Yes, Shadow and Bone is based on a young adult novel, but it’s not the cheesy, awkward show of our childhoods. In fact, one could even say that it’s accomplished what Twilight was never able to do, and that’s create a storyline that doesn’t take you entirely out of the moment—sorry, Stephenie Meyer.
From episode one, there’s a bit of catching up to do, since viewers are truly introduced to an entirely new world. There are the Grisha, who are people born with the ability to influence the world’s elements, kind of like Avatar. Then, there are the every day people, whose normality makes them inferior to the Grisha.
Whether or not you’re a Grisha is determined by a test done in your childhood, one that Alina (Jessie Mei Li) did and didn’t entirely go through. So, she grew up not knowing that she’s basically a saint.
All of these people are united against the Shadow Fold, a dark region created by the Darkling and inhabited by monsters named colcra. It divides the country of Ravka in half, creating a treacherous journey for anyone wishing to travel through enemy territories in the north or south.