Shadow and Bone: Book-to-Series Adaptation

Shadow and Bone, written by Leigh Bardugo in 2012 was recently translated into a Netflix series back in April. The show closely follows the plot of the first book in the trilogy: the plot in which Alina Starkov discovers she has special powers and is taken away to the Grisha palace in order to realize her full potential and help destroy the darkness that has been plaguing her country. Or so she thinks. 

If you tune into this show after reading only the first book in Bardugo’s trilogy expecting to see an exact play-by-play of the novel, you will definitely be in for a surprise. Thanks to showrunner and scriptwriter Eric Heisserer who wouldn’t create the show without both, Shadow and Bone meets Six of Crows in this crossover event of both books. Through this process of translation a fully new text was made, one that simultaneously has a strong relationship with its original source, yet is fully independent from it. For loyal fans of the books, it’s best to go into this show with the author’s words in mind. In an interview for the show Bardugo says, “When you write a book, you close the door on all the ‘what-ifs?’ Once it’s on the page there’s no way to revisit it, so the chance to see some of these characters interact in a way that they never interact on the page—the fact that Alina and Inej get to meet, the fact that General Kirigan, the Darkling, and Kaz face off in an alley—these are ‘what-ifs’ that I never would have gotten to explore in my books.” She added, “A lot of readers have asked me about over the years, so it was pretty spectacular to get to see them play out.” 

With that being said, as a hardcore book lover, I was extremely skeptical of merging two series within the same universe but with completely different timelines. It just doesn’t feel right, I thought. There’s no way to have the characters in the same timeline without the world imploding, I thought. How is the integrity of Shadow and Bone going to be kept when it has to be intertwined with the Six of Crows plot? And vice versa. How wrong I was. 

Before I get into how amazing this show was, I have to say that it’s taken me about two rewatches and a trip to the bookstore in order to buy the last books in the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology in order to find any thoughts other than “Squeeeeeeeeeee!” after my first viewing. 

To start off, I have to discuss the element that hooked me right off the bat—the cast. The wonderful, lovely, diverse cast who seemed as if they were picked right out of the books themselves. The script and actors worked seamlessly to capture the characters in a way that brought the book to life, even with this new take on the Grishaverse. It’s one thing for actors to play their characters from the exact source material, it’s another to embody them so well that no matter what direction they go in, they’re able to know exactly what the characters in the book would do. 

While Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Ben Barnes as General Kirigan, a.k.a. The Darkling, brought life and tension into their characters and relationships, all my doubts went away as soon as I first saw the Crows on screen. Freddy Carter as Kaz, Kit Young as Jesper, and Amita Suman as Inej took my breath away—and not just because Freddy Carter is now my phone wallpaper. The Crows righted the wrongs that I felt while reading the first book which eliminated my worries about how the show would work. During my Shadow and Bone read, I often found myself bored and needing action. There was too much exposition, too much of Alina learning about her powers and strength. I am positive that without the immersion of the action packed, heist-filled book about criminals, the show would have been dragged out in a way that left the viewers sleeping with the show on in the background. Six of Crows brought out what Shadow and Bone was missing and brought balance to the world that was originally built with the information and exposition in the first book. 

The show also righted the wrong of Malyen Oretsev played by Archie Renaux. Mal in the book was portrayed as a one note character who wasn’t likable in the slightest. I didn’t root for him and Alina in the book at all. Although I’m still a Darklina shipper, I found myself believing in their relationship a lot more in the series. The show went into depth in showing Alina and Mal’s relationship as children and showed the lengths Mal was going to in order to reunite with Alina. 

Though you can probably guess that my affection leans towards the Crows, I was still on the edge of my seat for how and when the characters from both series would finally cross paths. The more comfortable you get with the idea of creating an entirely different plot, the more excited you get watching your favorite characters interacting with each other in a way that was never possible before. It’s really something magical, and I feel like all book lovers can appreciate this new way to create and merge what they loved on the page, even though it might be different than what you imagined and were loyal to in the books. 

My only qualm about this TV series is that our Sun Summoner, Alina Starkov, was a little bland. I was unimpressed by her character in the book as well since she spent the entire time writing letters and training. My only wish is to have her develop more in the next season, with more focus on her own character and who she is as a person, and less on her relationships.

Overall, readers and non-readers alike will find something to fall in love with with the new Shadow and Bone TV series. There was just so much care and detail brought into this show, which I believe everyone can appreciate. Details such as Ravkan money in the Crow Club, keftas intricately embroidered, Genya’s tailoring with things found in nature (which is a small detail in the book, and I was pleased that’s how they made her magic work in the show as well), and an entirely new made up language really immerse people into this world. Whether it’s the characters, exquisite costumes, beautiful scenery, ingenious scriptwriting, or the magical lore that Leigh Bardugo created, I have no doubts that this should be your next binge watch or read. Or both. And when you’ve finished, you can find me in my Ketterdam sweatshirt learning how to throw knives and sharpshoot so we can talk about it together.


“‘Shadow and Bone’ Cast Break Down New Netflix Series | Around the Table | Entertainment Weekly.” YouTube, uploaded by Entertainment Weekly, 30 April 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXSB5LyD4Q8&t=412s

6 Book Series to Get You Back Into Reading

Are you looking for a new series to transport you back to the glory days of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games? Trust me, I’ve been there—worrying I’ll never find anything as good as the adventures I went on with Tris Prior and Percy Jackson. Procrastinating buying that new book in the bookstore because it could never give you the same feelings of nostalgia of reading Twilight for the first time? I get it, but it’s time to move on. There are bigger and better books out there; just as there are more characters to grow with and tropes to fall in love with. I promise. And with everything going on right now, a series is just the heavy duty escape into a magical world to occupy you for more than a few days. So, here are five book series to get your reading mojo back—adding a book to each series the further you read on.


Six of Crows—Leigh Bardugo. Starting off with this duology, Six of Crows introduces a slew of characters for you to meet: a witch hunter, sharpshooter, a former servant with a talent for stealth and knife-wielding, and many more. This character-driven plot consists of heists and cons against the Ice Court, wealthy merchants, and crime bosses. With only two books, it’s an easy way to ease back into reading.

This series is part of the Grishaverse, which means there is a separate series called The Shadow and Bone trilogy that you can read after! This series is also coming to Netflix April 23.


Caraval—Stephanie Garber. This is the first trilogy I read after my three year slump of reading, and it totally kick started my reading addiction again. These three books follow the two sisters Scarlett and Tella Dragna as they find themselves at Caraval, an exclusive once-a-year performance in which the audience gets to participate to win a special prize. Things take turn, however, when the sisters end up in a sinister game fighting for love and family.

As you dive deeper into the series, you discover mysterious forces and secrets that go back to before they were even born—all orchestrated by the anonymous ringmaster and the all-powerful Fates.


Crave—Tracy Wolff. A great recommendation for all vampire lovers, Wolff’s series takes place at Katmere Academy: a school full of shapeshifters, witches and vampires. For Grace, this is the last place she wants to be…that is, until she meets Jaxon, a charming vampire with deadly secrets. This young adult series is the next series to sink your teeth into.

The fourth book of this series comes out September 28th, 2021—plenty of time for you to catch up on this series full of twists, romance, and deep fantasy lore; so sit back, relax, and read as slow as you want to.


The Heroes of Olympus—Rick Riordan. If you took quizzes to see who your godly parent was, this five-book series is for you. Chances are, if you’ve already read the original (beloved) Percy Jackson series, then you’ve already heard about this series. Whether you brushed it off or thought it wouldn’t live up to its hype, this is your sign to finally read them. It mixes familiar faces from Camp Half Blood and introduces new ones from Camp Jupiter to unite seven half bloods to fulfill another prophecy and save the world.

The Heroes of Olympus series expands on the mythological world and gives the characters from the original series another chance to continue their story, set a couple months after The Last Olympian.


A Court of Thorns and Roses—Sarah J. Maas. Sarah J. Maas is taking the world by storm with her A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This is the first series in a long time where I’ve stayed up until two in the morning just to finish reading. Classified as a “New Adult” genre, this series can be described as Beauty and the Beast meets magical kingdom of faeries. If you’re into amazing world building and obsessing over characters, I highly recommend it, 11/10. While only four books are out on the market right now, Maas is under contract to write two more, ensuring the perfect amount of satisfaction and anticipation in a series. 

P.S. If you like this series you can level up and go for Sarah J. Maas’ seven book series, Throne of Glass. Psst…this series is completed. Yay!


The Stormlight Archive—Brandon Sanderson. Last but not least, we have Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re not afraid of commitment, I highly suggest it and I applaud you for diving head first into reading again. Although there are only four books out, there are ten planned.

So, if you’re ready to invest six to ten years on a series, this one is perfect to get you back into the reading saddle. Happy reading!

6 Podcasts for Aspiring Authors

Podcasts are quickly growing as one of the most popular online storytelling mediums. One genre that has developed (thank the book gods) are ones that inspire, encourage, and inform you about the ins and outs of the writing world and help jumpstart your creativity. Below, I’ve compiled six amazing podcasts for writers who hope to one day share their creations with the world—or maybe even just their closest friends. These podcasts share everything from ways to make that story just a little extra special to the best ways to get a story published, giving you insider tips and tricks for whatever writing journey you’re on. I encourage you to check these ones out anywhere you get your podcasts (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, just to name a few), and to explore what other book-ish podcasts are out there.


88 Cups of Tea—Yin Chang. 88 Cups of Tea is a great podcast if you’re looking for that “just sat down with my friend that gives the best advice while drinking a relaxing chamomile tea” vibe. I recommend this podcast for anyone who is looking to find out more about crafting advice, lifestyle habits that nurture creativity, and overcoming rejections in a gentle, encouraging delivery. This nurturing and supportive environment is great for any writer that might be scared to take that first step into the writing community. Don’t worry, the host Yin Chang will be delighted to have you, and already has a cup of tea waiting.


Write or Die—Claribel A. Ortega and Kat Cho. If you’re more of a tough-love-gets-the-job-done kind of a person, the Write or Die Podcast hosted by authors Claribel A. Ortega and Kat Cho will definitely push you outside your writing comfort zone by spilling all of the dirty, insider secrets of what it actually takes to become an author. The authors take you through the many challenges of what it takes to get published—time, energy, thousands of rejections, and many, many tears. However, they also talk about how many authors pushed through that and are now living their dreams. This podcast answers the question: Do you have what it takes to become an author?


Pub(lishing) Crawl—Various Authors. Pub(lishing) Crawl is led by a group of authors and industry professionals who dive deep into all things “reading, writing, books, and booze.” You get an insider perspective on industry secrets such as crafting a pitch, characters, publishing relationships, and many other techniques that publishers are specifically looking for. You know how you’re supposed to do a crazy amount of research on the company you want to work for? This podcast takes all the guesswork of knowing what publishers want and simply tell you the nitty-gritty inner workings of publishing companies.


The Happy Writer—Marissa Meyer. I may be a little biased on this one, but The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer—my favorite author, by the way—is one of my go-to podcasts. It is by authors for every writer, whether pro or beginner. Meyer and her guests join together for a fun chat about rejection, imposter syndrome, writer’s block and how to overcome all of it so that you can be…a happy writer! This podcast is great for talking about how writers can bring more joy to their writing process. Not only should writing be about getting published, but also about releasing stress, imagination, and writing about what makes you inspired.


Helping Writers Become AuthorsK.M. Weiland. WARNING: Information Overload! K.M. Weiland has a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of attitude that is perfect for an information dump about “summoning inspiration, crafting solid characters, outlining and structuring novels, and polishing prose.” She educates her audience about writing and editing something that is good enough to see the light of day. The name of the podcasts speaks for itself, and anyone who listens to this will gain helpful knowledge about making your creations the best they can be.


Deadline City—Dhonielle Clayton and Zoraida Córdova. Sit down with Dhonielle Clayton and Zoraida Córdova to talk about things they’ve experienced in the time they’ve published 40 books. This podcast is incredibly fun as these New York City–based authors talk about “YA fiction, editing, reading reviews, and burnout.” Think of them as your two older sisters/best friends who just want the best for you and your writing endeavors. This is what I imagine each time I listen to them talk about love triangles or Hollywood adaptations of books. They’re young, fun and honest, but still know a thing or two about what lies beyond the industry curtain.