Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season
Series: The Bone Season #1
Author: Samantha Shannon
Published: August 2013 by Bloomsbury
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Synopsis: 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. It 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.

There is so much hype surrounding this book. It was heralded as the next Harry Potter, the next great Fantasy series. People have raved about its creativity and brilliance. I had to read it to see if it lived up to the hype. And while I'm not entirely sure it lived up to Potter standards it was incredibly inventive and entertaining. 

What made this book so unique was the world that Samantha Shannon has created. She did an excellent job of combining supernatural elements from mythology and religion with futuristic elements of technology. It starts off incredibly interesting and reads like a science fiction novel with the combination of supernatural powers and technology as we learn about what life is like in London and the criminal underground. But then very quickly things get more like a fantasy story as Paige is kidnapped and ends up with a group of terrifying supernatural beings. But they were so interesting and intriguing. I spent so much of the book with "huh face" wondering what was going on and what it all meant. The "magical" system in this book was very cool as well. Pretty much all the characters had clairvoyant powers but they were all different. Many of them are things that we think about like being able to read cards use objects to communicate with spirits but then there were other powers like influencing dreams. There's this whole hierarchy and interesting names for what people can do. It's all very complicated and very interesting. 

But that being said, the world-building in this book was its greatest strength but also its greatest weakness. Now don't get me wrong, this world is absolutely amazing, so intriguing and mysterious, but in terms of its execution it was so much info dumping. I was often so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the information I was learning. It seemed like every chapter was another massive explanation about what was happening in this world and how it got to be that way. It was more confusing then it needed. Sometimes less is more. I mean there are supposed to be six more books in this series, do we really have to show our hand right away? 

But it still brilliantly introduced an exciting new series. It was an exposition kind of story with so much mystery and action that I was intrigued and entertained from beginning to end. The plot developed and shifted at this crazy hectic pace that was so wonderful. There was so much action to the story. I was worried for the safety of the characters at the same time as I was curious to see where everything would lead. It definitely felt like an action story with battle scenes and bloody fights. The best part was that unlike a lot of books which are planned series, The Bone Season didn't leave me on a cliffhanger. It set up the series but reads like its own independent book.

What it also did really well is introduce lots of amazing and complicated characters. I loved Paige, our MC and protagonist. She was brave, tough, and sassy but she also cared more than herself. She's a great hero for the story. But the book was littered with characters that walked the line between good and evil. More than one character surprised me with where their true alliances lay and the surprises actions that they took throughout different parts of the story. They kept me guessing as much as the plot. 

I give The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon an 8 out of 10 

Comparisons to other enormously successful series have been recklessly thrown at this book since the very beginning but that it's unfair to compare this book to those. My suggestion is not judge it against any other series and just read it on its own merits. It is a book with an interesting and complex world, an action-packed plot, and complicated characters that will keep you guessing. If you're a fan of Dark Fantasy and/or Science Fiction then check out The Bone Season. 

Have you read The Bone Season? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with mine? Leave me a comment and join in the conversation, books are always better when you talk about them. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. OOh nice review! I was just starting to hear buzz over this series when I stumbled upon a copy at a TJMaxx for a mere $7! So it's in my TBR mountain, I just have to work my way towards it! Curse the short hours in a day and the need to "work" and "sleep"! I so wish I could go without sleep! It would solve a lot of problems! :)

    Again, great review! I heard comparisons to Harry Potter too, but I thought it sound intriguing even without that comparison! Hoping to read it soon!

    1. RIGHT! Sleep and work... I want to read! Thanks Jessica. I hope you get a chance to read it, it's very good and definitely intriguing enough without the comparison.

  2. I absolutely hate when books are compared to other series. My expectations end up going through the roof, and I'm usually left a little disappointed. I just don't understand why comparisons have to be made! I haven't read The Bone Season yet, but it's been on my wishlist for a while now =) And no cliffhanger, even better! Great Review!

    1. I hate the comparisons too! It's so unfair to the book. I get what they're trying to do by attracting an audience from a similar book but if a book is good enough, and this one is, it can stand on it's own merits.

  3. One things that put me off about this book was it being dubbed the next HP. That always puts me off because no matter what, I will always sit and compare while I am reading, which takes away from so much of the read!

    However, I am really glad you liked it. I went ahead and bought this a few months ago and I have yet to read it so I think it is time. I also like the sound of the logistics too. I think the way the beings work (especially in witch books!) and how it is explained is better than the plot sometimes! :)

    Great review & thanks for sharing! :) xx

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    1. I agree, you can't help but compare the books when their already putting the idea in your head. The world in it is very cool and interesting. It had me asking so many question and hooked on the book from beginning to end. I hope you enjoy it!