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Shadow and Bone is an American fantasy streaming television series developed by Eric Heisserer for Netflix. It is based on two series of books in the Grishaverse, created by Israeli-American author Leigh Bardugo: the Shadow and Bone trilogy (2012–2014), and the Six of Crows duology (2015–2016). All eight episodes of the first season premiered on April 23, 2021. In June 2021, the series was renewed for a second season, also consisting of eight episodes.
The series adapts the story of young Alina Starkov, an orphan and cartographer of the Ravka nation’s First Army, as she discovers she is a Grisha, one with special gifts, and one long awaited to address a dire need in the universe.
The first season adapts Shadow and Bone (2013), and adds an original storyline featuring the Crows, a criminal gang for which the eponymous duology is named. The second season will adapt Siege and Storm (2013), and another original storyline featuring the Crows.
The Grisha universe consists of the nations of Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han, Kerch, Novyi Zem, and the Wandering Isle. Each adapts elements of language, culture and tradition from countries of the real world (drawn from different real time periods). Grisha are a people who have been described as “magic-users” but in their words, they are practitioners of “The Small Science” which reflects an individual gift each holds to manipulate matter at its smallest level, the “molecular level”.
Ravka is the nation with most of the Grisha as they are “usually discovered as children by traveling Grisha testers and brought to… [train in that nation’s] Second Army”. It is one of few places they can live safely and when training for the Second Army, they are divided into three orders. Etherealki summon natural elements like wind or fire, Materialki control materials such as metal and glass and Corporalki manipulate people’s bodies.
Ravka’s Second Army is led by General Kirigan who has spent his life searching for a Grisha who can summon light, the only person who could destroy the Shadow Fold (or “the Fold”)—a region of engulfing darkness, created hundreds of years ago and divides Ravka in two, the east from the west. Since then, Ravka has been at war and is now on the brink of splitting in two as the west seeks independence.
Alina Starkov turns out to be such a Grisha, and word spreads that a Sun Summoner has been found. In the Kerch capital and trading city of Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker, leader of a gang called the Crows, is hired to kidnap her; Fjerdan witch hunters are sent to kill her; the people of Ravka venerate her as a Saint. Alina must come to terms with who she is and decide whom she can truly trust as she searches for the power that will allow her to destroy the Fold and save Ravka.
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