'The Witcher' is the first big R-rated high fantasy TV show to come out after 'Game of Thrones', and love it or hate it, 'Game of Thrones' kind of changed everything, at least where fantasy TV is concerned.
While we still don’t have a release date for Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series, we finally have a cast to shamelessly follow on social media and add to our fan-edits!
Yesterday, Netflix announced its cast for their new series based on Leigh Bardugo’s award-winning “Grishaverse” books. The series is set to adapt both her Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series and the casting for characters from both series has left book fans in a frenzy!
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Leading the series as Shadow and Bone protagonist Alina Starkov is Jessie Mei Li (known for her upcoming role in Last Night in Soho). Playing alongside her will be a favorite among fans, Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher, Chronicles of Narnia) as General Kirigan. Also joining the Shadow and Bone portion of the cast is Archie Renaux (Voyagers) as Malyen Oretsev, Sujaya Dasgupta (Press, Guilt) as Zoya Nazyalensky, Simon Sears (Winter Brothers) as Ivan, and Daisy Head (Guilt) as Genya Safin.
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On the Six of Crows front, Freddy Carter (Pennyworth) will be playing gang-leader Kaz Brekker. Starring alongside him will be Amita Suman (The Outpost) as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young (Endeavour) as Jesper Fahey, and Danielle Galligan (Game of Thrones) as Nina Zenik.
The series is being adapted by showrunner Eric Heisserer known for his work on Arrival and is being directed by Lee Toland of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Bardugo herself is an executive producer on the show and expressed her excitement about the casting announcement. The cast we have so far has definitely made us fans more excited about the show and kept us on our toes for casting to come!
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After finishing Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, it bumped The Lunar Chronicles right out of the top-spot as my favorite book series (sorry Marissa Meyer, but you’re always in my heart). This high-fantasy heist series is a striking read. I can’t get enough of the characters, the narrative, the world. Despite having read it a few years ago, to this day it’s left me with the biggest book-hangover of my life. Here are the top six reasons why you need to read this duology too.
6. You don’t have to read her first series to understand it
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While technically a sequel series to Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, you definitely don’t have to be well-versed in the world to dive right into these books. I personally didn’t read any of the original series and was still able to fall head-first into everything Six of Crows had to offer. It’s completely different than the first series with all new characters. And while I’m told there are a few minor cameos by characters from the Grisha Trilogy, this duology works brilliantly as a standalone.
5. It doesn’t play into YA fiction tropes
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Spoiler alert: there are no lost princesses in this duology! No love triangles, no “I’m not like other girls” girls, and absolutely no Chosen Ones. Even though this is a fantasy novel (and a high fantasy one at that), it strays greatly from the YA conventions of the fantasy genre. With those elements gone, it makes way for a truly unpredictable narrative. With the absence of these stylistic tropes, this series makes way for different aspects of YA to be explored. Not to mention without the comforting predictability of the high fantasy story structure, you’re constantly on your toes while you’re reading.
4. It delves into real-world issues
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Ketterdam is where the duology is primarily set and it’s a nation that is so dedicated to capitalism that it’s a religion to them. Bardugo uses these books to explore the dangers of a country that values money above all else. As a consequence of this world, we see characters as members of gangs, having to be prostitutes, and being plagued by illness and addiction. Bardugo paints a grimy world—one that requires her teenage-aged protagonists to grow up faster than most and she writes the psyche of each character so incredibly well.
3. The writing is extraordinary
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Bardugo’s one of those authors whose writing just hits you. She balances the serious with the loving and the heartbreaking. And despite how grim the subject matter might seem, the duology still manages to be uplifting, relatable and hilarious. Not to mention quotable as hell. Careful, though. You might end up with a Six of Crows quote as your Twitter bio.
2. The diversity is on point
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Much needed discussions in the YA community about diversity are finally being had. And as a tough critic on the lack of book characters of color and how they’re treated when they are there, I can actually give these series a stamp of approval. Not only are the characters racially diverse, but Bardugo is also inclusive in other ways. There’s a character that is plus sized, characters with both physical and mental disabilities, and LGBT+ representation. And when I say LGBT+ representation, I don’t just mean That One Gay Character in the main friend group and his under-developed boyfriend. I’m talking MULTIPLE queer characters of varying identities that are fleshed out. Not only is this diversity baked into the narrative, but it’s also not tokenized or stereotyped. Bardugo strikes a nice balance between writing her diversity so obscurely that nobody knows they are until she retroactively tells us in interviews (looking at you J.K. Rowling) and making that diversity the sole trait of those characters. She’s able to write diverse characters as people and that’s what we want when we ask for representation.
1. It’s going to be a TV series
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This is your chance to be the “I saw it first” friend. As of January of this year, Netflix has ordered an eight episode series of Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows. While there’s no details on how yet, the show will be combining both of Bardugo’s book series to make the show. Get a jump on the narrative by reading the Six of Crows duology. Not only will you be ahead of the curve for what is sure to be a highly talked about adaptation, but it’ll also be fun watching the world and character you know come to life onscreen.
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No plans this weekend? Not the type to go outside? We can relate. Make the best of the weekend for real by binging these duologies. Nothing says relaxation like high stakes magic.
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I love a good heist, and this is better than most. Set in the lush universe popularized by Shadow and Bone, this follow up stands on its own legs, and is a great entry to the series. Meet the Dregs, a bunch of street urchin weirdos with just the right skills to pull off an impossible heist in the heart of a hostile state. The characters are so real that you feel you could bump into them on the street, the plot is meticulously executed, and the magic is both grounded and vibrant. It’ll be your new fave.
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Revolution, dictatorships, secret identities, and a magic system so brutal and so inescapable it shakes the very ground on which the world is built. All the threats feel close, pressing. The characters are multidimensional, living, complex. This is a deeply alarming pair of novels, but despite the dark plot points, the writing is light and compulsively readable. These are entertaining books, and frequently very funny. If you like seeing sense prevail, and survival against dire odds, dive into this truly original world.
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Ever wanted to choose your own profound and horrifying sci-fi adventure? This article is for you.
“With Those We Love Alive” is a strange, deeply atmospheric short story, told a few pieces at a time. You are an artificer, drawn into the service of the Skull Queen. The magic is strange and tangible, and though you don’t see much of the world, you get an impression of its vastness. Live the luminous sense of listless terror made ambiance through the simple but powerful backgrounds, the eerie soundtrack, and the world’s uneasy details. Wander the palace and the city. Look on the outer world. You will be prompted to hold your breath. Look. Look away. Draw all over yourself (cue weird looks from the rest of the editorial team).
Please don’t judge my lack of art skills
You make many choices, shape the world, or does it shape you? The pull of the plot is inexorable, subtle. This is a land of monsters, of gruesome beauty, and unlike any fantasy world you’ve ever seen. You will come to feel trapped. You will come to realize you are terribly in love. With a sense of both choice and inevitability, walk through this place, the palace of the Skull Queen, her city, and see what it makes you. Find an ending as sudden and vibrant as the rest of the story, and etch each choice into your skin.
Eerie, gorgeous, and coolly violent, this story will stay with you long after the sigils you’re instructed to draw have faded.
Things you’ll need: headphones, a marker or pen.
See other people’s sigils here.