Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: New Adult
Series: The Bone Season #1

Hardcover, 480 pages
Publication: August 20, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA
Source: Publicist, Arc


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 is a dazzling and intellectual read that absolutely lives up to the hype. I. Love. Every. Second. Of. It.

The story takes place in the not too distant future (year 2059) in London, England.  Paige Mahoney isn’t your typical 19-year-old. She runs with the underground gangs, and her Mime-Lord, Jaxon is one of most feared and notorious lord in London.  Paige is a voyant (clairvoyant), dream walker, who can get information from people’s mind and is Jaxon right-hand-gal. The world in which Paige lives in is tightly controlled by an enforcement group called The Scion. Their goal is to eliminate any and all voyants. Paige and her gang, The Seven Seals are infamous but so far have been able to delude the government for a long time…until Paige murders two Scion members. She gets captured and thrown into voyant jail located in off-the-map Oxford.  The place is called Sheol-I and is run by creatures from the netherworld called Rephaim (though they look like humans). The Rephaim procure voyants for two main reason; one for their army and two for their life-force (Rephaims sustains their life force from feeding off Voyants/Amaurotic(non-voyants)’s aura).  The strong voyants are paired with Rephaim for proper training, while the rest become servants and entertainers.  Paige is desperate to return to her old life, to her gang and the only way that is likely to happen is if she begins to trust the person she loathes the most, her Rephaim master, Warden. 

The Bone Season is one of the most complex and original novel I’ve read ever, EVER. I must admit it was a little daunting at first with the terminology/slangs and the shear amount of explanation needed for the world-building. Some reviews felt that the author was info-dumping too much.  I agree that there was a lot of information to take in, but thought it was well-done. The information was spread throughout the book, and sometimes the author incorporated flash-back chapters to better explain certain things. There are also maps, flow chart and a glossary at the back to help familiarize readers with the terminology and clairvoyance distinction. I didn’t know there was a glossary till I finished the book, but it was easy to figure out the meaning from the sentence used. To be honest I didn’t even notice/or wasn't bothered by all the information because as I got further into the book it merged perfectly into the story/plot and I was deeply engrossed by it. 

Paige is a likeable heroine. She’s a tough chick that can hold her own in everything she does and as the book progress; she grows stronger with everything that’s thrown at her both physically and mentally. All the characters play a crucial role in story and world-building whether it is big or small. I enjoyed reading about Paige’s gang the Seven Seals, the ruthless Rephaims (hoping to learn more about Nashira, the Blood-Sovereign…her background that is) and the Harlies (street performers) in Sheol-I…there’s tons of characters which added another layer of richness to the story. Beside Paige, there was another character that stood at the forefront of the story, Arcturus Mesarthim “Warden”, the Blood-Consort to the Blood-Sovereign, Nashira Sargas and Paige’s Rephaim master. Gosh. The page-time and interaction between Paige and Warden were pure gold. Their banter goes from Master-Servant to Teacher-student, and then to something more personal/intimate towards the end of the story.  I had hope early on that their relationship took on a more romantic turn, and was glad that it did in the end…but it was super brief and short-lived LOL (will see how things play out in the following books). The tension and chemistry between the two characters was deliciously-intense and just how I like my leading couples! 

The world-building is mind-blowing. Shannon attention to details is impeccable.  Just when readers are finally wrapping their heads around the gist of Shannon’s world and the seven orders of clairvoyance, the author spins another intricate layer to the world and story. The story isn’t a light-easy read, and will probably take a couple read-through to fully understand everything, but that shouldn’t be a problem because one you finish reading this book…you’ll want to read it again and again. I can’t believe it’d be another year till the second book (boo, sad face)!

The Bone Season is a highly imaginative, adrenaline rush thrill ride that will leave you breathless. Literally. (I’m talking about two particular action scenes that had me gripping the pages with unnecessary force)! All in all The Bone Season was an extraordinary debut novel.  The cast of characters and world-building was amazing and perfect. I can’t wait to read the future installments, and can definitely see this series/author becoming a huge success. I can’t recommend this series enough because it is sooooo good. I’m sure everyone will find something they like because it crosses a lot of genres such as; dystopian, paranormal, science fiction, and high fantasy. The Bone Season is a must read, and is the best book I’ve read all year!

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