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 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