Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
No. of Pages: 480
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Origins: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 20 August 2013
Bottom Line: Fantastic new series
“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.”
Thoughts: The Bone Season is the first book in what is slated to be a seven-part series. This means that there is a lot of world-building. This also means that there are many unanswered questions, many storylines left open-ended, and a lot of ambiguity. However, this should not be a scare factor for anyone. Samantha Shannon accomplishes quite a bit in this ambitious opening. While the world she creates is very complex, and the cast of characters is large, readers will find it very easy to immerse themselves into this unique setting among the eclectic cast. Her use of familiar sites and locations helps ease the discomfort associated with adjusting to an alternative history. The story is also helped by her ability to continue to acclimate readers to her new world without halting the story’s forward progress through pages upon pages of descriptions. The descriptions happen – and they are excellently written – but they occur simultaneously, keeping the momentum and intensity and effectiveness of the story intact.
While the entire novel hints at future story lines, none have quite as much potential as the Rephaim and particularly Warden. His actions within THE BONE SEASON remain shrouded in mystery. His relationships to his fellow Rephaim as well as to the humans are unclear, while his motivations are not only unclear but downright unknown. It makes his actions that much more intriguing because a reader is left in the dark as much as Paige is. Ms. Shannon does intimate at Warden’s backstory, and the glimpses shown are tantalizing in the possibilities.
Not only is Ms. Shannon setting the stage for future novels, but she manages to make The Bone Season a fast-paced thrill ride of a novel with a surprisingly large amount of closure. Paige’s struggle to adapt to life as a prisoner and the world of the Rephaim is intense, as she fights to maintain her independence and stay true to her principals in an environment that views her as lower than the low and only worthy of subjugation. Paige proves herself to be one of the strongest female characters to grace the pages of any novel with her fierce determination, unique skill set, and her pride. As the tension ratchets up to a fever pitch, the action – which was already intense – kicks into high gear, and a reader can only sit back and enjoy the ride. The final breathtaking pages will not only leave a reader anxiously anticipating the next installment but also celebrating the diverse and multi-layered world Ms. Shannon creates.