I received this book free from Library, the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA on August 20th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Source: Library, the Publisher
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.
Hype: to promote or publicize extravagantly
Bone Season is the very definition of hype. The Marketing team was working overtime to promote the first installment in a proposed seven-book series. Not only was the story itself hyped up but the author herself, being promoted as the next J.K. Rowling. Considering who J.K. Rowling is, that is not a term to be throwing around lightly. The rights to the film have already been purchased as well. Unfortunately, I think in the long run the Marketing team did this book a disservice because I was honestly expecting a masterpiece and while The Bone Season was a magical and imaginative world, it wasn’t as original as it was made out to be.
The premise is not easily to summarize. The main character is Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker, a rare type of clairvoyant. In the world she lives in, clairvoyants must hide their gifts to survive because the security force Scion forbids their existence. When Paige is captured she believes it was Scion but she finds herself in the lost city of Oxford and that it’s being controlled by the Rephaim, an otherworldly race that enslaves voyants so they can utilize their gifts.
I can’t even begin to explain my disappointment because of how excited I was for this book. I struggled to finish this. I first started reading this in print and had an awful time absorbing the details of the world-building. It’s a serious info-dump and while many people urged me to continue because it got easier to understand, it just never really did for me. In addition to the info-dump style of explaining this vast world, to add further confusion it felt like there was an entire language created for this story. There are 10 full pages of glossary in the back describing these terms and you will need to reference the glossary if you have any hope of this story making any bit of sense. Flatches? That’s money. Bunter? A young woman. Threnody? A series of words used to banish spirits. You get the picture.
Setting aside my vast confusion was my irritation at the writing style and how it’s written in short, choppy sentences. That was one of the main reasons I switched to audio because I was seeing. far. too. many. freaking. periods.The audio still possessed that jerky feel and while the writing itself and the words utilized were fine it lacked a much needed refinement. A few examples:
“My vision turned black. I’d just possessed David. Only for a heartbeat, but I’d moved his arm. I had finally possessed a human. David put his hands to his head. I hadn’t been gentle.”
“Maybe I should do it. This was my chance to get rid of him. I’d killed before. I could do it again.”
“I don’t know. I just want you with me. I had never said those words aloud. Now that I could taste my freedom I wanted him to share it with me. But he couldn’t change his life for me. And I couldn’t sacrifice my life to be with him.”
The characters were pretty unremarkable and when a few of them died I was fairly shocked to realize that I couldn’t have cared less. The only backstory given was on the main character, Paige, and while we’re clearly meant to care about several other characters that played a large part I apparently failed to do so. I must give points though, Paige was an appropriately realistic character which isn’t often found in fantasy type stories like this. Most main characters are either extremely stupid or incredibly badass and I found Paige to be an acceptable mix of the two because she was smart yet made mistakes and badass yet was scared when appropriate. She didn’t win any awards as a favorite character of mine but I blame that solely on the unnecessary and ridiculous romance that had to be thrown in the mix.
The Warden. Dun dun dun. The Warden is Paige’s keeper and is responsible for her training in order to become of use to the Rephaim. He’s naturally extremely handsome and he puts himself in situations that forces Paige to save his life and… I’m fairly certain you could guess the outcome. The Warden reminded me GREATLY of The Darkling in Shadow and Bone and once I became set on that thought I realized that the majority of this book felt extremely similar. It can be argued that Bone Season is vastly more detailed but it’s excessively detailed and while I would typically say that I prefer more detail than not enough that is not the case with this story.
This book already has a whole slew of fans so I’m clearly in the minority but this story was unnecessarily busy and overly complicated for my liking. This is the first book in a series and the ending definitely sets the scene for the next installment, but unfortunately I won’t be joining in on that bit of fun once it’s released.