogy” and “Six of Crows” were incredibly popular surrounding their releases, and still remain as one of the top books. The “Shadow and Bone” book, the first of “The Grisha Trilogy”, currently has 850 holds on 129 copies at the Multnomah County Library, including an edition in Spanish. 

   “I would definitely recommend people read them (especially [Six of Crows] haha), I’ve actually been trying to get my friends and even my parents to do so. They’re very very immersive and the kind of books you can read over and over and notice new details every time, I love that about them,” junior Finn Thornton said. 

   Six of Crows is set in Ketterdam and has a less fantastical setting, though it’s set in the same world as The Grisha Trilogy. It’s a character-driven young adult heist novel with a found family dynamic. It currently has over 300 holds on 80 copies at the Multnomah County Library. 

   “[I like] the way relationships develop and characters are portrayed/ characterisation takes place. I also love the way the story is told – it’s a sort of heist/mystery/crime and you don’t know the full picture until the end,” Thornton said. 

   The books are easily accessible for readers, with easy-to-understand language. It also has interesting pieces of worldbuilding that are unique to the universe. 

   “For someone who might be new to fantasy, I would recommend Leigh Bardugo’s books… Particularly because of the tone it takes and I’m interested in seeing these characters act, especially The Darkling (played by Ben Barnes). I think after I read [Six of Crows] or vice versa,” Wen said. 

   With the popularity of the books, it was only a matter of time until it was adapted to the screen. The Netflix show Shadow and Bone was released April 23, 2021 and was almost instantly rumored to have a season two in the works.

   The show interweaves the two story lines from the book Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, and drastically changes the plot of the latter. The two storylines were shot in different manners. The Shadow and Bone storyline had wider and more static shots while the camera was constantly moving in the Six of Crows parts. This important piece of cinematography drastically changes the feeling of the show, going back and forth between a more common way for scenes to be shot, which is prevalent especially in fantasy, and a more modern feel for the Six of Crows bits. This helps keep the show more alive and interesting. 

   According to MSN reviews,  “Shadow and Bone is ultimately a diverse story about facing the darkness with your own light with an extraordinary cast driving this show.” 

   While some people may want to read the books before watching the show, the show still makes sense if you haven’t. The show was captivating and had interesting characters and worldbuilding.