Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ARC Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Mime Order
Series: The Bone Season #2
Author: Samantha Shannon
Published: January 27, 2015 by Bloomsbury
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley (Thank you Bloomsbury) for an honest review in return. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

*** This review is  for the second book in a series and may contain mild spoilers for The Bone Season. You should check that book out before reading this review. But it is spoiler free for The Mime Order.***

I read The Bone Season (my review) in April and really liked it. It was one of those really hyped books that if you take it on it's own merit and don't compare it to other books you will enjoy it. While I wasn't completely blown away, I did find it creative and entertaining. So going into The Mime Order, I didn't have the highest of expectations but I was still really excited. But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how good The Mime Order was. It was a huge step up and it kept some of the things I liked about The Bone Season, like the world and plot-development, and changed some of the things I didn't like. such as the world-building.

First and foremost when it comes to this series, Samantha Shannon has created an utterly captivating world. What I loved about the first book was the combination of mythology, technology, and fantasy to create something wholly new and interesting. And like all good fantasy, it has a "magical system" that has clear rules and is rooted in logic. But not only that, but the magical system is cool (for lack of a better word). In this book we get to see so many more clairvoyant powers in action. In the first book we got to see a lot more of the lower orders like using tarot cards or objects to communicate with spirits. Here we got to see things like spirits possessing you, trapping spirits, and using spirits against others (there's a lot more with spirits). Every time a person would use the aether and/or uses their clairvoyant powers it was so fascinating to me. But in terms of the world in this book we also got to learn more about the Rephaim and their history and spend more time in Scion London.

And surprisingly, even though the world was expanded and elaborated, the world-building wasn't frustrating. I felt like in The Mime Order, you get less bogged down in the world and it doesn't feel as needlessly complicated. Unlike the last book. there wasn't a lot of info-dumping and explanation. They werethose moments, but on the whole they were banking on the fact that we understood the world. And despite the fact that I wanted a cheat sheet and reminder about a lot of things, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the world. And I actually really liked learning more about the London Syndicate. The culture of the underground clairvoyants and mobsters was so interesting to me. It definitely had much more of the dystopian feel than the previous book. There was a lot more political intrigue and it felt more like it was about the evils of society than the evils of a particular antagonist. And while the conflict that was created in the first book was still there, it was in the periphery. Things were more big picture here and it really worked.

The fact that you get less bogged down in the world of this book, also enables you able to spend more time getting to know the characters. And boy did this book have some truly amazing character development. The main character Paige is a fantastic and well-rounded character. I liked Paige in The Bone Season, I found her to be brave, selfless, and sassy. But in The Mime Order she is truly badass. Right from the beginning she shows how smart and tough she is and how much she cares about others. As you keep reading she just gets more selfless and becomes such an amazing leader. I cheered for her success and was right there for her during her failures. But even more than that, I loved to see her develop and learn more about her powers. But Paige is not the only interesting and well-rounded character. I'm a huge fan of all the Seven Seals and loved getting to learn more about the extremely odious Jaxon Hall. I also really liked learning more about Warden and the Rephaim. The development of all the characters was so fantastic in this book.

But with less emphasis on the world-building, there was also much more of an opportunity for plot-development in this book. I loved the mystery and intrigue in The Bone Season. I spent a lot of the book with "huh face" wondering what it all meant or would mean, and that did not go away in this book. From the very beginning The Mime Order took off with so much action and adventure wrapping up the last book. And then from there things slowly build to a thrilling conclusion with tons of action and mystery along the way. Again I really loved the fact that the book did a great job wrapping up the specific storyline designated for this book, and set things up for the series to continue. But oh boy that cliffhanger! I was trying to figure out the major twist and I thought I had it but boy was I wrong and shocked by that reveal! But I love being shocked. The plot of The Mime Order definitely had me on the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting what would come next.

However, despite that fabulous plot development, the pacing of The Mime Order was a bit of an issue for me. This book is not a quick read, it's an investment. And while every one of the 528 pages did feel important, it still felt long. Mostly it felt like it was a bit of a slow start. I'm not sure if it was because I was just trying to get back into the swing of things or because after a huge opening scene, things really slowed down then didn't really start to pick up until about two-thirds of the way into the book. It had some great action-packed moments but it still didn't really hook me until then. But when it did hook me, I didn't want to let it go.

I give The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon a 9 out 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Fans of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Dystopia should check this series out. I think it has real crossover appeal so if you are worried about this being an adult series, don't worry, check it out. If you are looking for a book with a creative and interesting world with some great character development than this series is definitely worth your time. I cannot wait to see where it will lead because this was a huge step up for me.

Have you read The Mime Order? Did you love The Bone Season and are anxiously awaiting this book? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

One more thing before you go. Thanks to Audible, I have a preview clip of the audiobook of The Mime Order. If you are a fan of audiobooks this is the perfect book for it. It has tons of action, a captivating world, and vivid world-building. The narrator does a great job of capturing all the character's unique voices. Check it out!

1 comment:

  1. How have I not heard of this? The Mime Order sounds fantastic! *add to wish list*

    Happy New Year. :)