Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: The Bone Season

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season #1
Published August 20th 2013 by Bloomsbury

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.
*An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.*

The Bone Season is a book that garnered MAJOR buzz when it came out. Right from the start it was announced that there would be a 7-book deal for the series and a film based on the first book is already in development.  This set the bar for this one pretty high, especially since everyone was comparing this to the Harry Potter series.  Naturally, I was a bit skeptical of that last claim, but nonetheless, I went in with an open mind and reasonably high hopes.  I'm not sure what exactly I was imagining in terms of content but now that I've read it, I can honestly say that it was not what I was expecting.

The Bone Season has been marketed as a fantasy read but that's wasn't my impression with it at all. I'd categorize it as a mix between sci-fi and dystopian.  It starts off in this strange future with very little in the way of world-building.  At first, it felt very confusing but I get the impression that that was done on purpose.  Even though the story is set in the future, the world here had a very alien and foreign feel to it.  Once I was able to get past all the strange vocabulary and get into something of a flow, things seemed to improve a bit.  The first half was compulsively readable, despite my issues with the lack of world-building. Apparently the less I know about a world, the more motivated I am to get me some answers! Soon I was immersed in this world that had a seriously strange vibe and I was eager to know more.  Unfortunately, the information was not forthcoming on how the world morphed into what Miss Samantha Shannon has imagined here, which is a shame. Sure, it's crazy unique, but I need more than that. Lay me some ground work. Make me believe.

Character-wise was where The Bone Season really fell flat for me.  The main protagonist, Paige should have been an instant favorite, given her clairvoyant skills and the situation she gets thrust into, but I never truly felt any kind of a connection to her.  She came off sort of bland and I didn't feel like I knew much about her - a trend that continued till the end I'm afraid - I still don't have much of a read on her.  I certainly admired her resilience and the way she adapted to being imprisoned by the Rephaim. I just couldn't make myself care all that much about her predicament.

Speaking of the strange creatures called the Rephaim.  I still have absolutely no clue what they are, where they come from or how they got to Earth.  I mean, I know there's 6 more books to come but I feel like I should at least know something about them.  The sparse details made it challenging to properly imagine the creatures throughout the book.   As much as mysteries can be alluring, what I felt was a lack of important details in The Bone Season was really frustrating.  Of course, given the high-fantasy kick I've been in lately, maybe I was just in world-building withdrawals ;)

Unfortunately, I mostly lost interest in The Bone Season beyond the halfway point.  Sure real life was crazy busy, but I didn't lose interest in the others books I was reading at the time, so to me that says something.  I just couldn't bring myself to care about these character and this world when so little explained and so much was left up in the air.  I mean, the stakes are sky-high throughout but it just didn't move me the way it should have.  The ending brought some level of resolution, but considering the planned length of the series, lots of plot-points were still unresolved.

The Bone Season would have gotten a 3-star rating, if the ending had really stepped things up a notch, but sadly, it didn't.  I'm still planning on checking out the sequel, in case the world-building and character development really pick up as the story progresses but for the most part, this was a letdown for me.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

16 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who felt a bit meh about Paige. I cry so easily at books and felt nothing at the end NOTHING! How could this happen?? D:

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    1. EXACTLY.And for me it's a really big deal when I simply do not care about the MC...or any of the characters for that matter >.>

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    2. HAHA exactly, also thanks so much for reading this with me even if it ended up being less fun, at least we tried!

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    3. Awww my pleasure! Thank YOU for reading it with me even though real life got busy and I couldn't follow your progress o.O We'll have to do it again sometime...hopefully something a little more fun!

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  2. I haven't read this one yet, but I'm obviously not feeling like rushing out and getting it right now. Sorry this one didn't thrill you - maybe the next book will be better?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Some people seem to have really loved it though, but it does seem to be an all-or-nothing kind of read. I'm certainly hoping that the next one is an improvement *crosses fingers*

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  3. I grabbed a copy of this shortly after it came out exactly because of all the hype surrounding it, plus the premise sounded really cool. I'm a bit wary about the lack of details here- that is definitely a bookish pet peeve of mine. But, I will try to keep an open mind when I do get around to reading it. And I totally agree that reading high fantasy does set stratospheric world-building expectations when reading other books! :)

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    1. It really did start off promissing. The sci-fi/futuristic/dystopian vibe was something really fresh...but yeah I needed more world details and some emotional connection to the characters o.O And 1000000x yes to that last comment of yours ^^ ;)

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  4. Oh no, Micheline. That's no fun at all! I think the worst is when expectations are so high it's almost impossible for the story to live up to them... And it does no favours neither to the author nor to the readers, sadly.
    I hope your next read will be amazing :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. I think that's why I held off and didn't read it last year when all the buzz was at it's peak. I wanted to make sure none of that affected my experience. Sadly, waiting didn't help me in this case either >.< Thanks Lexxie ♥

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  5. *weeps in the corner* This is one of my favourite books ever!

    HOWEVER, I totally agree with almost everything you say in your review. Paige is a little lacklustre but I felt the mystery behind the Rephaim, and the other humans, made the book interesting. I really liked the world-building and was surprised to find that the book straddled sic-fi, fantasy, and dystopia (I liked it though).

    I'm very sorry it was a let down for you :( I hope your next reads are more fun and exciting :D

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    1. Oooh no!! I was definitely a compelling read - well, at least the first half was - due to the mystery and all that as you said. I just lost interest as it went on... Thanks Shaheen and thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I hate when you hit that half way point and you're just bored and yet you really feel like you should finish. I still haven't gotten to this one - don't know if I will cause everyone either loves it or ...doesn't. haha

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    1. Yeah it really does seem like quite the polarizing read. And you're exactly right: I felt like I needed to give it a chance and finish but unfortunately, it didn't pay off in this case!

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  7. Book twins again! Unfortunately for a negative reason because this also got a 2 star rating from me. Points for creativity, but completely lacking in world building, agreed!

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    1. We're like two hearts living in one mind! Yup, I could NOT agree more! Book twins for liiife.

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