TV review: 'Shadow and Bone' a well crafted show that is worth watching

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev and Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov in "Shadow and Bone" on Netflix.

"Shadow and Bone” is a wonderfully creative and engaging show that brims with an intriguing story, characters, visuals, and a top-notch cast. 

The 8-episode Netflix series is a well-executed and magical series based on a popular series of books. While a bit complex at times, especially for those that have not read the books, the story is fascinating and truly brings a world to life and had me engaged and looking forward to watching the next episode. 

It is a fantasy series that does not fall into silliness and is clever in its approach and had me engaged from the first episode. 

Bill Choy.

There is a tense sequence where a group has to go into a very dangerous situation, and one of the items needed is a goat. What I like, without giving too much away, is it sets up what appears to be a very clear fate for the poor little goat but finds a creative and beautifully realized way to show things are not what they seem and sets up a tender, funny, and surprising moment in the show. 

Yes, there are many characters and plots, and you do really have to pay attention at times, but it is certainly worth it for me. 

“Shadow and Bone” follows orphan Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li). She is a cartographer who is reunited with her childhood friend Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux). Mal is chosen to be a part of the team that will cross the Fold. Now, the Fold is something you do not want to mess with. It is a dark and sinister place full of deadly flying monsters named Volcra.

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Alina sabotages the maps, which gives her a way to join the crew so she can be with Mal. Well, when they enter the Fold, the Volrca attack, and all seems doomed. But unbeknownst to everyone, even Alina herself, she discovers she has incredibly rare Sun Summoner abilities and unintentionally uses them to fight off the Volcra in order to protect Mal. This power intrigues General Kirigan, (Ben Barnes ) the Shadow Summoner. 

He is very powerful and brings her to The Little Place to train. While at first he seems to want to hep her, it is clear he has sinister motives in mind.

 In another part of this world, in Ketterdam, we meet some interesting characters. They are the trio of Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Inej Ghafa, (Amita Suman ), and Jesper Fahey, (Kit Young). They are competing with mob-boss Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly), for a job that pays one million kruge that involves finding Alina. This is just a very basic plot review. There is so, so much more that happens.

But, one of the joys of this series is discovering all the rich worlds created and the clever twists and turns this story takes. This is fantasy done remarkably well that crates another world but never loses sight that a great story and carters make all the difference in the world in grabbing an audience. 

The cast is beyond superb. What impressed me is that even the smaller parts are filled with masterful actors who leave an impression in only a short time on screen. Everyone is cast to perfection here. If there is an award for great casting, this show should be at the top of the list. 

Everything from the sets, costumes, and special effects is top of the line and adds to how well the show creates its world. 

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This is a series that is a superb entertainment but one with a lot to say, using this fantasy world to comment on things like race, power, fate, friendship, war, love, hate, and all that makes us human.  

The bottom line, “Shadow and Bone” is a superb show and well worth taking the time to visit this world.  

Grade: A  

Shadow and Bone is rated TV-14 for language, violence, and nudity.  

It can currently be streamed on Netflix.