Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Acquired Via: Personal Collection
Release Date: August 6, 2013
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a Dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The Voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
I have no idea why, but one day I decided that I absolutely must read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I don’t exactly recall reading the synopsis or paying much attention to the hype, but one day I couldn’t stand it anymore and preordered the audiobook. I downloaded it the morning it was available, but since I was listening to an audiobook for review, I had to wait to read it. It was brutal because all I could think about was the book that I had found myself obsessing over.
Once I FINALLY began reading, I was immediately drawn into the world in The Bone Season. I was afraid my longing would work against the book (my expectations being so high and all), but it was all that I hoped for. Paige Mahoney was an interesting and tough heroine who would not back down, and the world-building was awesome in every sense of the word, both literal and slang. I want to go ahead and let it be known that I disagree completely with many comparisons made about the book and some other popular novels because too many publishers and reviewers try to compare a writer who is capable of genius world-building with Rowling and anything gritty with The Hunger Games. I mean, maybe the scale of the series may be comparable to the others, but there really isn’t much in the way of other similarities. Samantha Shannon and The Bone Season are forces to be reckoned with on their own.
The world-building and the sheer size of this imaginative, alternate England is what made the book for me. In 1857, there was some sort of event that supposedly created clairvoyance. Paige Mahoney and the people she works with under the radar are all clairvoyants who must keep their talents hidden. To be clairvoyant – called Unnatural – is against the law in Scion London, and bad things will happen. I’m not an expert on paranormal and astrology, so I learned a lot in this novel. (I can’t tell you where what Shannon created and what is a commonly held belief regarding these things meets.) The other races and mythology are woven together very well, and I swear to Bob there will be spoilers if I gush too hard. Just exploring SciLo was a treat in itself and something I hope I get more of in the next books in the series. Sheol I and the æther were also well-done and fascinating.
As for the characters, there are a lot because The Bone Season is a fairly long book. We have the Seven Seals that the series will be supposedly featuring, but they didn’t get as much time on the pages as I expected. Paige, of course, was a badass Voyant that was stronger than everyone imagined. There are other Voyants and amaurotics (non-clairvoyant humans) with her in the penal colony, Sheol I, ran by the Rephaim, but only Liss really stood out to me. I guess it was because I came to a lot of conclusions about her, that all ended up being VERY wrong. Oh, the Rephaim! Well... I don't want to say too much about them because it was interesting to find out about them in the book. (I'm being difficult, aren't I?) Anywho, I will say that Warden is my new book boyfriend. He is such a complex character, and he's very tall. I like tall men.
Since I did listen to the audiobook, I suppose I should tell you about the best parts about. Alana Kerr, the narrator, had a beautiful voice and did a great job with the large cast of characters. I loved to hear her speak as Paige because her very slight Irish accent was so lovely. I didn't realize it until well into the book how much the audiobook helped me through all of the Victorian phrases and obscure names. I've read reviews where many people have had trouble getting past these things, and I barely noticed them. I loved listening to Kerr's performance of The Bone Season, and I hope that she will be doing the other books as well.
The Bone Season is definitely a book well worth the hype, and one that I will be rereading before the next book in the series releases. Both author Samantha Shannon and voice actress Alana Kerr are now on my auto-buy list. I recommend this to anyone who likes alternate history, the paranormal, and colossal world-building. Though this is an adult novel, I think it is fine for older young adults. Again, if you've made it this far in the review - JUST READ THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY!
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This book counts toward my completion of the Debut Author Challenge.