Her Name is Alina Starkov: A Shadow and Bone Review

The Deal is the Deal. And Netflix’s show is definitely the real deal.

Joshua Beck

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Image Credit: Netflix

I’ll preface this review with a simple fact: I’ve never read a single book in the GrishaVerse. I’ve seen Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone at the bookstore enough times to have been familiar with the covers, but I had absolutely no knowledge of what kind of story was within the pages.

And when Netflix dropped the first trailer for Shadow and Bone, I admit that I was intrigued, but I wasn’t exactly sold. I’ve been a little leery of Netflix’s fantasy offerings, as I’ve found they can be very hit (Witcher) or miss (Cursed… ok, I didn’t hate Cursed, but you’ll notice I also didn’t bother to write any reviews of it either). More than anything, my interest was peaked by the casting of Ben Barnes, an actor I hadn’t really seen in anything since Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader (and a handful of Westworld episodes). And once a king or queen of Narnia, always an actor I’m going to want to see again… or however that phrase went.

So if I’m being incredibly honest with you, I was not expecting to love Shadow and Bone nearly as much as I did. But saints, did I love this show.

Spoilers Ahead

Image Credit: Netflix

Regarding Netflix’s fantasy shows, Shadow and Bone feels more Witcher than Cursed. It isn’t R-rated, doesn’t have quite the level of violence, nudity, or language that Witcher has, but in many ways, it feels like a spiritual cousin of that epic series.

The show has a very lived-in feeling to it, meaning that I’m hard-pressed in any episode to find the “Hollywood seams”. I think you probably know what I mean by that. There are fantasy and sci-fi movies/shows out there where you can almost “see” the production of it. Maybe not so far as a Starbucks cup sitting on the table in Winterfell, but there are some shows and movies that don’t feel like a lived-in world, like you can tell that none of what you are seeing on screen existed before the cameras started rolling. The costuming feels produced, the sets feel like sets, the props might be something…

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