Shadow and Bone Season 2 Review – A bumpy but enjoyable follow-up to Netflix’s flagship fantasy

Season 1

Season 2

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5


When Shadow and Bone dropped on Netflix back in 2021, it brought with it a rip-roaring fantasy adventure. Sure, it had a lot of the usual tropes seen in YA stories – the chosen one, the love triangle, the broody, mysterious guy who turns out to be the antagonist etc. – but it largely stuck to its guns and brought the books to life in a great way.

Mashing all the books up together was certainly a bold choice, with the Crows and Alina’s storylines interweaving together and keeping a great pace, an absorbing story, and lots of promise for season 2 – especially with that cliffhanger.

The story picks up where we left off with our dual storylines taking precedence for the 8 episodes. The first follows Alina as she heads off on the hunt for amplifiers to increase her power and destroy the Fold once and for all.

Unfortunately, Kirigan is still lurking about, having survived the onslaught during season 1’s finale. Even worse, he’s now in control of those shadow monsters and he means business, desperate to stop Alina no matter what.

Meanwhile, the Crows continue to be led by Kaz, who sets off with his group on various different heist missions, which eventually merges into Alina’s storyline. All of this builds up to a dramatic and world-changing fight during the final two episodes.

The plot this time around feels a little run of the mill and that’s largely thanks to the way these stories are set up and the mechanics that go into keeping them going. For the Crows, that means setting up a heist, conducting said heist and realizing things have gone wrong. This basic plot is used at least three times across the season so instead of the slow burn the first time amount, the mechanics are much more obvious and it becomes a bit tiresome.

Furthermore, there’s an abundance of deus ex machina; characters are saved at the last second by various different external forces. Stories generally do have these included but the sheer number of instances that crop up this season compared to the first is hard to look past.

Thankfully, the characters and their journeys make the ride through this trope-filled tale worth taking. Jesper is still the charismatic stand-out, and this time he even has a love interest too! As for Mal, he gets much more to work with this year while Kirigan is more unhinged than ever before and you can tell he revels in this role.

The soundtrack for this season is absolutely sublime. Joseph Trapanese has crafted a wonderful score (which is on Spotify and other music streamers by the way) that really helps to elevate the material on-screen. This is something helped by the strong production design, complete with  sweeping maps, lavish sets and some pretty impressive action dotted across the 8 episodes. There’s an array of different fights this year too, some using wire work and others CGI as our Grisha wield their magic, but it all feeds into the larger story, and never feels like it’s there to waste time.

While season 2 is far from perfect, the narrative issues are easy to overlook when it comes to this YA adaptation. The characters continue to shine while visually, this is a definite stand-out over 2021’s effort. Shadow and Bone is easily one of Netflix’s best fantasy shows, despite its writing issues, with this second season continuing to deliver.

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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