The Grisha saga returns in the next installment of the series.

Agnieszka Stasiowska

24 March 2023

The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo quickly hit the best-seller list, becoming one of the most popular young adult series. It is not surprising, therefore, that it was decided to adapt it, the second season of the series has just appeared on Netflix.

Alone against the Fold

After a confrontation with the cruel Kirigan, Alina Starkov, accompanied by her beloved Mal, sets off in search of another amplifier. Her goal remains to destroy the Fold – a band of shadow inhabited by dangerous volcras that destroy Ravka. Meanwhile, the Crows return to Ketterdam, where an inhospitable reception awaits them.

The second season of the popular series leads the Sun Summoner into the final battle with the seemingly invincible Darkling. It seems that the action is linear, through successive amplifiers and locations – like in good old RPGs – but there are so many threads in Shadow and Bone that it’s not boring. Although all the numerous characters have their eyes turned in one direction, their separate stories keep the viewer in suspense. A great solution here was to combine the story of Alina and Wron – only the first one would not give the series its wings.

Romance chases romance

It must be remembered that Shadow and Bone is a young adult production, which means that the main plot of Alina Starkov is the weakest plot for a slightly older viewer. There is a focus on the emotional dilemmas of the main character, characteristic of this genre, which – both in terms of the script and acting – can give a toothache to a viewer who has gone through his teenage years. As usual, Alina (Jessie Mei Li) falls in love with almost everyone who looks at her – or at least those who mean anything – which causes a number of indigestible complications and some overly long and overly exalted scenes. Particularly problematic are those involving the main couple, i.e. Alina and Mal (Archie Renaux), who have been successful in a relationship based on friendship since childhood, but the romance thread in their performance is weak and unreliable. There’s a lot more on-screen chemistry between Alina and Alexander (Ben Barnes), and there’s a lot more sympathy between Jesper (Kit Young) and Wylan (Jack Wolfe).

Following the Crows

Fortunately, not only Alina is important in Shadow and Bone. It is much more interesting to follow the actions of the Wrons, where Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) shines in confrontation with his nemesis, Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly). Carter does what he wants with his character, he is believable in every move and gesture, which makes his plot perhaps the most engaging this season. It is also his character who leads the viewer through various places, from the dangerous Ketterdam to the picturesque Shu Han. And I must admit that in this respect the series is refined almost to perfection. One would like to see such attachment to costumes, set design, and tasteful details also in other Netflix productions. In just eight episodes, we can admire the splendid imperial palaces, nasty casemates famous for organizing illegal fights and colorful local markets. What captivated me, in turn, was a steampunk flying ship. beautiful thing.

The end that is the beginning

Unfortunately, there is also a blot in the landscape here. Some scenes (it was visible especially in the final episodes, during the attack of Kirigan’s grishas) look as if they were shot for the needs of Turkish series, which are currently so popular on our native television. Too much light, clumsy cuts, too sharp contours. At times, in the middle of a really entertaining action, such a glitch creaks, snapping the viewer out of his trance. Fruzsi’s (Rachel Redford) comically vampiric make-up and her exalted acting don’t help either.

Regardless of these minor details, the series is very good to watch. There are so many characters and threads that it seems that everyone can find someone to root for. In turn, the number of episodes guarantees that the action will go fast enough that lengthy episodes – which, of course, appear – will not discourage the screening. And the conclusion of the series – well, it’s expected, as well as the dramatic twist and denouement that precedes it – gives a nice opening to season three. Which, of course, I’ll be waiting for.

Agnieszka Stasiowska

Agnieszka Stasiowska

She seeks different sensations in film, so she doesn't close herself off to any genre. She believes that every film has its own audience, and when it doesn't appeal to her, it is sure to strike a different, more inclined heart.

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