I could not wait for season two of Shadow and Bone and watched the first season in anticipation. I will give a spoiler alert for this review as the season hasn’t been out a week yet. I would also like to add that I binged this season after a reaction so some of my issues might just be a me issue. I am using poster images I have found through google I do not own any rights and am using the image purely for review purposes (Fair use under the copyright act sections 29 and 30 under use for a review).
This review isn’t as harsh as my review of Rings of Power however as much I enjoyed the series, I did have some issues with it. A quick look at other reviews of the season have shown me it might not be a reaction brain issue with the season. Final spoiler alert warning.
It’s not a bad season I just don’t think it was what I was expecting after season one. It's tough to even summarise season two, because there is so much happening but the season is an entertaining watch. The worldbuilding is spectacular and I am in love with the costumes, the set and production design. We do get some brilliant new characters in season two however my favourites are Nikolai Lantsov, the adorable Wylan, who must be protected at all costs! and the twins Tamar and Tolya.
Unfortunately, the pacing is just a hot mess, and the series gets bogged down. The writers have tried to cram too much story into too few episodes. By cram I mean CRAM! Several of Leigh Bardugo’s books, including the companion series have been squished into eight, 55 minute to one hour long episodes for season two. It's a shame that the stories have all being combined into one season, this season has gone full Batman vs Superman. This oversite leaves little time to fully appreciate what's going on in one plot before we're thrown into to a different one entirely. If we get a season three, please give us the watchers and readers a chance to breath.
Shadow and Bone season one, did a fantastic job of dividing its time between the two primary narratives by effortlessly flipping between Alina’s and The Crows’ storylines. There are simply too many plots and subplots shoved into each episode. It is hard to focus on single character or group, for example I loved Kaz during season one, not going to lie I’m a little meh with season two Kaz like let him have his character Arc fully fleshed out. There are certain points during season two where you feel like you’re going to have an emotional epiphany with a character and then it was boom next plot point.
The finale falls flat I think episode seven would have been the ending this season deserved. That being said to contradict myself episode eight sets up the next season but could have been a season opener. Maybe I am emotionless but during the battle sequences it became slightly overwhelming trying to keep track of all the characters. However, at the same time we were introduced to so many new characters people that you don’t have enough time to get emotionally attached to any of them. Due to the quick introductions and quick plot points you lose the emotional weight such scenes should bring like during The Battle of the Bastards or The Battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones.