The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
or: Congrats Shannon, you are now the proud owner of the last bit of my soul
Synopsis: The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
In my first review on this site for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, I mentioned how I had fallen in love with it instantly. Well, it seemed history was keen to repeat itself because man, have I fallen in love with this book.
This book definitely makes it onto my top 25 list of books ever.
That is huge praise.
I first heard about this book a year or two ago from the marvelous youtuber itswaypastmybedtime when Carrie reviewed an Advanced Readers copy singing it’s praises. My curiosity was more than raised as Carrie loves lots of the same books that I do and I mentally filed away the title under my to read list.
I later heard about it a year later with people wrapped up in the hype of the Bone Season. Again, this all got filed away into the mind palace for later use. It was on a girly date with my best friend that I finally plucked the book up from the local discount book store for $10. Now that I’ve read the book and fallen in love with it, it’s hard to ignore how the price of $10 cheats this book.
This book is incredible.
If one peruses the Goodreads reviews however, it becomes quickly obvious that this is simply one of those books that you either love or you hate. Being a member of the former group, I will forever sing this books praises. To me this book is a ground breaker in the fantasy genre and it’s a stellar debut novel. Ultimately, I think it will vary from person to person how people respond and finally consider it.
Its hard to believe that this is Shannon’s first novel; its incredibly polished and the world she has created is so amazingly detailed that it’s easy to assume she has been working on this and writing as a craft for decades. She has a flair and a talent for writing that is rarely found and her style of narration is refreshingly modern and just different from most other styles I have read. I am happy to support a writer my own age (Shannon is only 24 and already has a best selling novel) and if anything, it seems like Shannon is the first of a new generation and breed of author.
The main controversy surrounding this book is the utterly stupid decision by Bloomsbrury to market Shannon as the next Rowling. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking but it’s left a lot of people in an uproar and a lot of people are now unable to see the book positively because of this. Which is an utter shame because this book is superb. Is Shannon the next Rowling? No. It’s a pet peeve of mine when companies do this because no two writers are like each other. The HP series and the Bone Season are world’s away from one another and cannot and should not under any circumstances be compared. But is Shannon a good writer and one we need to watch? Hell Yes.
Shannon’s world of Scion is breath takingly complex and at first, its hard to truly come to grips with the world Paige (the heroine) lives in. But, personally, once I fully concreted in my mind what was happening in the present to Paige, the world sharply came into focus. When you have a grasp on the multiple different types of clairvoyant, then it becomes as easy as pie.
The fact that Shannon meshes so many different types of lore about those humans who can touch the other side – the æther in this novel- is quite frankly astounding but also incredibly resourceful. Her Scion’s scary resemblance of the problems in our modern society (typical of post-apocalyptic society fiction) is startling and thought provoking. And even though the book creates a sort of parallel history, its not totally unbelievable.
To avoid spoilers as best I can, I will talk only briefly (and admittedly vaguely) about Shannon’s characters. Paige is refreshing as the main heroine and her carefully placed memories filled in a strong back story without becoming too wanky and drawn out/bogged down in expos`es. It was easy to root for her because she felt like the bad ass friend you always wanted. Warden was exceptional, and you’d be lying if you said you didn’t find him confusing (in a good way). Other notable characters such as Jaxon, the leader of Paige’s crew, of course the lovely Nick, the surprising character of Liss and many more that I would spend way too long rambling on about. In all honesty, all of the members of Seven Dials are physically interesting I just wished we learned more about them and we very may well in later books.
There is two other books that I know of that follow this one. The second one- the Mime Order- was published in January. I am yet to get my hands on it, but when I am in the vicinity of a book store this will definitely find its way into my sticky, little hands because I have A MIGHTY NEED. Book 3 is simply an unknown at this stage, with no info released about it.
This was a delight to read, and the hours I spent reading it were long, pleasant and overly delicious. That being said, it is quite a thick book to read so please venture forth with caution.
Andy Serkis and his film company have reportedly brought the rights to this book and are intending on turning it into a film which is both exciting and worrying. I sincerely hope that the movie wont waste the chance its been given and I struggle to see how many of the elements of the book can be translated to film but I may be yet proved wrong.
I’m curious to see what everyone else thought of the book, so please leave your comments down below so I can read and we may share in this world.
Seriously I need to talk about this book with someone before I combust.
P.S: I mentioned a review by Carrie Hope Fletcher in my blog and wanted to provide the video for those interested. Because sources and stuff. Carrie actually doesn’t start talking about the bone season until the end of the video around the 4 minute mark but in case your interested here is the link to that video.