The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season
Release Date: August 20, 2013
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.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and 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 wonder if the author knew that Scion is the name of a Toyota car? I mean, check this baby out:
Going back to the book, I highly enjoyed it. A lot of reviewers were disappointed by the hype it had, but seeing as I’m reading it two years after it was published I don’t have to deal with that sort of hype. That being said, I went into it with low expectation but came out really liking the book.
I’ve read a couple of reviewers saying how it was hard to understand the world at first, and from what I’ve read, it’s not that difficult. Sometimes in a book you’ll have to pay more attention on who the characters are and the world they’re in as well as the slang they use, and here is no exception. What I didn’t enjoy as much was the info-dumping in the beginning, but here I can let it go. Why? Honestly, in my opinion it would be really hard to explain the world if there weren’t an info-dump. There’s a lot of things happening in the world, and I’d rather read about its history that came from an unspectacular explanation than be confused the whole time without any information. Once the author had the world set, the story went rolling.
This is basically an alternate-history story that stems from the usual course of history after the beginning of the twentieth-century, after the reign of Edward VII. Thus, it’s no surprise that the diction of the characters are “loosely based on words used in the criminal underworld of London in the nineteenth century.” (That’s what the glossary says.) There’s a bit of background to read about with Edward VII, but essentially what stemmed from this was Scion, the government that controls London (and other places of the world) currently. They dispose of the clairvoyants, which are called voyants, because of their Unnaturalness. In the Scion are gangs, or syndicates ruled by mime-lords. I’m really curious as to how their names came to be “mime,” but basically they collect the clairvoyants and band together – like gangs. Our main character Paige is part of one, until by unfortunate luck she gets taken by the Scion. Instead of being locked up in the Tower, like what they usually do to voyants, she gets taken to a part of England that was thought to be in ruins – Oxford. From there Paige discovers that the Scion isn’t what it looks like, and that it was a puppet government ran by another enemy: the Rephaim.
That’s all I’m going to say about the Rephaim, because it’s something that is more easily understood when read in the book. The way the voyants use their powers are less complicated if you actually read the book, too. It talks about the ether, or Source, that is a spirit realm where voyants can access and where they get their power from. Paige herself is a category of voyants of a higher order – she’s a dreamwalker. This sounds really complicated when I type it, but honestly once you read the book it’s so much easier to understand and enjoy.
Paige as a character is wonderful. She’s pretty smart, and knows how to adapt to the situation around her. The Rephaim treat voyants like their slaves, and they hate humans (they aren’t humans themselves). Despite that, they train the voyants for their powers. Paige knows when to shut up and when is a good time to be a defender of the people. She’s resolute and solid in her task: to escape from the Rephaim and return to her mime-lord and gang, the closest people whom she can call family. As a dreamwalker, Paige has special powers that make her interesting to the blood-heir (the top gun) of the Rephaim: some evil lady named Nashira. Thus, she has to try to avoid getting killed by the big shots while maybe helping the other humans? Read the book and find out who the real MVP is.
I liked the world Samantha Shannon created immensely. It is detailed and intricate, although that might also be my bias for alternate retellings of history. The characters were all great, and there aren’t any large character tropes or cliches that can be found when reading. The romance was very nice and in my opinion progressed at a steady and realistic rate. Not too fast that you’re like “What just happened?!” and not too slow that you’re like “Get moving, people!”. It was finely tuned, just like the rest of the story.
I’m not too big on the seven-book thing, but I guess I can try it out. As long as it doesn’t go beyond 10 books I’m not likely to give up on a series. I will definitely be reading the rest of the books, and I’d have to say that readers of science fiction and supernatural (I’m not even sure what to classify this as anymore) should take a chance with this.