Shadow and Bone, an eight-episode Netflix fantasy series, is based on Leigh Bardugo’s young-adult Grishaverse novels. Ahead of its release on April 23, here’s everything you need to know about it:
What’s it about?
Set in the fictional kingdom of Revka (based on Imperial Russia), the series follows Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a teenage mapmaker who has the power to summon light, leading her to be called the ‘sun summoner’. Alina is taken to train with the Grisha, an army of people blessed with the ability to bend elements to their will (similar to the benders from Avatar). There are those who can control wind, fire, water and even life. The Grisha is led by General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), a shadow summoner who can manipulate darkness.
What makes Alina special?
Revka is divided by The Fold, a large swathe of impenetrable darkness containing winged creatures that attack anyone who enters. This makes trade between the different parts of the kingdom hard. Alina, with her ability to conjure up light, might be the only person able to dispel this darkness.
How does the show differ from the books?
Bardugo, an Israeli-American novelist, wrote the first Grishaverse book, Shadow and Bone, in 2012. This was followed by two more from the Grisha trilogy. The extended universe includes two Six of Crows books and two King of Scars books (with more expected to follow).
The series is based on the original trilogy as well as the Six of Crows books. Despite the two being very different, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer and Bardugo came up with a way to combine both narratives. You can also expect the show to be a lot more diverse than the books — Bardugo has stated that while her first book echoed the ‘white Chosen One’ fantasies she grew up reading, casting actors of different ethnicities became a priority for the show.