Shadow and Bone season two hits Netflix, sparks criticism and praise

Peyton Lewis ’23, Editor-in-Chief

On March 16, the heavily anticipated second season of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone hit the streaming platform worldwide. The series was adapted from author Leigh Bardugo’s best selling trilogy of the same name. While the show quickly jumped to Netflix’s number one spot, it was also met with heavy criticism from fans of the novels. Shadow and Bone’s show writer Eric Heissener took some creative liberties adapting the novels with which many fans were not happy.

Shadow and Bone follows main character Alina Starkov, who after discovering her ability to summon light, finds herself tasked with destroying “The Fold”—a shadowy hellscape home to deadly creatures—which divides her home country of Ravka in two. The main criticism from fans was the deviation from the novel’s original timelines. The second season combined elements from Bardugo’s last two novels in the trilogy: Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. The show also incorporated characters and storylines from Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, which is set after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Senior Kristina Link said, “I am so happy the crows not only had a side plot of their own but also played a larger role in the main plot this season. However, due to there being so many plots being squished into one season, the timing felt rushed.” With only an eight-episode season, many fans felt that the storylines were underdeveloped due to writers cramming so many characters and storylines into one season. 

Despite the show being adapted from the Shadow and Bone trilogy, it was actually the Six of Crows characters—more commonly referred to as just “The Crows”—that stole the spotlight. Freddy Carter gave an immaculate performance as Kaz Brekker—a young, deadly, criminal mastermind and leader of The Crows. His performance as the bastard of the barrel perfectly embodied the spirit of the character. Link noted, “Kaz’s ruthless and aloof demeanor was captured perfectly by Carter, and I could not take my eyes off the screen during all the fight scenes.”  This season featured many action packed, film style fight scenes. The use of slo-motion during many of these scenes created seat gripping suspense for viewers.

Due to the popularity of the Six of Crows characters, Netflix has teased a possible spin-off themed around the duology. According to Entertainment Weekly, “Heisserer confirms the fate of this concept depends on how well Shadow and Bone season 2 performs with viewers on Netflix…However, there is a plan in place should he get the official go ahead.”While there were some questionable changes made from the source material, overall, the second season of Shadow and Bone was an enjoyable, entertaining experience. Fans were able to see some of their favorite book characters and plotlines brought to life. It will be interesting to see how the series continues in the future, whether that includes a third season or the heavily anticipated Six of Crows spin off.

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