All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

on August 21, 2013

Bone SeasonThe Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury Publishing
2013, 454p
Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury ANZ

In an alternate history, the year is 2059 and since Victoria, there hasn’t been a monarch in England. London is under the control of a group known as Scion who work to eradicate anyone with clairvoyance from the city. ‘Voyants’ are seen as unnatural and most if not all crimes are blamed upon them. There are many people with different gifts who are able to access the æther, a spirit realm. Some can call and control spirits and use them. Paige works for a group known as the Seven Seals, an underground group who all do different work with their gifts. Paige is a dreamwalker – she is able to enter the dreamscape of others. Her gift is very rare but it doesn’t matter to the Scion. Anyone caught using their gift is executed for treason.

When Paige is arrested, she believes that execution will be her fate. Instead she is taken to Oxford, a former city that has been wiped off the map by the Scion. To them, it doesn’t exist. In Oxford, a community of other beings known as the Rephaim collect and use clairvoyants for their own purposes. They submit them to tests – those that pass move up the ranks and become soldiers in their army. Those that fail are branded cowards and banished to live on the outskirts, forced to perform for the Rephaim and entertain them.

Each ‘voyant’ that is taken during ‘The Bone Season’ harvest is chosen by a keeper. Paige is chosen by one known as the Warden, the blood-consort to the blood sovereign, who has never chosen a human to mentor and train before. Some of the trainers are cruel but Paige is surprised to find that Warden is not. He allows her the freedom to speak and roam and he does not beat her. He pushes her to access her gift, to hone and develop it but Paige knows that the blood sovereign intends to kill her and bind her spirit. It’s what she does – that way she has access to all of the gifts. She has wanted someone with Paige’s gift for a long time and when she feels that Paige has reached her true potential, that’s when she will kill her.

In order to survive, Paige will have to place her faith in someone she has tried so hard to hate: Warden. Can she trust him and the reason he says that he’s developing her gift, pushing her to access her potential? Or will he betray her and send her and her friends to death.

The Bone Season is the first in a seven-arc series by young British author Samantha Shannon. She has been called the next JK Rowling, a big wrap and this book has had a steady buzz going now for some months. I can’t make any comparisons to JK Rowling because I’ve never read her famous Harry Potter series but I can attest to Samantha Shannon’s development of a clever and richly built world populated with interesting characters who possess unique gifts.

The world we know deviates about 200 years before this novel starts, in about 1859. Crimes such as Jack the Ripper are blamed on those who possess clairvoyant abilities and the rise of the Scion has been stamping them out ever since. The Scion use people who are clairvoyant themselves, forcing them to work in tracking down those of their kind by sensing their auras and abilities. Paige, the novel’s main character was born in Ireland, a place that only recently fell to the Scion. She moved to London and went to school, keeping her head down and her abilities secret on the advice of a mysterious man named Nick. When her paths cross with Nick again, Paige is taken into the arms of the Seven Seals ruled with an iron fist by Jaxon Hall who has built up a tightknit group of cleverly gifted voyants for his own use. Paige is his Pale Dreamer, his mollisher and she’s safe and secure in her position serving him, until the day she is arrested and her world changes.

I loved Paige and her absolute refusal to accept her new fate. She wasn’t prepared to be treated a certain way and she was appalled at others being treated that way – those who had failed the tests, or who weren’t voyants but were taken in order to be servants for the Rephaim. She stands up for people, often to her own disadvantage and she is always looking for a way out, not just for herself but for others as well. Even though she wants to hate Warden she cannot ignore when he returns to his residence and is obviously injured. The more she gets to know Warden the more she begins to question his motives. He is the consort to the sovereign, the one who wants to kill Paige so he should not be trusted under any circumstances. But he doesn’t treat her the way others in her position are treated and his training, although dangerous, encourages her to do things she’s never been able to do before.

I have to admit, I am a sucker for characters like Warden, those dark mysterious characters where you can never been too sure of their motives most of the time. He forces Paige to think outside of the box – she is in danger of becoming similar to the Scion in thinking that all Rephaim are bad just the way the Scion think all of those with gifts are bad. When Paige learns of a failed rebellion in the past against the Rephaim she begins to wonder if this time, there can be one that succeeds.

Although the slang can be exhausting at times, The Bone Season is a great start to a series. I became invested in Paige and Warden as well as some of the Seven Seals and the people Paige met at Oxford. I wanted to learn more about the various abilities and how they connect to the æther. I can’t wait for the second installment to see what happens next because all of the world building and groundwork have been laid so wonderfully. There’s so much potential for where this story can go.

8/10

Book #219 of 2013

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4 responses to “The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

  1. Danielle says:

    Great review.
    I do have this to read, but I almost want all the hype to die down before I dig in.

  2. Belle says:

    Oh yay, I was nervous to read this after seeing all the hype, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I would really love to read this novel, but I would be lying if I said that the fact that The Bone Season is the first novel in a series of seven wasn’t a deterrent. I have an absolutely horrible track record with completing series, and adding one more to the list of series I currently have in progress seems daunting, to say the least. I do think it has an inventive and fascinating premise but I think I’ll try my best to wait until future novels are released so that I can read them all in one go 🙂

    I was also happy to hear that the novel managed to meet the hype. All too often the authors that are touted as ‘The next J.K. Rowling’ are a bitter disappointment and given the amount of publicity surrounding The Bone Season, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find that the novel suffered a similar fate.

  4. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I thought this was a great read too Bree and I’m hopeful the author will be able to sustain it

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