Book: The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
Author: Samantha Shannon
I bought this book last summer, but of course, like all the books I buy, it has been languishing on my shelf for a year before I finally got around to it! I had heard some amazing things about this book from my friend so I was really excited for it. And it was good, it was, the world building was skilled (albeit I could have used a few more details), the writing was decent (though perhaps a little complex in places) and I loved the main character but it was a little confusing in places and it took a long time for me to warm up to the world and story. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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.
The concept of the world is very unique, I’ve never read anything like it before, so props to the author for that! However, being so different, it does get a little confusing at times.
You’re hit with information right from the off, with a map and a list of the orders of clairvoyance right at the front of the book and whilst I appreciate that this was information we needed as readers, it’s a lot to take in right at the start of a book!
The opening was extremely engaging, unfortunately this doesn’t last through the whole book, whilst the opening chapters have a decent pace to them, the pace does lag a bit in the middle before picking up again at breakneck speed, I would have liked it if it had kept a more even pace throughout.
There are a lot of new terms thrown at you straight from the start, and whilst the author is helpful in providing a glossary for all of the clairvoyant terms, it is a little distracting having to flip back and forth all the time when you don’t understand something.
The chapters were also overly long, sometimes twenty or thirty pages, and this doesn’t really work for me, I feel like long chapters slow the pace of a book down considerably and I often have to leave off in the middle of chapters which I really hate!
The world building is decent for some things, you do learn about the different types of voyants and what they can all do, so the fantasy system is built up quite well and you learn quite a bit about the history of the Rephaim (this humanoid type race, that are immortal, it’s kind of vague on exactly what they are) but I didn’t feel like the history of Scion was explained very well. We don’t get to understand how this alternate UK came to be, and there’s a vague explanation as to why clairvoyants have become feared but it’s not fleshed out much. We also don’t know exactly how clairvoyancy became a thing. I’m hoping that we will get more development on some of these things in later books, because this world has so much potential if only it was fleshed out a bit more.
The action sequences were decent, but they are interspersed with a LOT of Paige’s inner monologues and lengthy descriptions that I possibly could have done without. The writing was occasionally a little complicated and I didn’t always understand exactly what was going on.
Paige really grew on me. At first she just seemed like every other dystopian heroine ever, but she grows a lot throughout the novel and by the end I found myself really rooting for her. Her ability was so awesome too, basically being able to walk into other people’s minds! She’s feisty yes, but she’s also intelligent and kind and felt like a realistically flawed person, so I really enjoyed her. Warden was mysterious, but really frustrating because you never really understand what his motives are or what exactly he’s doing. The rest of the characters never really felt fleshed out enough, we don’t really get to know any of Paige’s fellow prisoners in much depth. We get to see how Paige feels about the Seals, but we’re not really with them long enough to find out much about them and Paige’s relationship to them. The only ones I could really form any opinion on were Nick, who seemed lovely, but then we are seeing him through Paige’s biased eyes, and Jaxon, who seemed like a total ass. I’m hoping that in the next book we get to see more of the Seals and them, and their relationship with Paige will be developed more. Learning about her past through the flashbacks was interesting, although they were rather clumsily included and I think the transitions between the past and the present could have been smoother
I HATED the romance, it was totally unnecessary and exploited one of my least favourite tropes. CAN WE NOT WITH THE WHOLE MASTER/SLAVE ROMANCE THING? It’s not sexy, it’s not romantic, it’s disgusting! I don’t care if he’s “not like the others”, he still owns her, allows her to be branded, watch her friends die in front of her, be beaten, nearly starved etc. We really need to stop with this trope, because it’s not cool. Not to mention, he’s like 200 and she’s 19. What is with this? Authors, it’s not cool to have your teenage protagonist dating a hundreds of year old immortal. Period.
The climax felt a little rushed to me, the last few chapters went by very fast, too fast almost to take all of it in but I think this was again just another offshoot of the pacing being very off throughout the book.
Overall, this was a decent debut, with an interesting concept and a main character you can root for, but there is a lot to be improved on in future books, hopefully the rest of the series will be better edited so the writing is less clunky and there are less huge chunks of information and the pacing will be better. I think there is potential for the future books as the concept is great, perhaps the author was just overly ambitious for her debut and crammed too much in there. I don’t really see how this series is going to stretch out into seven books, but I look forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.
My rating: 3/5
My next review will be of my July #RockMyTBR read, Frozen Charlotte.