Review: 'Shadow and Bone' is a compelling fantasy but squanders opportunities with its breakneck pacing

The novel Shadow and Bone has been on my reading list for so long that in the time I’ve been putting off starting the series, Netflix has made it into a show.

Netflix released a new fantasy series Friday based on the book Shadow and Bone, the first in a trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

The first season of "Shadow and Bone" was released with eight episodes that are around fifty minutes each, and the show is currently number one trending on U.S. Netflix.

The show is set in a kingdom where a patch of darkness they call “the Fold,” plagued with monsters and all-around bad stuff, separates the land. No one is a fan of the Fold, but trips through it are necessary to transport goods.

The Grisha are people with special abilities, and Alina Starkov is an important one. The show follows her struggle with power and identity, as well as a crew of criminals whose stories intersect with hers.

I try to make a habit not to watch too much TV during the semester because I tend to become overly invested in them, but this was an exception. I hate being left out of conversations, and this show sparked quite a few.

So naturally, I sat down and watched the entire thing in one afternoon.

"Shadow and Bone" watches like a movie. The flow from episode to episode felt natural without the awkwardness I usually find happens with TV shows. Every scene seemed essential, rather than dragged out.

I usually prefer fast-paced shows, but this show covered a lot of ground very quickly. For someone who had never read the books before, it was a little confusing at first to keep up with the locations and people.

Eventually, I got it. Kind of. I still have only a vague understanding of what the Grisha are capable of and what abilities they have. I thought the show felt rushed, missing a lot of chances for deeper character development, and ran through the interesting parts too quickly. It was a lot of plot they tried to fit into only eight episodes.

It was entertaining, but I just wish they had given us more episodes to slow down the pace and explain the world a bit more.

That being said, I liked the show. I really did. I watched it for nearly eight hours and still didn’t think it was enough. I would recommend any adventure or fantasy lover to give it a try. It’s filled with action and interesting characters who are hard not to love.

If anything, I’d recommend watching it just to admire the stunning costumes and sets. The show’s attention to detail is impressive, from the embroidered clothes to the gorgeous maps. It truly felt like a world of its own.

And if that isn’t reason enough, there’s also a little goat that goes by the name of Milo sprinkled throughout the show. The other characters are great and all, but personally, Milo is my favorite.

@aivylinaa

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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