As you may know, Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse is being adapted by Netflix. If you have read the Shadow & Bone trilogy - like me - you may have had mixed feelings on them. Despite that, I was really excited to see what Netflix could do with this series. Over the next couple of days, I will be "reviewing" two episodes a day, and how it compares to the books. Afterwards, I will do a review on the full season.
Star system for book to film adaptions:
1st star - The Story - Does it stay true to the books?
2nd star - Acting - Casting and Chemistry between actors
3rd star - Cinematography - Was it shot well? Do any shots add more to the story?
4th star - CGI/Costuming/Props - Did they bring the book to life? Is it how you imagined?
5th star - Binge-Worthy?
A Searing Burst of Light
So right off the bat, I can tell that the adaption is keeping the "small science" of the Grishaverse, while improving upon it by adding things many fans found missing. Here is a list of what I liked about this episode.
DIVERSITY! Leigh Bardugo admits this was something she wishes she could go back and change, and in a way, the show does this for her. The trilogy was very ... white ... and now we get different races, religions, culture, and sexual orientation. Our main character is half Shu (Asian), and instead of her being cast out because she was sickly and weak, its racism.
HEY, Mal and Alina have chemistry in the show! And we get flashbacks mixed in with present day scenes with them, and we can see the love there.
Mal fighting other soldiers in this episode foreshadows something that happens in the second book - something that seems so random. Showing he is a fighter now will make that scene make sense.
Okay, this show just looks beautiful. The fold is phenomenal (the outside, and inside), and the shots are amazing, especially when filming shots of our favorite wraith doing her thing.
OHHHHHH KETTERDAM IS AMAZING! Exactly how I pictured it!
Hey, Mal isn't a playboy or a jerk! I can see what Alina see's in him :)
Pekka Rollin's in the show is older than I imagined, but intimidating as hell. Right off the bat, we learn he is dangerous, and willing to do anything to get his way.
Loved the addition of Alina destroying the maps of West Ravka, so there was a reason to bring map makers along on the trip.
The natural arrogance of the Grisha is done pretty well.
CROW BABIES! Amazing casting. Freddy Carter does an amazing Kaz. Kit Young is a chef's kiss Jesper. Amita Suman as Inej is perfection. Love the little hint to needing an explosive expert.
Netflix did an amazing job bringing the Volcra to life. Very creepy.
It's much more brutal than I thought it would be. The books themselves are pretty YA, whereas the show is more geared to an older YA ... but that is essential to tell a story of war realistically ... and Ketterdam should be far away from the YA crowd. haha
Chemistry between all the actors is great so far!
All in all, a great introduction to the Grishaverse and these characters!
We're All Someone's Monster
I'm not loving the opening sequence.
Inej and Kaz are fucking brilliant on screen
Ben Barnes plays intimidating SO GOOD
Okay, Kaz Brekker was just beat and put on his knees? No. No fucking way. Pekka Rollins is a dead man.
I'm absolutely obsessed with Kit Young's Jesper. He is *chef's kiss*
Color me impressed with how they managed "the cut". Just as described and very brutal.
Ben Barnes (Darkling) and Jessie Mei Li (Alina) is delicious.
Loving the little bit of foreshadowing of Inej's future life goal
Love all the flashbacks of Alina and Mal as children. Love the meadow.
Things are getting interesting ...