by Samantha Shannon
Series: Bone Season #1
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy
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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 by Samantha Shannon is a dystopian with an interesting blend of fantasy, science-fiction and mythology. I was instantly catapulted into the year 2059 and wrapped up in its characters. Part one of a seven book series, whose film rights have already been sold Shannon’s debut novel hits the ground running. Three word review: stunning, mesmerizing, and imaginative.
We meet Paige Mahoney a Dreamweaver living in I Cohort, Section 4 located in the city of London in the year 2059. She is a member of an illegal underground cell known as the Seven Seals. Several major cities throughout the world are controlled by the Scion where being a clairvoyant is illegal. Paige scouts the aether breaking into others minds and stealing useful information. Daily life is risk and to be captured means death, but when Paige is captured she discovers there is something more sinister and evil than the Scion. Captured and made a slave by the Rephaim, a powerful otherworldly race hidden in the city of Oxford, known as the Sheol I colony, she is assigned to Warden the blood-consort. He is to be her keeper and trainer. There is much more to her capture and if Paige wants to regain her freedom she may just have to learn to trust. The tale that unfolds is riveting as we learn about the city of Oxford, Scion and Paige’s past.
Paige is a wonderful protagonist; she is complex, head-strong and bright. She doesn’t whine about her predicaments, instead she plots and plans. A champion for the underdog she helps those around her, even the enemy. I easily connected with her as Shannon made us privy to events in her past and her emotions. Arcturus Warden is the tall, dark and mysterious blood-consort for the Rephaite. He has never taken a slave for training but selects Paige when he realizes she is one of the rarest types of clairvoyant. From the beginning his treatment of Paige is different from how other captures in her group are treated by their masters. Warden intrigued me from the onset and I loved how the author peeled back his layers and revealed him to us. Shannon did a stunning job of building their relationship and making it feel genuine and believable. I am anxious to see how this relationship develops and find I have developed a soft-spot for them. While not the focus of the tale their relationship was certainly a thread I enjoyed. We meet the other Seven Dials and get an idea of their personalities and relationship to Paige. Characters we meet from slaves, to Rephiam in Oxford are fleshed out and each had a unique voice.
Coming in at close to five hundred pages, Bone Season, blends several genres and did so surprisingly well. While there are moments of what I like to call “information dumps” the tale itself was clever, and I found no holes in the building of it. The world is complex, unique and Shannon brought it to life with vivid details. We touch on a plethora of subjects including Jack the Ripper,aliens, spirits, clairvoyants,and the aether. The world seemed plausible, and the characters both mysterious and fleshed out. Shannon had me flipping the pages as the pace slowly built towards the climatic ending. The detail was amazing, vibrant and utterly clever from the hierarchy of the Rephiam to Paige’s trips into the dreamworld. Some of the action scenes took my breath away from the clairvoyant attacks to the flux darts. The tale is filled with darkness and light, evil and good, all of which kept me delightfully enthralled. I am not sure this tale will need seven books, perhaps three but I am anxious to see how it develops.
Fans of fantasy, dystopian, science-fiction will enjoy Bone Season with is fleshed out characters and vibrant world-building. At this time book two and three are not yet titled and there is no news on their expected release dates.