Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
This book is really difficult to describe so I am just going to leave the Goodreads description here:
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.
That is literally as simple as it gets! I also want to say that my rating is more of a reflection of the book’s potential. If it was a stand-alone novel my interpretation would be different and the rating would have been lower.
Let’s start with the main character – Paige Mahoney. This is definitely one of those moments where there is great potential. Paige has a fairly weak personality in the majority of this book, despite being a pretty fierce fighter. I feel like she is easily manipulated, especially by Jaxon – through most of the book you are thinking about how obvious it is that Jaxon is using her and you are confused as to why she would be okay with this sort of treatment. You later find out that she thinks that her power is her only value; her self confidence is non-existent. This is why I am hoping that there is some major character development in the next booksy (WHICH I AM DYING TO READ!)
This has also carried over to the very obvious relationship that builds between Warden and herself. The events of the book occur over 6 months which is a believable time for a relationship to develop, but it seems to occur very quickly after 5.9 months of intense hatred and distrust. In their last moments together she realises that Warden likes her for her and not for her power and then BAM! Ovaries want to get in on that. It’s reactive emotion, not proactive, and that makes me question the emotions guiding her. It reads like she only likes him because he is the only one that has ever liked her. It’s just a little sad and icky to read.
Warden is a character I am excited to learn more about. He spent most of the book as a blank slate. You don’t really know who he is. You don’t know his motivations. You don’t find out much about his background except that he has helped humans in the past. Paige even discovers that there is nothing really going on inside his head (his “dreamspace”). No wonder there is going to be 7 books in this series when so much more needs to be explained.
The universe is really confusing. There seem to be three tiers – the clairvoyants, the humans and the Rephaim. But there are a gazillion different types of clairvoyants. Every time a new one was described the information did not sink in and I prayed that the information wasn’t going to be needed for the future. I am just going to hope that they will always be explained in future references because I don’t have a memory palace to store that info!
Which leads me to the major information dumping that takes place – which I know is necessary when introduced to a new book universe. I found that I became more comfortable with the terminology used the more that I read, but I know that there was a lot that I did not comprehend in those first few chapters and it makes me sad that others may be put off the book because of it.
The idea behind the story is very good. I love the concept of clairvoyants being a reality (and a threat to society) and I think it blends well with the concept of aliens (if that’s what they turn out to be – we still aren’t 100% sure about that one). I love that it is set in England! The cockney slang is hilarious to read and turns the book into a weird dystopian/sci-fi/steampunk/supernatural hybrid that really works.
So yeah… a promising start to what will hopefully be an excellent series.