I’ve been craving a more heavy YA fantasy book lately, and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon saved me. Get ready for CREEPY MAGIC!
Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Title & Author: The Bone Season: A Novel by Samantha Shannon
Genre: YA Fantasy – High Fantasy, Alternate History
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Series: The Bone Season #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
How I Got the Book: Bought
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.”
Hype: Noise or Truth?
I’ve been oblivious to super hyped up books this year. First The 5th Wave and now The Bone Season. Apparently, Samantha Shannon was touted as the “next J.K. Rowling.”
While the this series may also be a 7-parter (!!!), the similarities between this book and the Harry Potter series stop there. Where the Harry Potter books immersed you into a world of wonder and magic, The Bone Season throws readers into a dark, big-brotherish world where possessing magical abilities is a punishable offense.
I enjoyed The Bone Season for being unique and dark and thrilling.
But, there are two things I’d warn new readers about, which are:
1. Things are explained quickly and in rapid succession right away. – There is a very high learning curve in The Bone Season. There is English street slang to learn as well as tons of terms related to voyants (clairvoyants) and their underground world as well as the system that keeps magical abilities under wraps (Scion). PLUS, within the voyant world, there are tons of different types of voyants and different names for spirits.
Pro tip: E-book users – Use the glossary at the end of the book. I didn’t know it was there until I’d finished (doh!). It will help you keep the barrage of new information somewhat straight in your head.
2. Things get pretty brutal. – I’ve read more descriptive and violent acts in other books, but I think the sheer volume of things that happen in the book surprised me. It fits with the world – it’s a no-tolerance place for voyants, so people like Paige have to keep their noses down and senses on high alert.
Don’t be shocked by the amount of brutality in The Bone Season.
After initially getting used to the above-mentioned quirks, I sunk into the book very quickly. Paige is a scrappy 20 something who works for Jaxon Hall, one of the most feared Mime Lords in London. Mime Lord is a fancy name for voyant gang leader or mobster. She helps him find other voyants because of her unique ability to escape her consciousness for brief moments of time and enter another’s conscious, or dreamscape.
The intricacy of voyants and their abilities was something I loved. It was complicated but rich. Plus, it allows for so many variations and lots of surprises. This element of The Bone Season really took it from fantasy-esque to hardcore high fantasy. It was refreshing for me because not many YA fantasy books are that developed and epic (Falling Kingdoms and The Girl of Fire and Thorns come to mind).
I found myself liking Paige but being afraid of her at the same time. She’s resilient to a fault and very, very stubborn. But, she’s loyal and true, like most strong heros.
Even though the romance is a bit predictable, it’s hot. Very hot. Lots of tension and build-up. Certainly no instalove around these parts.
If you can set the hype aside and focus on the fascinating premise of the hardcore fantasy world, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. Although, be warned, it’s an investment of time (7 books), and the beginning may have your head spinning with an onslaught of info. I found The Bone Season to be a strong debut and truly love the complex world of voyants and the non-magical loving Scion.