Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Source: Bought (and signed!)
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.
You may or may not know it, but Samantha Shannon’s third book in the Bone Season trilogy, The Song Rising, was released on the 7th of March. There was a readalong happening across social media in January/February(Instagram, twitter, etc.), so in my effort to actually tackle these books on my TBR once and for all, I decided I’d join the readalong for The Bone Season Although I was a little late to the party, I managed to just about catch up before falling behind with the Mime Order readalong – oops! I’m a slow reader so trying to keep up with readalongs is not always successful, however I’m glad that I decided to attempt to join in as it gave me the encouragement to read this book once and for all. I’m pleased to report that I enjoyed this. Please beware that if you haven’t read this book yet, it contains spoilers!
I went into this book with relatively high expectations, as it seems like everyone and their cat has read and loved this book. As I mentioned, I did enjoy it quite a lot, but it didn’t quite get the big 5-star review from me. I thought that it was a unique idea and at first I felt a bit intimidated by the writing because I have heard that Samantha goes to the British Library and does research/writes there and that kind of scared me because I went in thinking ‘oh my goodness, this writing is going to be insanely detailed and I won’t understand anything’. Nope, totally not the case. It was very easy to read and follow, although there are lots of layers to this unnaturalledness thingy ma jig that like me, you will have to keep referring back and forth to the helpful figure/map that is located at the front of the book for the duration of the whole story.
The Bone Season starts in what’s called Scion London in the year 2059, and this is where we meeting main character, Paige Mahoney, along with several other important characters. This plot was good and got better as it went along. I started off feeling a bit iffy about it for perhaps the first 10 to 12 chapters and wasn’t really sure if I was feeling it or not. It was a decent plot, but I wasn’t sure if it was something I was truly into. I persevered and I am glad that I did as the plot definitely gets better and better as it goes on. I love it when plots expand and things are revealed that help make the story thicker, and that’s what happened with this book – there were layers.
I found the whole Scion London thing so interesting and even more so, when I found out about Sheol I. Scion London sounds interesting for a whole host of reasons, and I’d love to see the different cohorts of the Underworld. Sheol I sounds just as interesting, if not brutal. Samantha Shannon does a wonderful job of describing the various different places that we visit in this book, so much so that I felt like I had a some really clear images of what different places look like. I might’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but good world building and good descriptions of places really help me to get invested in stories as I can really imagine the surroundings which makes for a great reading experience.
Our main character Paige Mahoney is one that I didn’t find completely irritating. In fact, I quite admired her. I liked that she wasn’t just some totally ditzy main character that we were forced to follow round for the entirety of the book. Instead she is a strong character who’s very apprehensive of what’s going on. Again, there were layers to her character that kept being revealed throughout the book which I was happy about as it just made her feel a lot more real in my mind. So other characters: the Rephaim and more specifically, Warden. So the Rephaim and truly brutal creatures and I hope to God that by the end of the series they don’t exist. They are not human creatures and come from the Netherworld, so between life and death. They literally treat all humans, voyant or not, like dirt. The amaurotics (or just non-voyant/normal human) are treated like slaves, whereas the voyants are treated a bit better but not by much. Honestly, the Rephaim are awful creatures (apart from Warden and his friends).
So Warden is Paige’s Rephaim master, and is also engaged to..I can’t remember what her official title is but basically the top dog of the Rephaim, Nashira Sargas. Warden is basically a friend to the humans/voyants and I like him, but I felt like I didn’t really get to know alllll that much about him. I’m hoping that throughout the remaining books, we really get to know him a bit better as he seems like a good character, I just felt like I didn’t find out that much. Other than Warden, there are also quite a few key characters – Paige’s gang, including Jaxon, Nick, Nadine, Danica, Zeke and Eliza. I cannot make my mind up about Jaxon, but I think the rest of the gang are pretty cool. I love Nick, but that’s because we see much more of him with Paige, whereas the others aren’t with her as much. We also meet Liss, Julian, Michael and Seb in this book, all who seem to mean something to Paige. There’s also a handful of other characters that are all involved in this story. To be honest, I feel like everyone mentioned had an effect on this story, and that they weren’t just there with no reason.
The ending. Ok, so the ending of this book went really fast which really amped up the last 150 pages of The Bone Season. I almost feel like I need to go back and read the last 100 pages, as I felt like it all went so quickly, and everything was happening all at once, I had no idea what to think. However, I thought it was a good ending. I’m assuming that by reading this review, you’ve this book, so with that, I’ll say that I’m so glad Paige, her gang and the others made it out of Sheol I, however what is Warden doing? Where is he going? I hope this is answered in the second book.
All in all, I felt like this was a great introduction to the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the second book, The Mime Order, takes us! I’m glad I actually sat down and read this book, especially as I am going to the Samantha Shannon The Song Rising event in Birmingham on the 1st of April. If you’re there, make sure you pop over and say hi!