This book is simply outstanding. I enjoy most books, but The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon was something else entirely. Right from the get-go Shannon drew readers into a dark, mysterious world, which only became more mysterious and more convoluted as the pages turned. For every question answered, two more cropped up. This thrilling, fantastical read was anything but boring, and it soared past my expectations.
Enter the world of Paige Mahoney, a gifted clairvoyant, a “dreamwalker,” in the year 2059. Her natural talents are considered treasonous under the current regime, dictated by the powerful government know as Scion. Paige serves the Syndicate, an underground crime force of clairvoyants, among which she is a legend. Until she is snatched away to a secret prison, where she encounters another race, the Rephaim, creatures who wish to control the powers of Paige and those like her. One in particular will be assigned as her keeper, her trainer. But his motives are mysterious, and he’s not nearly as monstrous as Paige wants him to be. To regain her freedom, Paige must learn to trust, in the prison where she is meant to die.
As I mentioned (while gushing above), I adored this book. And that’s saying something, as my expectations had been set quite high by my fellow Bookstagrammers, whose ravings about this book were the primary reason behind why I picked it up in the first place. I loved everything about this book -the characters, the plot, the world-building. Truly, Shannon did a fantastic job here.
The characters are an immediate draw; most are both mysterious and charismatic, drawing the reader into their tales of woe and danger.
- 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. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rarity among clairvoyants, yet not even she understands the full extent of her powers. Following a shocking chain of events, Paige is kidnapped and imprisoned by the Rephaim, an otherwordly race supposedly straight out of the aether. There, she is placed under the tutelage of Warden, a brooding and mysterious Rephaim with a secret past. As Paige navigates the world of the Rephaim searching for her freedom, her own dark secrets begin to bubble to the surface, revealing a past of hurt and betrayal, obstacles she must overcome if she is to gain her freedom.
- Warden is Rephaim, and he’s Paige’s keeper. Yet unlike the other keeper’s, he is not cruel; he does not beat Paige, or imprison her, but instead gives her a certain degree of freedom, and goes so far as to protect her from the cruelty of others. Yet he is guarded, revealing little of himself to her. Yes, I know he’s not perfect – far from it in fact. Warden allows Paige to abused by others, put down, and violates her privacy on several occasions, and yet, the reader never really feels as though he’s a bad person. Why? Because it is blatantly clear that, like Paige’s life among the Syndicate, Warden’s life is being controlled by hands that are not his own. One might say he’s the villain, yet in my opinion, it is society which has shaped the villainous tale here.
- Other characters include:
- Jaxon, also known as the White Binder, (Paige’s Mime Lord), who is pretty despicable right from Page 1, but he does get some brownie points for coming in handy at the end, I suppose.
- The rest of the Seven Seals: the Red Vision (Nick), the Black Diamond (Zeke), the Martyred Muse (Eliza), the Chained Fury (Dani), and the Silent Bell (Nadine), who are primarily minor characters in this book, but who will definitely play a larger role in The Mime Order. Nick may be the exception, as his relationship with Paige has had, and is having, a large role in shaping her life.
- Paige also befriends several clairvoyants while imprisoned; most notably, Liss and Julian, who are by her side and support her throughout the novel.
- Nashira Sargas, leader of the Rephaim, known as the blood-sovereign, and Warden’s bethrothed (?), which makes Warden, by default, the blood-consort. Nashira is a straight up conniving, evil tyrant who rules the Rephaim and Scion with fear and cruelty, and she’s hell-bent on killing Paige for her power. She’s also the controlling power behind Warden’s behaviour, essentially blackmailing him into respecting her authority.
Beyond the development of increasingly complex characters, Shannon also did a magnificent job with the story in The Bone Season. There weren’t many dull moments, and each scene played a roll in the progression of the plot. The plot itself had plenty of twists and turns, and while the ending was somewhat expected (or perhaps simply hoped for), the journey to the conclusion itself was quite exciting.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new Fantasy read; it’s even got a sequel (and a third book on the way within the next year), so there’s plenty of fantastic reading material to enjoy!