The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
I was unsure whether I would like The Bone Season or not. Shannon has often been tagged as the next J.K. Rowling, a claim that made me skeptical. Not many people can inspire an entire generation and truly change the world with a new pop culture phenomenon.
Do I think Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling?
Did I like The Bone Season?
No. I love it.
At least, I loved most of it, but we’ll get to that later.
The year is 2059 and many major world cities are under control of a security force known as Scion. This repressive government seeks to eliminate clairvoyants, people with special power and abilities, from society. There are many different types of clairvoyants, but Paige Mahoney is one of the most rare, a dreamwalker. As a dreamwalker, Paige is able to momentarily escape her dreamscape and go into others, where she is able to hurt and kill enemies.
Proud of her clairvoyant heritage, Paige chooses to rebel and works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, with a group of seven other rare clairvoyants, the Seven Seals.
One day, things go wrong and Paige is caught by Scion and imprisoned in Oxford for the twentieth Bone Season, during which clairvoyants are kidnapped. Now Paige is a slave, trying desperately to find a way out of Oxford and save the hundreds of other trapped clairvoyants.
Shannon has great talent for creating such a high fantasy/science fiction world. Paige and many of the side and passing characters were well-rounded, and I adored the setting. While it was a bit difficult to understand the history at some points, I feel that is a problem with most high fantasy narratives. This is, after all, the first book in a series of seven books, so there is still more time for Shannon’s world to further develop and be explained.
Shannon has an amazing writing style and I loved the slang introduced and used in the novel. In many ways it reminded me of A Clockwork Orange. Shannon even includes a handy glossary at the back of the book, something most copies of A Clockwork Orange don’t have (but maybe should).
While I did love the book, there were some glaring problems.
Why, oh why, does romance have to be present to show a heroine that she is important? Why couldn’t she figure it out on her own? It seems to be a plague on heroines.
The fact that Paige was so oblivious to what was going to happen made me want to reach into the book and shake her. She had her fortune read, which basically told her who she would fall in love with and what was going to happen the rest of the book. And yet
Paige was still clueless and shocked when everything happened as predicted. She didn’t even mention the card reading after it happened.
The fact that Paige’s love interest is an immortal hunky bad boy also made me cringe. Wow, that’s creative. I’ve never heard of that happening in any novel before (Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, Shiver, Fallen, to rattle off just a few one-word titles). It just gets exhausting after a while. It would be nice to read a novel where the hunky immortal bad boy is replaced by a gawky, goofy nerd, or really any other variety of person interest that can exist.
Even so, I enjoyed Paige as a character. And even though he’s kind of an ass, I liked Paige’s boss Jaxon a lot. He was the perfect blend of sarcastic and jerky. I think my favourite character was Liss, the card reader, and found it unfortunate she wasn’t in the book more.
Overall, The Bone Season really exceeded my expectations. I loved the first book, but I am nervous about the series.
But if this ends up being a seven book romance series: count me out.