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Monday, May 5, 2014

Victoria Reviews: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I first picked up The Bone Season because my favorite vlogger (video blogger, for those who don’t know) Carrie Hope Fletcher sang the book’s praises in one of her videos on her YouTube channel (ItsWayPastMyBedtime). Seeing someone whose opinions I trust go crazy over an amazing book she was reading piqued my curiosity, and I eventually snagged a copy of the book for myself as well as some time to sit and read it.
The Bone Season is the first in a seven book series, and it follows Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant (or “voyant,” as they refer to themselves) working in an underworld crime syndicate in Scion London, where clairvoyance is illegal and persecuted. Paige is a dreamwalker, and she has the power to penetrate the dreamscapes (“the interior of the mind, where memories are stored”) of other voyants. She uses this power to recruit powerful voyants for her sector's crime lord. But when she's captured and sent to a camp where she’s enslaved by otherworldly creatures, Paige must discover the truth about clairvoyance as well as her own powers, because the world is much more dangerous than she ever dreamed.

This book drew me in from the start. Shannon’s world of clairvoyant London is fascinating and complex. She’s created an intricate classification of voyants and abilities that lends authenticity and believability to an already captivating story. The book even features a glossary at the end to help readers keep up with all the Scion slang and terminology. There’s no question that Shannon’s world-building skills are enviable. The story, made all the more interesting by the setting, kept me hooked. I found it impossible to guess what would happen next, and even if I managed to figure out one thing, there was always a big part of it that I never would have guessed. The story is daring and personal, filled with an excellent mixture of dangerous exploits along with character and relationship development. You really get to know and care for several of the characters, which makes the moments of action and danger all the more heart-pounding.

Shannon sets up the start of her series nicely, giving readers a good introduction to the kinds of people, creatures, and society the books will follow. There’s so much depth and possibility in what she’s created that, though I was a little dubious when I heard that it’s a septology, I quickly saw that Shannon has more than enough imagination and material to craft into seven books.
Author Samantha Shannon

Paige is a lovely and well-rounded character. She’s tough and intelligent – she has to be to survive as a voyant – but her fears and insecurities feel real and believable. She lives in a dangerous world, and she’s developed a hard exterior to protect herself, and as a reader, it was a joy to not only see beneath the shell but also to watch Paige learn how to open herself to new experiences and relationships. She’s clever and witty; she says what she thinks, and she’s very fluent in sarcasm. Her witty banter with other characters – friends and foes alike (as well as with friends who might be foes or foes who might be friends) – was really funny and helped make the book an enjoyable read. One of my favorite things about Paige is that she’s not worried about being likeable, she’s worried about surviving and being herself. Whether or not everyone else personally likes her as a person isn’t really the most important thing to her. This attitude, however, doesn’t stop her from being kind and trying to be the best person she can be. Paige is constantly looking out for others and doing everything she can to help those who need it. Despite the world’s cruelties, she refuses to give up completely on the world.

The Bone Season now sits firmly on my favorite’s shelf. I recommend it to just about everyone I know. I’d especially recommend this book to fans of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and all the really popular dystopian series. It’s an adventure in a new world, and I’m excited to be a part of it from the beginning.

Book two in the series, The Mime Order, is set to be released on October 21st!

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