Shadow and Bone Finally Shows Itself

If there is one thing that we live for here at The Cool Table, it’s on-screen adaptations of books we have read and been obsessed with for almost a DECADE finally coming to fruition. I first read – and very much loved – Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone when it was released in 2012 (seriously, my Goodreads is proof). I got an advanced copy of Siege and Storm and waited very impatiently for Ruin and Rising. I wrote THIS. How do I put this succinctly? I’m a FAN. 

So, while news has been slow about the Netflix adaptation of not only the Shadow and Bone trilogy but the Six of Crows duology as well, so has our coverage. Little drips. Excitement about the cast. Updates on new editions for fans like us. Shameless swoon for certain cast members.

But now, and finally, Netflix has decided to grace us with some real reveals. No longer shrouded in secrecy, we have character portraits and stills from the very highly anticipated April 23rd release. 




First of all, we have Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), our protagonist, who comes to us as an orphaned soldier who is on the cusp of realizing she’s capable of so much more. 

THIS PIC OF ALINA! It’s been years and years since I read Shadow and Bone. But I can fully remember the feeling of those first few chapters when Alina’s world is turned inside out. Somehow, this production, this actress and this still has captured that pivotal moment, that feeling, with precision. 


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Together with Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux), her life-long friend and exceptional tracker in the army, Alina is going to be torn between what she has always been and where she will find herself. 

WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT MAL? He’s relentless. An indelible presence in the novels even when Alina (as narrator) is very far from him. Archie Renaux has seemingly given him new life in these character still. MAL LIVES, y’all. 


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But oh, this is the one. Ben Barnes as General Kirigan aka The Darkling, the commander of the powerful Second Army that Alina must align with is the CHERRY on the character portraits we’ve been waiting for.

The Darkling is the controversial character that gets the Grishaverse fandom in the funnest of fights. We’ve no doubt that Ben Barnes’ portrayal is going to bring all of that to new audiences. 

More pics (which you can view courtesy of EW) give us insight into the Crows gang of Ketterdam … Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), and Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) as well as Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) and Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman).

Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is weaving the story of Alina, Mal and The Darkling into the heist adventure of Bardugo’s Six of Crows with what looks like practiced ease. The world looks rich, dark and devastating. 

We cannot wait. 

In fact, we will be re-reading (or reading for the first time) all of Bardugo’s books in preparation for the April 23rd release of Shadow and Bone. Our book club discussions are fun, boozy and easy to join. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for announcements. We will go live and discuss the books together on our YouTube channel and Facebook. The first book club will be in early February! 

Catch all our Shadow and Bone coverage here



Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive. 

Shadow and Bone premieres on Netflix on April 23, 2021.

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