How Close is the Shadow & Bone TV Show To The Book Series?

The popular book series Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo was released last month, delighting book fans around the world who were eagerly anticipating seeing Grishaverse take to the screens. But how close was it to the books? Here are some of the major changes from the Shadow & Bone book, to the TV series.

Ali is half-Shu

Although Alina’s heritage isn’t specified in the book series, in the TV adaption she is half-shu and she faces a lot of prejudice because of it. It changes the narrative slightly, as Alina is an outsider in her country it adds complexity to the story.

Jessie Mei Li , who plays Alina, told IGN . “They wanted to add a little more adversity to Alina’s upbringing. Not only is she an orphan, but she’s an orphan that looks like the enemy, so she was really ostracized.”

The Crows Cast

Maybe the biggest (and most exciting for some fans) element that is different in the book is the Six Of Crows gang. They never appear in the Shadow & Bone series, but actually in their own duology that takes place after S&B, featuring Kaz, Inej, Jasper, Nina & Matthias alongside a sixth member of the gang who has yet to be introduced. Having The Crows signing up straight away gave the series so much more, opening up the world to new storylines and characters, more action and fun scenes and never-ending possibilities.

The Nina and Matthias scenes are also featured in the Six of Crows duology too, but as a flashback. Here they’ve incorporated them into the current timeline as although their story may seem quite out of place with no direct link to any other characters apart from a couple of scenes, it’s set up perfectly for future series.

Mal’s Story is written in

Mal’s quest to find the stag is in the book, but as it’s told from Alina’s perspective therefore we never actually saw what went down. Having a break from Alina’s point of view might have been why Mal was much more popular in the show than he ever was in the books as you get to see them both slowly start to realise their feelings for one another, rather than it being one-sided.


Although Zoya is featured in the books too, she has been given more prominence earlier on. Slightly unlikeable in the first series, she’s a very important character throughout the Shadow & Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology, plus she becomes one of the main characters in the King of Stars series too.

A New Darkling History

Towards the end of the series, we get a glimpse into the Darkling’s past and how he created the shadow fold, one that was not in the books. The show gives him a more sympathetic story of losing his first love and with grief and rage he creates the fold, it’s not just about the power. However, the book is all the darker with that and control being at the forefront of his character.

To read the Grishaverse series from the beginning, start with Shadow & Bone here

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