Shadow and Bone spoiler free full review:

  • May 13, 2021

Dark requires none; it exists on its’ own, surviving and thriving on deceit and other’s ignorance. However, light does not exist alone, it is present in hearts even in the darkest of days, and it symbolizes empathy and a way out, as every living being anxiously waits for light.

If you are stuck home during this Eid, allow yourself to experience the new hit Netflix show, which has a mixture of action, adventure, character depth, dark world building, deep rooted drama story, with bits of comedy and light tones as well.

The Netflix series Shadow and Bone revolve around the time-honoured theme where there is the light of hope and the Shadow Fold, a vicious, malevolent passage separating the East and West Ravka. The passage is full of horrifying, blood-thirsty creatures called volcras. Shadow and Bone is a fantasy story based on the mythical land of Ravka, where people with magical powers named Grisha exist.

The protagonist Alina grows up in an orphanage in East Ravka while living as an average human without powers with only her best friend Mal is her only support there. Things take a turn after she accidentally discovers that she is not just an ordinary human. After the fated incident, Alina has to come to terms with who she is and deal with entering a whole new world to find the mysteries of the Fold.

Meanwhile, on the west side of the Fold, in Ketterdam, there are people called the Crows (Kaz, Jesper and Inej) -a group of thieves, assassin and a spy, who are out to secure a job that would give them immense wealth to last them a lifetime. They later find the job has a close connection to the Shadow Fold as well.

The show indeed succeeded in building up the suspense in every episode and keeping viewers captivated for what’s about to follow next. The thrilling plot leaves viewers wary of every character and in constant conflicts on which side to pick.

Conventionally, when the genre is fantasy, we don’t expect reality or relatability, but Shadow and Bone undoubtedly brings everything into the mix.

The show finds many women on their journey of empowerment, Alina, as she learns that she needs to become an entirely different person, Inej, who makes up her mind to do what she wants to do and not just follow Kaz. Even though we have a lot of series in this particular field, the unique aspect about Shadow and Bone is that it takes a step-by-step approach, making it believable and inspiring the viewers to go on their journey of empowerment with the belief that it is possible.

Shadow and Bone also manages to portray the significance money hold for people in different classes of society. For one person, having money meant freedom from a life she was forced to live, and for another, a life where he could fulfil his every desire. Some glimpses of class struggle are vaguely shown in the show when we see people in the lower socio-economic hierarchy being frustrated at the upper class for not giving them equal respect. The cracks of modern-day progressive society are also present in the show. Even though society should be equal for everyone in the status quo, we still see powerful people preying on vulnerable ones as they don’t answer to anyone. Shadow and Bone give us an escape from the stressful lives that we lead and urges us to think about the social issues that plague our lives, touching on topics that are sometimes considered taboo.

Through the mixed heritage of Alina, the series manifests the alienation that people with cross-cultural identities experience. A sense of helplessness and the value of freedom is also expressed in the show through the plight of a character who was a victim of human trafficking. This show offers a bit of respite for anyone who may feel similar, empathizes with them, and presents a way out.
The show did have some romance, showing how complicated feelings can lead to complex relationships and chemistries between different people. This is something Netflix seems to be doing quite often recently. Jesper’s sexuality as a queer person was revealed in the show, but the showrunners didn’t expand on it. Overall, romance lovers may be a bit disappointed, but season 2 promises to have a fair share, expanding on the chemistry introduced with the characters.

One of the fantastic things about this show was that every character had a story to tell. Be it Genya, the Grisha tailor who could wipe out every ugly scar except the ones in her life, and Zoya – the Grisha who pined for a person for years but didn’t hesitate to go against him when her conscience told her to. With the multitude of character development and character story the show never gets monotonous, as the viewer discovers new gripping details all the time.

The show has the optimum amount of edge-of-your-seat moments and just enough reality to keep viewers delighted but not overwhelmed. Thus, even if you absolutely detest an imaginary world, watch this show as a touch of truth will keep you hooked, and who knows, you may even start to like fantasy!

7.9/10 on IMDB

Written by Shararah Kibria