Tuesday 12 November 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal/Mythology, Sci-fi/Dystopian, Romance
Publication Date: August 20th 2013
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


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.


This book was super awesome and I am tempted to give it 5-stars, but I think I am gonna have to stick to 4 for a couple of reasons. The first being the major info-dumping that happened in the first 50 pages of the book. I had some trouble getting through that, but I hope you will find it easier, after reading this and knowing that greatness is waiting on the other side. The other reason this loses a star is because of the amount of different clairvoyants there are, and trying to keep track of them all, and their weird names and what they all mean. Some are straightforward; like soothsayers, and mediums, and necromancers. Others are not; like drymimancers, astragalomancers, and cleidomancers. These kinds of words kept getting thrown at us as if we were supposed to know what it meant. Eventually I had to just give up and skim over them. Although, you can sometimes pick up what they mean from the context.
One of the first things you need to know before starting this book is that there is absolutely no basis for any comparison to J.K. Rowling. That is a ludicrous claim that no one should have ever made. If Samantha Shannon's writing emulates anyone, it would be Veronica Roth. World and tone-wise, I would compare this to The Hunger Games. And characters and romance-wise, I would compare this to Shatter Me and Half-Blood. I thought it was absolutely engrossing, but its still just a YA paranormal. A great YA paranormal. Story and mythology-wise there is nothing I can think to compare this to.
  The story starts out with Paige in Scion, explaining to us how clairvoyants have become feared and hunted over the years, starting with the alternate history of King Edward VII. The info-dumping explains Scion's underworld, but its not really that important. After less than 50 pages Paige is taken away to Sheol. Sheol is a hidden city where supernatural beings who have made a pact with the Scion government, take clairvoyants to enslave them. The Rephaim of Jewish mythology are giant, beautiful beings from the netherworld. Its a complex mythology and I am sure there is still a lot more to learn about them in the future books.

Paige's new master is Arcturus, usually called Warden. He is intimidating and a strict task-master as he teaches her to use her gift to become a soldier fighting the Emim, creatures that followed the Rephaim from the netherworld. I hated him so much at the beginning. He never beat her like the other keepers, but he let bad things happen to her and other people, and he tried to force her to cooperate. But Paige's spirit was strong. She was a fighter. In that way she reminded me of Juliette and how she fought against Warner in book 1 of Shatter Me. How she refused to play his games. 

“I looked at him and he looked at me. A moment. A choice. My choice. His choice.”

But unlike in Shatter Me, there is no love-triangle in this. As much as I hated Warden in the beginning, I suspected he would become the love interest, and the book actually brought me around to that idea by the end. I was rooting for Warden way sooner than I would have expected myself to, considering how much I hated him in the beginning. He was stoic, and mysterious, but you could tell how much he was watching out for Paige. He took care of her as much as he could get away with before it would become suspicious. And in that way, he reminded me of Warner, and I really recommend this book for fans of Shatter Me. I am very curious where their relationship will go in the end. It is a planned 7-books series, so they have a long journey ahead of them.

This series is a lot darker than the average YA novel, though. The Rephaim were torturing and killing humans left, right, and center. There was always a sense of danger and mystery, because we didnt know how much danger Paige was really in. How many of the Rephaim knew what she was up to? Did Warden know? What did he want from her? You never really knew, until it was too late. Its a really unique, complex world that captivated me. I highly recommend this book!

“I would never see him again.But as I watched the tunnel race before my eyes, I was certain of one thing: I did trust him. Now I had only to trust in myself.”

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