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Tikhon Petrov
Tikhon Petrov

Shadow And Bone

Alina Starkov is a teenage girl who grew up with Malyen (Mal) Oretsev at an orphanage in Keramzin in the Kingdom of Ravka. The story begins as they march through the Unsea (also called the Shadow Fold), a perpetually dark, barren strip of land cutting most of Ravka off from the sea. Periodic expeditions sent across the Fold to transport goods and bring back imports are often plagued by monsters called volcra that inhabit the Unsea. During their crossing, the volcra attack, and, while saving Mal, Alina displays an extraordinary Grisha talent. The Grisha are people with the ability to manipulate the elements to use as weapons, e.g. to call fire, to summon wind, to regulate hearts. Alina is able to summon light and is thus considered a Sun Summoner. There are some people who think she is a saint whose purpose is to destroy the shadow fold.

Shadow and Bone

During the attack from the Fjerdan, Alina runs away into a forest but is pursued by an attacker. As he is about to harm her, the Darkling rides up with enforcement and uses his mysterious shadow powers to attack the assassins. As he blinds them, his soldiers cut down the blinded men. Alina is still being held down though, and her attacker threatens to kill her but, as his knife strikes down, the Darkling kills him quickly by slicing him in half with the darkness. A few days after the attack, the Darkling sits with Alina after they make camp to answer some questions. Alina learns that his great-great-great-grandfather was the Black Heretic who accidentally created the Shadow Fold, and every Darkling since his time has tried to fix the mistake. The Darkling believes that Alina could be the person to help him do so.

When Alina arrives at the ballroom with her friends, she coincidentally runs into Duke Keramsov who does not remember her at all, but the chance meeting, unfortunately, reminds her of Mal. When Genya finds her, she is sad, but she still has to perform with the rest of the Grisha. The Darkling appears right before their turn, and they combine powers to create a light and shadow show for the crowd. As soon as the show is over, the Darkling leads Alina to another room where he starts to kiss her. When a drunken group interrupts the moment, the two separate with the Darkling heading to Ivan and the others in the war room while Alina goes back to the ballroom, but on the way she happens to see Mal.

As the season begins, we pick up with Sun Summoner Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and her best friend Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux). They're tracking the mythical creatures that will amplify Alina's power so she can finally defeat General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) and destroy the Shadow Fold. Kirigan, otherwise known as the Darkling, has created an army of shadow monsters to do his bidding. Alina must make allies of her own to survive, like Prince (and privateer) Nikolai Lantsov (Patrick Gibson), and warrior twins Tolya and Tamar (Lewis Tan and Anna Leong Brophy).

Shadow and Bone once again reunites the Crows with Alina and friends, giving us a whole new plotline to enjoy. This time, the Crows journey to Shu Han along with Tolya and Zoya to find a legendary sword. Forged by Sankta Neyar, the sword Neshyenyer is said to be able to slice through even shadow, making it the perfect weapon to use against the nichevo'ya.

But if you thought Nikolai's secret was wild, just wait until you see what's happened to Alina. Remember, at this point in the books, she has lost her Grisha power and is off running an orphanage with Mal. Wherever we go next with Alina is new territory for her. And that territory becomes frighteningly clear in the show's final scene, when a Fjerdan attack on Nikolai's coronation (also a show-only scene) forces Alina to use the Cut. But instead of stopping the threat with light, she stops it with shadow.

Take the Fold, a huge mass of magic shadow that bisects the land of Ravka. People who dare enter the fold might make it through. Then again, they might not. Flying critters called volcra haunt its inky domains, which makes it rather inconvenient to cross from the east side of Ravka to the west.

Spoilers for Shadow and Bone season 2 ahead. The Netflix series' second season condensed the second and third Grishaverse books (opens in new tab) (Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising) into one season, bringing Alina Starkov and Kirigan's war over the fate of Ravka to a close. After Alina stabbed Mal (a.k.a. the Firebird) to amplify her powers, she destroyed the Fold and killed the Darkling, later burning his body. She then used merzost to bring Mal back to life, even though Baghra warned her that the forbidden magic would come with an unknown price. The finale jumps forward a bit in time, ending with a Fjerdan spy massacring the crowd at Nikolai Lantsov's coronation after taking jurda parem, a highly addictive drug that supercharges Grishas' powers (opens in new tab). To take down the spy, Alina uses the Cut by summoning shadows instead of sun; it appears that she now has the Darkling's powers.

As for Alina, her adoption of shadow-summoning powers is a huge divergence from her storyline in the books, where her use of all three amplifiers during her final stand with the Darkling leaves her without her powers all together, off to live an ordinary life with Mal. The Netflix series is set to build a completely new storyline, as Alina (who is showing hints of a dark, endless ambition for power) stands by Nikolai's side following the opening strike of a looming Revkan-Fjedran war. There's also the surprising twist with Nikolai, as it's revealed right before his coronation that he has also ingested the power of a nichevo'ya, Kirigan's vicious, unbeatable shadow monsters. And if that isn't enough drama, the Darkling also isn't the type of epic villain that stays dead for long. (For that info, you'll have to read the books.)

As we found out last season, Alina is the only one who can destroy the horrific shadow world that bisects the nation of Ravka. Called the Sun Summoner, she must find and harness the power of three magical amplifiers (she found one last season) and use her powers to summon an incandescent burst of light that can cut through the shadows. Mal, a master tracker who is also deeply in love with her, is hellbent on helping her succeed.

In the battle, Kirigan unleashes some of his shadow monsters (Nichevo'ya) onto the Ravkan base where Alina is. One of them attacks the Sun Summoner, Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux), Genya Safin (Daisy Head) and David.

The four are separated in the incident, with David and Genya going one way and Alina and Mal the other. David and Genya end up getting cornered into a kitchen by the Nichevo'ya, and he urges his partner to get into a dumbwaiter that he then locks from the outside and sends down before the shadow monster can get in.

"Backed by a terrifying new army of seemingly indestructible shadow monsters and fearsome new Grisha recruits, Kirigan is more dangerous than ever. To stand a fighting chance against him, Alina and Mal rally their own powerful new allies and begin a continent-spanning journey to find two mythical creatures that will amplify her powers.

Adding another welcome grey area is Ben Barnes' General Kirigan, aka the shadow-manipulating Darkling. Alina's counterpart in the magical Grisha army, Barnes teeters on grandiosity, but becomes more magnetic and morally ambiguous as the series goes on.

For non-book readers, a Lord of the Rings-style map would have helped clear up the names of locations and show where each party is in relation to the other. (Netflix does lay out the finer details of the world -- you just have to watch a primer video on its YouTube channel.) Still, aside from at least one moment of clunky CGI, Alina's light-related abilities and Kirigan's wisps of shadow sear cool images into the screen.

The show debuted earlier this year, and sat within the Top 10 most popular series on Netflix for days on end. The show follows the Grisha universe, those with spectacular powers, including Alina, an orphan map maker who can harness the power of light and fight against the growing shadow world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is a magical book. One in a seven-book universe focuses on Alina Starkov, a seemingly ordinary orphan who works in the army, as a mapmaker, alongside her best friend Mal Oretsev. Then all of a sudden, she finds herself on a fateful trip into the Fold, a dangerous land-sea of shadows and monsters. Once she is inside the Fold, all-hell breaks loose. In the midst of the chaos, it is revealed to her, and all those around her, that she is Grisha, a person who can manipulate the elements to their benefit, and a powerful one at that. Suddenly, she is thrown into a brand new world filled with lavish clothes, mysterious secrets, and cunning suitors. In her new environment, Alina is unsure of who to trust, and who not to. 041b061a72




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