“Shadow & Bone: Readers vs. Non-Readers”
by Amy Calvo, Rising 10th Grader & Kellee’s Student 2017-2020
Shadow and Bone, a popular young adult trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, was recently adapted by Netflix into its own 8-episode series. Netflix decided to mix Six of Crows, the best-selling duology of Bardugo’s, into the plot line.. It wasn’t only fans of the original trilogy and duology excited for the upcoming television series, many people outside of the book world were eager to see the show after the trailer was released on February 26th, 2021. When the show came out a month later, there were many mixed reviews. The show has remained in Netflix’s Top Ten with a 7.5 out of 10 stars from IMDB and a 86% from Rotten Tomatoes. But there was a question many critics prompted: would the show be as enjoyable for non-readers? Would the adaptation fall short in the eyes of fans of the original series?
We sat down with Paola Mendez, a fan of the show who has never read the books and got her insight on the question.
“I am very satisfied with the show,” Mendez said. “It was fun, action-packed, and emotional.”
She touches on different aspects of the show that impacted her: the characters, the fantasy version of racism displayed in the show, etc. Although Mendez admits the magic system became muddled and confusing, her enjoyment far outweighed the cons. When asked if she would consider reading the original Shadow and Bone trilogy, she explains:
“I’ve heard many people say the show is better than the books [so] I’m a bit scared that the books wouldn’t live up to the show I’ve come to love.”
To answer the question if readers or non-readers preferred the show better, we asked Duda Guedes and Estela Rivera to add perspective. Both of the young girls enjoyed the trilogy and duology and were excited to speak on the adaptation. When asked what fell short in the adaption, both agreed that Kaz Brekker, one of the many ruthless characters, was made “too soft”. But their opinions varied on how satisfying the show actually was as a whole.
“I am satisfied with the show,” Guedes answered. “I feel like they managed to blend new elements…and make something that feels really familiar but is still a new adventure.”
Rivera on the other hand admits that although she was satisfied to a certain extent, many of the differences from the page to the screen didn’t work for her. She uses character changes, abandoned plot points, and more to explain her quails with the series.
“I feel since I have been a huge fan of the books, the fact that a lot of things were adapted differently didn’t resonate with me at all,” Rivera ends with.
All in all, through the differing opinions, it seems readers and non-readers liked the show for what it was. Even through the changes or confusion, they all agreed the show adapted as well as it could.
“It’s similar to getting a new book in the same universe,” Duda Guedes said. “The differences [are what] keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Have you read or seen Shadow and Bone? Where do you fall in this discussion?
Thank you so much, Amy, for sharing your article with us and looking into how the show was received by readers versus non-readers of the series!