Adapted to a popular Netflix TV series, Shadow and Bone is a fantasy novel series written by Leigh Bardugo. The series follows Alina Starkov as she discovers she is a Grisha, a person with unique powers. Realizing she is the hero that people have read stories about, her life is turned upside down from being an orphaned girl to the most sought-after Sun Summoner.
Shadow and Bone feature an exciting and captivating world filled with diverse and powerful characters. Although everyone is powerful in their own right, some have special abilities that are seemingly unmatched. Whether they are Grisha, soldiers, or thieves, each character brings their own unique flair to the series, making it a must-watch for fantasy fans.
10 Tolya and Tamar Yul-Bataar
After the twins’ mother died, they left with their father for Novyi Zem in order to not get drafted into the Second Army. Instead of becoming soldiers, they become members of Sturmhond’s crew. They are trusted with information very few know: Sturmhond is actually Nikolai Lantsov. When the Darkling approaches, they bravely volunteer to go up against the Darkling and his Grisha.
Tolya and Tamar are Heartrenders, with the ability to manipulate the heart rate of other people, making them feel weak or strong. Their strategic minds and loyalty to the Ravkan throne make them important assets, especially to Nikolai. Their love for one another keeps them strong since they always find a way back to each other.
9 Jesper Fahey
Jesper grew up on a jurda farm with his parents. His mother taught Jesper about Zemeni history and their shared Grisha power. When his mother died, his father encouraged Jesper to keep his powers hidden. Years later, he attended university in Ketterdam and gained a terrible gambling addiction. Jesper joined the Crows after Kaz Brekker saved him from a gang beating.
Jesper hid is ability as a Grisha Fabrikator or Durast, which allows him to manipulate metal with his mind. Although he remains untrained, he focuses on his sharpshooting skills to get the Crows out of a pickle. Being considered Kaz’s second in command, his strategic mind and ability to think on his feet seemingly work out for them so far.
8 Matthias Helvar
Matthias became a druskelle to avenge his family, quickly rising in the ranks. One day, he and other druskelle capture Nina Zenik, a Heartrender at a boarding house in Novokribirsk. Matthias and Nina begin to grow fond of each other after their ship crashes on the way to Fjerda. He begins to see that maybe not all Grisha are bad or simply just Nina.
Matthias is a druskelle, a soldier from Fjerda who is trained to hunt and kill Grisha. His strength, skill with weapons, and unyielding loyalty to his country make him someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. Despite his initial prejudice against Grisha, Matthias eventually becomes a valuable ally to Alina and her friends.
7 Genya Safin
At a young age, Genya was sent as a gift to the Queen from the Darkling for her remarkable powers. She spent years as a servant, sleeping in the Grand Palace with privileges and being hated by other Grisha. Beyond prying eyes however she was frequently abused by the King. She was tasked with spying on Alina and poisoning the King under the influence of the Darkling.
Genya is an exceptionally skilled Tailor with the ability to manipulate a person’s physical appearance. Although she is aware of the Darkling’s darkness, she does whatever she needs to do to survive. Her ability to pay close attention to details and her capability to read people is a skill that is severely underrated. The power to make people look however she wants is more powerful than anyone can care to admit.
6 Inej Ghafa
Performing acrobatics with her family was Inej’s life growing up traveling around Ravka. Terror came when she was captured by slavers and sold to Tante Heleen, the owner of a pleasure house in Ketterdam. Forced to work in the Menagerie as an indenture, she met the criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker, who bought her contract from Heleen with the choice of joining the Crows.
Known as the Wraith, Inej is a member of the Crows, a gang of thieves in Ketterdam. She is an accomplished acrobat and fighter with the ability to move silently and quickly. As a valuable asset to the Crows, she’s the one they look to for spying or following their enemies. Although she has her beliefs, she is able to kill with her multiple knives when need be.
5 Zoya Nazyalensky
On Zoya’s wedding day, her aunt Liliyana was almost beaten to death by her soon-to-be husband. Upset at the sight, her Grisha powers emerged as she destroyed the church with her manipulation of the wind. At the age of thirteen, she killed a tiger that was suspected to be an amplifier and obtained the tiger’s teeth on her wrist.
Zoya is a powerful Squaller, which means she possesses the ability to control the wind. With the tiger amplifier, she began having exceptional control over the natural element. During her time at the Little Palace, she became the Darkling’s favorite, constantly training to be the best fighter. Her overall strength and breadth of her powers showcase what a powerful Grisha looks like.
4 Nina Zenik
Nina attended school at the Little Palace where she was forced to train with the Second Army, in turn becoming a spy for the Darkling. She was captured by the druskelle during her mission of finding those who help rogue Grisha escape. She ends up making friends with a druskelle named Matthias, but he gets sent to Hellgate thanks to Nina. Worried about Matthias, she joins the Crows in exchange for helping Matthias.
As a powerful Grisha Heartrender, Nina is able to manipulate the physical body by targeting specific organs, making her a formidable opponent in battle. Her loyalty to her cause and to those she cares about makes her an important asset to the team, especially the Crows. Being that she’s good at what she does, her skill as a spy and her ability to charm others prove how dangerous she can be.
Baghra is the daughter of Ilya Morozova, who is famous for creating three amplifiers. Her unique power of summoning the darkness led her otkazat’sya mother to believe she was a monster. Angry at the world, she lashed out at her younger sister, killing her with the Cut. Her consequence led her to live a life without her parents until she had a son, who would later become the Darkling.
As an ancient and experienced Grisha, Baghra possesses incredible power that allows her to use one of the most lethal abilities: the Cut. Being one of the rarest and strongest of Grisha, she lived a long life trying to make up for her son’s mistake: creating the Fold. Her knowledge and power are respected by many, and she plays a crucial role in shaping the events of the series.
2 Alina Starkov
Alina spent most of her life in Duke Keramsov’s orphanage with her best friend, Malyen Oretsev. When Grisha examiners came to test the children, Alina cheated on her test because she didn’t want to leave Malyen if she was a Grisha. In the following years, Alina trained as a soldier of the First Army and became a junior cartographer’s assistant. During the Shadow Fold crossing, volcra attack the sandskiff, but Alina lets out a burst of light killing the volcra in order to save Malyen.
Better known as the Sun Summoner, Alina is the protagonist of the series. As one of the most powerful Grisha, she is the only one capable of saving Ravka from the Fold. With her newfound ability to manipulate light and create massive amounts of energy, people adore her, but she begins to struggle with it. With the help of the amplifiers, she becomes even more powerful, enough to destroy the Fold and use the Cut.
1 The Darkling
Many centuries ago, the Darkling swore to make a safe place for Grisha after using the Cut to defend himself against a bully. He offered his services to King Yevgeni Lantsovl until he became corrupt: experimenting with merzost and creating the Shadow Fold. Decades went on as he served many kings over the years until he could find a Sun Summoner to carry out his plans.
The Darkling is the primary antagonist of the series, but he is considered the most powerful Grisha of all. As a Shadow Summoner, he can manipulate darkness to create solid objects and creatures. He is a formidable opponent with immortality, the ability to use merzost, and being a living amplifier to naturally amplify the power of any Grisha he touches.
Keep Reading: Shadow and Bone’s Characters, Ranked by Likability