‘Shadow and Bone’: new member of the "poor book adaptation club"

This season tries to cover too much ground and misplaces its focus in the process
Photo: Netflix

You have an exquisite recipe and all the essential ingredients to make the perfect dish but somehow you still manage to fumble. If it isn't conspicuous enough already, let me make it clear that I am indeed talking about the recent member of "poor book adaptation club", aka the new season of Shadow and Bone. Book adaptations have always been a risky game but Netflix's Shadow and Bone fared well in making a somewhat scrupulous translation of the first book of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Even though it occasionally let go of the original tale and contrived new storylines, the cardinal essence wasn't truly lost. 

But the second outing of the show not only fumbles, it ends up stringently as a wasted potential with sloppy execution. This season starts with Alina and Mal finding their way through Novyi Zem with Darkling managing to escape the fold on the other side. The crows too find their own share of conflict in Ketterdam. Throughout the entire season, the main goal for Alina and almost everyone involved is to destroy the fold and defeat General Kirigan. 

The first episode is entirely spent on reintroducing the old characters. After that, it feels too fast, too overstuffed with plotlines. An endless conveyor belt of new characters is launched into the story without proper introduction. The show overflows with multiple storylines and rapid-fire plot revelations which are barely given enough time to breathe let alone expand into more.

One of the biggest predicaments I had with this season is that they had ample source material at their disposal; but instead of making use of that, they relentlessly slashed their way through to get to the ending. It seemed as if the creators of the show plucked out what they liked from the books and put it in a blender without giving a thought to the final product. Instead of the characters' decisions taking the plot forward, the plot seemed to be deciding the characters' actions. There was little to no time spent on exploring the emotional fallout from the events that took place. Crafted characters were butchered in their quest to merely reach the finish line. Some individual parts worked and they single handedly saved a season which had all the makings of a disaster. 

Major subplots were entirely missing from the second and third books of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. We do not get to see Alina's growing hunger for power or her struggle towards finding her identity where people either see her as a political pawn or a saint. David and Genya's storyline remains abysmally callow whereas Nikolai is mostly used as a character foil. There was a significant discrepancy in the execution of the characters as well, if we were to compare them to the books. The allure of Kaz Brekker aka Dirtyhands is his ability to plan hundred steps ahead. But here, Kaz lets his raw emotions cloud his judgment and his vision is blurred by revenge as he destroys the crow club out of rage. Even the motivations of Darkling become muddled by the end and his character becomes one dimensional. His Grisha army's depiction too is caricaturish as the "stereotypical evil guys". None of the new characters are fleshed out enough to connect with the audience either.

Perhaps my disappointment brews from the fact that as a reader I wanted a faithful adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse. This season tries to cover too much ground and misplaces its focus in the process. At times it feels like two different shows. The biggest disservice was done to Alina Starkov, the star of the series who is often relegated to being a side character.

Squashing four books' worth of material into eight episodes can perhaps be blamed on Netflix's infamous cancellation policy of their shows. Shadow and Bone becomes another victim of the changing landscape of modern entertainment. Now the rippling effects of this season's mess remain to be seen: will Netflix greenlight a third season? 

May the Saints have mercy on the fans' broken hearts! 

Nawshin Flora is currently daydreaming about catching up to her never ending TBR list. Remind her to get enough sleep at [email protected]



৬ ঘণ্টা আগে|শিক্ষা

‘চলমান মেগা প্রকল্পগুলো শেষ হলে, শিক্ষাখাতে মেগাপ্রকল্প শুরু করা যাবে’

শিক্ষামন্ত্রী দীপু মনি বলেছেন, 'আমাদের যে মেগা প্রকল্পগুলো চলছে, সেগুলোর কাজ শেষ হলে আমি বিশ্বাস করি শিক্ষাখাতে মেগা প্রকল্পের কাজ শুরু করা যাবে। শিক্ষাই হবে আমাদের মেগাপ্রজেক্ট।'