The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon is as good as, if not better than, the first book in the series, The Bone Season. Picking up right where the first book ends, the action starts immediately. The danger Paige Mahoney faces is a constant undercurrent under the main activity of the book as she struggles to decide just where her loyalties lie.
If the first book is an introduction to the world of Scion, voyants, and the Rephaim, The Mime Order is all about determining on which sides the key players reside. The underworld should be a safe place for Paige to hide and recover, but it turns out that there is more going on among the mime lords than Paige ever realized. With Scion’s ever-vigilant eye turned towards the underworld in hopes of a much-publicized capture of the woman who masterminded the prison break of Sheol I, Paige finds that safe havens are few and far between.
As in the last book, the familiar setting of London, no matter how changed it may be, provides much-needed context as readers continue to learn more about Scion, the underworld, and the Rephaim. One imagines being able to head to modern-day London to visit the same places Paige does, and that familiarity allows readers to focus on learning more about the characters.
While Warden and his kin remain a puzzle, we get to see Paige grow. Her character development does not limit itself to the mastery of her power but also to her understanding of human nature. We see her challenge the status quo, determined to protect her people no matter what the cost. We see her learn more about the politics of the underworld and use that knowledge to her advantage. She starts out the novel a bruised and battered young woman hoping for safety and rest but evolves into a fierce leader with quite a battle on her hands.
The final scene leaves chills at its potential for the story’s future, and therein lies Ms. Shannon’s skill in telling this story. She knows just what to give readers to satisfy them but leave them wanting more. Plus, no one is particularly safe in her world, which always adds to the drama. Her blend of the real with the fantasy breeds familiarity among the more esoteric aspects of her story. With five more books to go in the series, we know there is still much more to learn about the Rephaim, their connections to Scion, as well as the existence of voyants, but The Mime Order does not disappoint in any way. In fact, with its amazing ending, you cannot wait for more.