Book vs. Movie - Which Do I Choose First?

Book vs. Movie - Which Do I Choose First?

Over the years, I’ve gathered a significant amount of heartache, frustration, and annoyance at film adaptations of my favorite books—I’m looking at you, Warner Bros. 

Kidding aside, I was more than just a little scared when they announced the adaptation for Shadow and Bone on Netflix. I know you’ve probably heard of it, and I know you’re probably just as excited as I am. 

And I bet we can all agree that the trailer was absolutely perfect. Aside from a few inaccuracies of course.


The Darkling’s eyes should have been grey.


That’s why I’m not at all surprised to see that many who haven’t read the series yet are asking one major question:

Should I read the book first, or watch the movie/series?

And to tell you the truth, I’ve learned to disassociate one over the other after several years of disappointment. 

But I’m well aware not everyone is capable of doing that. It’s a gift that not many are blessed to have received. 

So, what should you do? 

When You Should Read the Book First

If you love to get all the details that a novel can offer, then the most logical solution would be to read the book first. 

After all, everything you find in it is canon. In the movie? Not so much. 

I’ve found that sometimes the books can become great references for when you watch the movie. So if you want to see your characters be brought to life, just pick up your paperback, hardback, or kindle and get to devouring those words. 

When You Should Watch the Movie First

If you have a really hard time getting your hands on the books or if you just can’t seem to enjoy more than a few sentences, then you should watch the adaptation first. 

The book will end up being a point of reference in the future if you decide you want to learn more about the world the author has crafted. 

Beware though, that you might be unable to visualize the characters as anything other than their actors. This means you could be missing out on a huge part of the imaginative process. 


Still not quite sure what to do? Don’t worry! Here are two things you can try: 

1. Try reading the book

Nine times out of ten, I’ve stumbled upon books that I ended up fangirling over after I’ve watched the movie. And this is after trying and failing several times to get hooked on the publications themselves. 

So if you find yourself unsure about which to start with, I suggest you try reading the first paragraph of the book. 

Now, if you end up getting hooked straight away, then keep going! (Not that I can stop you *wink) 

But if it starts to feel more like a chore, hold out for the adaptation instead. 

2. Listen to it on audio

One great way to compromise when you want more cinematics without the story getting tarnished by the movie director’s hands is to listen to it instead. 

Some audiobooks use a full cast which is amazing. It gives you all the juicy details that would have otherwise been thrown out of the adaptation while keeping things a bit more upbeat.

Wrapping Up

Whatever you decide to do, just know that there is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on how you can make the experience of entering a new fandom worth it. 

Don’t overthink it! It’s always fun to find ways to dive deep into a new book or movie. And if you end up not loving it, don’t feel guilty! 

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and just because it wasn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean that another adaptation won’t be enjoyable for you. 

Mark your calendars! The Shadow and Bone Netflix adaptation is coming on April 23, 2021! Join us for a live session as we watch it together with some of the best book dragons. More information will be announced on Instagram. 

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