• Hung Nguyen

One of Netflix’s best adaptations: ‘Shadow and Bone’

Netflix's original series "Shadow and Bone" released on Friday, April 23, and it has already left fans wanting more. This fantasy adventure show is an adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's bestselling Grishaverse novels. This beautiful adaptation follows the "Shadow and Bone" trilogy and "The Six of Crows" duology.

"Shadow and Bone" poster. Credit: Netflix's Instagram


The Grishaverse is a fantasy world influenced by tsarist Russia of the 19th century. The country where most of the story takes place is Ravka. Ravka is split into an eastern and western half because of a stripe known as the Fold. The Fold was created by the Darkling; inside is complete darkness brimming with volcras, or monsters. Fjerda border Ravka in the north and Shu Han in the south, and coincidentally all the countries on this continent hate each other. Due to all of them being enemies, the only way for eastern and western Ravka to interact is to go through the deadly Fold. However, there is a legend that a Sun Summoner (Alina Starkov) will appear to obliterate the Fold. There is an island known as Kerch (bottom center of the map below), and that is where our other three main characters are from. Ravka has two armies, the first being occupied by normal humans and Grisha occupying the second army.

Map of the Grishaverse. Credit: Netflix's Twitter

In the Grishaverse, there are people known as Grisha who can use small science, essentially magic. Grisha are separated into three orders: Corporalki, Etherealki, and Materialki. These three orders are further divided into different types. In the Ravkan second army, Grisha get their own color, kefta, according to their order. The color of the kefta embroidery on the cuffs and hems indicates what Grisha type they are in their respective order.

  • Corporalki: The Order of the Living and the Dead (Red Kefta)

  • Healers: Able to heal others

  • Heartrender: Able to damage someone's internal organs

  • Tailoring (Unique): Able to change someone's appearance

  • Etherealki: The Order of Summoners (Color Blue)

  • Squallers: Control wind

  • Inferni: Control fire

  • Tidermakers: Control water

  • Shadow Summoner (Unique): Control darkness (The Darkling is a Shadow Summoner)

  • Sun Summoner (Unique): Summon light (Our main character, Alina Starkov)

  • Materialki: The Order of Fabrikators (Color Purple)

  • Durast: Manipulate any solid

  • Alkemi: Specialize in chemicals such as powders and poison


This "Games of Throne" meets "Legend of Korra" is absolute perfection; the characters/cast, costumes, world-building, and CGI are top-notch, making this show a must-see.

With most of the cast being newcomers, they did an amazing job portraying their characters, leaving a lasting impression. The casts also had incredible chemistry on-and-off screen, making their portrayal of the characters even more excellent.

The main cast of "Shadow and Bone" Credit: The Young Folks

The show is inspired by 19th century Russia, and with this inspiration, lead costume designer, Wendy Patridge made a fashionable statement.

The cast and crew of "Shadow and Bone" did an exceptional job with the world-building of the Grishaverse. Many locations from the books came to life in this adaptation: the island of Kerch, the Little Palace, and the Fold.

The main hall of the Little Palace. Credit: Nerdist

When it came to the small science and the mythical creatures that roamed the Grishaverse, the CGI team did a magical job of making them come alive.

The character that spoke to me the most is Inej Ghafa, played by British actress Amita Suman. Inej is known as the Wraith, a stealthy spy who is in the criminal crew known as the Dregs. The Dregs operate in Ketterdam and they consist of Jesper, Inej, and their leader Kaz Brekker. Together they stage a coup to east Ravka wanting to kidnap Alina. Inej as a character is just so cool: her operations and fight scenes are spectacular. Her knives are my favorite part because of their allure.

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