Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Publication date: 20th August 2013.
My rating: 4 stars.
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. The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her.
Lately I’ve been quite lucky in picking up books which have received a lot of hype before their release dates. Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season had been promoted as the next Harry Potter and she had already signed a seven book deal even before The Bone Season had been released. As always I had my wary cap on before going into this book but after finishing this book I can safely say the faith that everyone had in Shannon in being able to deliver a stunning debut novel was fully justified.
I did admit I did really struggle with getting into The Bone Season, I was really intrigued by the whole concept and found myself drawn to our strong MC Paige, but there was just so much to wrap my head around. I think that if I had realised in the beginning that there was a glossary at the end of the book this would have made my reading experience a whole lot easier. So it did take me until about 40% to really get into The Bone Season, but I’m glad I continued with this book because the second half was so worth it.
The world that Shannon created in The Bone Season was just out of this world. The amount of detail she included to make this world appear so real was done wonderfully. I had no problem in imagining Paige practising with Warden in the fields, making her way through the woods or even battling her way through everything else. Some may say that Shannon added too much detail and created such a complex world, but I don’t think that this was the case at all. Without all of this intricate detail I don’t think this world would have been believable at all.
Paige found herself in Sheol I, Oxford because of her ability as a dream walker, if there were any dream walkers around they were either pretty limited, so Nashira the blood sovereign to the rephaim was lucky to finally get her hands on one. Nashira was one of those characters who were quick to evoke feelings of anger within me. (The same could be said on Suhail and the rest of her cronies too). Every time she made an appearance all I wanted to do was to scratch her eyes out, but being the blood sovereign that she was and having five angels by her side I knew she was a truly unstoppable force to mess with. But I admired Paige’s courageousness to continue to find a way out. She was left battered and bruised so many times, but she never gave up on going back home to Citadel. What I also admired about her was that she did anything she could for her friends, even if this resulted in her getting a beating. Paige was a truly excellent character in just the first book, so I can’t wait to see how her character will strengthen and develop in the rest of the series.
Paige’s relationship with her keeper Warden was a really complicated one. It didn’t help that Warden was such an enigmatic character, that I never realised until the very end what his real intentions were. But this rephaim definitely grew on me over the course of the book. What is it with big scary rephaim that always win you over afterwards?
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I had an inkling of which way things would go with Warden and Paige, the way his character was slowly softening towards her, helping her out indirectly, believing in her in using her powers for herself, and so I think the way the romance developed was handled beautifully by Shannon, yes Paige did hate Warden with an intensity, but when this other side to Warden slowly began to creep its way through, I know I would have a tough time, rejecting his advances too.
What I also enjoyed about The Bone Season was the way Shannon gave us Paige’s back story. We were treated to small stories over the course of the book which helped us understand Paige’s character a whole lot more; how she had matured into this incredible character and why she was the way she was. It was also a great surprise in discovering in how we were getting “access” to Paige’s memories in the first place.
The Bone Season was a brilliant start to what I believe will be a promising series. I would have loved to have the chance to get to know more about the seven seals, the glimpses we did get, were thoroughly entertaining. But I’m sure there’s plenty more to come from this fantastic bunch in the rest of the series. There’s nothing more for me left to say about this brilliant book but other than believe the hype.