Released: August 20th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
The Bone Season was a really enjoyable first book in a new series, with an interesting and detailed world that I am excited to find out more about.
I really liked Paige as a main character. She was easy to relate to and she was the type of person who didn't give up easily. Even though she was technically a criminal by Scion's standards (being clairvoyant and working for the Seven Seals) and had done a lot of illegal and really bad things, you could tell that she was actually a good person who really cared about others. She went out of her way to try and protect people she'd only just met and it was strange because half the time she didn't even know why she was trying to help, and yet she did anyway. She seemed to be hiding something from the beginning, and when we finally found out what it was towards the end, I really felt for her. It seemed like nothing ever went right for and she had just come to accept it. Paige's dreamwalker ability was also really interesting, and she was one of the rarest types of clairvoyants. I was looking forward to seeing her train to improve her power, but there wasn't actually as much training as I'd hoped, and her ability seemed to just develop over time. Still, there are six more books to see what else Paige can do, so I'm not too disappointed.
Warden was...hmm. I'm not sure how to describe it. I was really, really wary at first about how Warden and Paige's relationship might develop seeing as he was a Rephaite and her "master" and they were on such uneven grounds. The whole thing just made me uncomfortable to be honest. Even as we got to find out more about Warden and learnt he wasn't quite as horrible as we first thought, I was still wary. Even though Warden didn't want to be Paige's "master" and told her he would treat her with respect as a student instead, in public, they still had to act as if Warden was in total control and it was all just a bit icky. I did feel better about it by the end when Paige wasn't so dependent and reliant on the Rephaite for her life anymore and had decided to do something about what was going on. That being said, I liked the fact that nothing really happened between the two until towards the end, and most of the book was spent with trying to build trust and was more about the tension rather than immediately entering into some creepy forbidden love affair. Warden spent a lot of time trying to understand Paige, which is not something the other Rephs cared to attempt, and he didn't agree with a lot of the things he was made to do by the blood-sovereign, his fiancé (who was, for lack of a batter word, horrible). The Rephs were different from humans; they were all voyant, they fed on human aura (creepy) and they had different customs - but there seemed to be a divide and not everyone agreed with the blood-sovereign. Warden was also a skilled fighter and genuinely wanted Paige to learn how to control her power for her own sake, and not so she could just be used by others for their own selfish motives. I did actually quite like him by the end and am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book.
The side-characters were all really interesting and had more purpose than just filling up the background. I liked Liss in particular - she helped Paige when she first arrived, and was practically impossible to dislike. Jaxon, the man who Paige worked for in the Seven Seals, was also a fascinating character. He could be equally charming and frightening and I didn't like him too much - but I definitely want to find out more about him in the next book.
Plot-wise, I found The Bone Season a bit slow to start, and there was definitely a lot of info-dumping; it kind of felt like an educational text at first. However, once Paige found out about the Rephaite and met Liss and Warden, things got a lot more interesting, and the ending was very well done - not a massive cliffhanger, but definitely left me wanting more. As mentioned before, I would have liked to have seen Paige train more, and to learn more about the Rephaite, but there will be time for that in later books (and I'm pretty sure the Rephs were hiding a secret and were meant to be all mysterious for now).
Overall, I really enjoyed The Bone Season and thought it was a great start to a new series. I wouldn't say Samantha Shannon is "the next JK Rowling" as we keep on hearing (not the best idea to tell people that, they will inevitably end up comparing), but I would recommend this book - don't let the hype put you off!