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Should I read the Shadow and Bone books before watching the Netflix show?

Should I read the Shadow and Bone books before watching the Netflix show? image

Choosing whether or not to read the book a film or TV show is adapted from is something that can be quite personal. In the case of Shadow and Bone, there’s a whole trilogy to dive into written by best-selling author Leigh Bardugo. So the question at the forefront of many minds is whether its necessary to read the Shadow and Bone books before giving the Netflix original series a chance.

The short answer is no, it’s not necessary. Adaptations are made to stand alone. They can change entire plots, erase scenes, drop characters, and sometimes their endings are completely different than what happened in the source material.

If you ever hear fans arguing about book canon vs. show canon, it’s due to the changes an adaptation has made. Some viewers are able to roll with the punches and accept a new iteration of the story as it is. Others struggle due to the handling of a scene they adored in the books or its complete absence.

Adaptations are rarely note for note the same as their source material. If you’re someone who would be bothered by a veer away from how the story is framed in its original format, then we suggest holding off on reading the Shadow and Bone books until after you watch the show.

The Shadow and Bone books stand on their own

It’s important to remember that the world of TV moves at a different clip than books. There’s more time to languish in setting, relationships, and lore between the pages of a book than there is in a script.

The first season of Shadow and Bone is eight episodes long. They’re nearly an hour each but they’re brimming with an ensemble cast that’s not small. The series pings between different locations and explores several storylines while working through an overarching plot that connects the cast of characters together. Game of Thrones was similarly structured but medieval and without a Russian aesthetic.

If you want a deeper understanding of this story and its characters, then definitely read the books. The expediency of TV can sometimes leave behind nuance. Not to mention that once the show premieres on Friday, April 23, Twitter is going to be alive and kicking with analysis and book-to-screen comparisons.

Next: Is Shadow and Bone renewed for season 2?
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