REVIEW: THE BONE SEASON BY SAMANTHA SHANNON

THE BONE SEASON

Author: Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury RRP $29.99 (August release)
Review: Aaron Mulligan 

Media of The Bone SeasonI was sent an uncorrected proof of this book but before I could read past the first few chapters, Blue Eyes, who was looking for a new book after finishing the Game of Thrones series, snapped it up. He’s more interested in the fantasy genre than I am, so I’ve decided it’s fitting that his response to the book forms the basis of this dot-point review. He’s not a man for superlatives, so not bad, means “pretty good” in his words. But first, the blurb:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die. The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Aaron’s response:

  • I found the actual idea of it quite interesting, so that’s what drew me in initially. Overall, this wasn’t a bad book and the story itself was quite interesting.
  • In some ways it’s a complex read where the reader has to keep up with the various political and spiritual elements as well as the lingo. I regularly had to refer to the map and charts at the font of the front of the book just to put in place what they were talking about. There’s also a helpful glossary at the back to explain the ‘slang’ words used throughout. However, it’s nowhere near as complicated as the Game of Thrones series.
  • It’s well written – at times, perhaps, a bit fanciful – but I couldn’t find fault with the writing style, apart from the fact that it was clearly written by someone much younger than me. I tend to be an analyser, so I prefer something a little more subtle that makes me stop and think rather than having it spelled out for me.

  • It wasn’t until the last third that I really cared what happened to Paige because I didn’t relate to her much, probably because she reminded me of a teenager with too much attitude. To me she came across as too defiant, though YA readers would relate to her differently and say she was feisty. It’s more my age that affected my engagement with her. It wasn’t until the end that she softened a bit (in a way) and the more emotive side of her came to the fore.
  • Having just finished the Game of Thrones, I didn’t think it had as much depth; if you’re looking for something with the depth and complexity of GoT, then this isn’t it.
  • That said, I would read the next book. It will be interesting to see how Shannon’s writing matures as she gets older. I think that’s how she’ll get more depth into the characters.

  • I think young adults, less than 25, with an interest in fantasy, will really like this book. They will relate more to Paige and the storyline itself.
  • Overall it’s a catchy, well paced read that doesn’t really have a lot of dull moments.

Thanks Aaron! I think the clairvoyant/supernatural elements will have big appeal to the YA market as well, even for those not usually fantasy reader, and it is certainly a different spin to the vampire/werewolf paranormal read.

The Bone Season is due for release on August 20 and I think it’s going to get people talking. It will be available from good bookstores and Bloomsbury. This uncorrected proof was courtesy of Bloomsbury.

Have you seen the trailer yet?