Saturday, 28 September 2013

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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.

“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can't get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”

I am always wary when starting a book that has a lot of hype around it. Generally the books can never live up to the high expectations I have unfairly set for them and I am often disappointed. Luckily The Bone Season proved to me that some books are worth the hype and despite all the nerves I had going into it I really enjoyed it.

Generally speaking The Bone Season does nothing new. I have seen stories like this before and I am sure I will see stories like this again. What I really loved about this book, and what made me interested in it despite it being yet another dystopian was the thing that so many other reviewers hated, the detail. Samantha Shannon took great care to deliver her impressive and complex world onto the page, for some people it will be too much but I loved it. All the detail, all the information just built a better world for me to disappear into and get lost in. I agree with many that this was a long book and there were parts (especially towards the end) that were not needed and were dragged out a little too far. It felt as though the author couldn’t quite bring herself to end it so things got a little messy and out of hand in the last chapter or so but that is my only real complaint.

Samantha Shannon also managed to create a great atmosphere for this book. I found it violent and brutal in parts. There were some great action sequences, some awesome moments of suspense and one romantic scene that made my knees wobble.

The characters were good. Paige was impressively strong and always willing to fight. It was nice to have a female character that wasn’t prone to bouts of self-pity and are distracted by pretty boys. The one little bit of romance came on suddenly and was not a factor for a majority of the book. She didn’t have all that much to be cheerful about so she wasn’t the most ‘fun’ person in the world but she was complex and had a load of smarts and courage.

Warden was also amazing (read: smouldering) and I have quite the thing for him. He could very well end up on my book boyfriend list in the future but isn’t quite there yet. There is nothing bad about Warden, he had a good heart and was willing to sacrifice everything to go against his own. I liked the way he subtly taught Paige what she needed to know, how he was always encouraging her without being condescending or annoying. He waits her for to accept him, waits for her to feel something for him and she takes her time so he clearly has the patience of a saint.

I thought The Bone Season left things is an interesting place. It wrapped most things up nicely and completely the main story but also made me go ‘Nooooooooooooo’ when things didn’t end the way I was hoping. The door is left firmly open for the next book in the series and I really cannot wait to read it. 

The Bone Season is an impressive debut. With so much hype surrounding it and Andy Serkis adapting it for the big screen it could just be the next big thing.

4 stars

Published August 20th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing.  Free copy was provided for review.  Images taken from Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

Book Trailer


  1. I think this sounds quite cool. I love gore in my YA (so long as it's not the protags that are suffering) and I also like that it's still entertaining despite its generic premise.

  2. I totally agree with what you wrote! I also found that the ending didn't happen the way I wanted but it left the perfect set-up to the sequel. I thought that the romance was basically non-existent so when it happened, I was a little shocked (even though I heard a lot about it!). Great review :)

  3. Sounds interesting! I don't know how I'll feel about the description; in general, I like knowing a lot about the world and details are good, except there's a certain line I usually have and once it gets crossed I can't stand the book. I'll still give The Bone Season a try- the premise and characters sound good.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex


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