The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – Review

Cover- The Bone Season

Rating: 5.0/5.0


The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and 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

The Bone Season is one of the most creatively wrought novels I have read in 2015. The setting is London, 2059 and it is a world vastly different than the one we know and love. People are divided into two categories- clairvoyants and amaurotics. Clairvoyants, as you would suppose, are those that can touch the spirit world, or aether in some fashion. Amaurotics are all those who cannot touch the aether – they are the majority and they run Scion, which is the governing body of what seems to be much of Europe. Scion has outlawed clairvoyants and they must conceal their treasonous gift from all those that would harm them, which is pretty much everyone.

I pictured Scion-controlled London as much more futuristic than it was really described- it mostly just seemed dingy in the book. Scion itself is oppressive and fear-inducing, doing random checks for clairvoyants in bus stations and subway terminals and dividing society with their propaganda. Basically, this is a fictional example of “big government”. We later find out that it’s not completely humanity’s fault that the world is being oppressed by an overly powerful mega-government, which is kind of a relief.

Our lovely and powerful protagonist, Paige Mahoney, is a clairvoyant called a dreamwalker (self explanatory) and she is doing her best to avoid Scion’s gaze. She was scooped up by a mime-lord called Jaxon Hall at the culmination of her public education and she becomes a member of the Seven Seals (not the fish-eating sea mammals). Jaxon is like the Godfather with supernatural abilities, and he protects, pays, and houses his collection of clairvoyant gems. Back to Paige—Paige gets unlucky and is hunted down by Scion, but instead of being killed outright she is transported outside of London to Oxford. Now, Oxford has been off the radar for a number of years and no one knows why, but Paige quickly finds out that it’s the base of the folks that are really running Scion. The Rephaim are otherworldly beings that bring in a new round of human recruits every ten years (a Bone Season) to fight a mysterious enemy called the Eremites. There is little detail about the Eremites featured, but they sound like big, stinking monsters that enjoy human flesh and come from another realm. I wish they had been described more, but most of the encounters were in the dark and the lack of detail kind of adds more of a spook factor to the story.

There is a great deal more I wish to say about the story, but it would give away all the fun plot twists, events and spoilers! I do think this book is worth reading, and I managed to find my hardcover copy on the BookOutlet website for like $2.99 or something. The Bone Season has really cool cover art and the book itself has a nifty bit of embossing on the front, which I love. Samantha Shannon has written a super cool alternate history which really changes the dynamic of the story. Though it’s set on Earth in the year 2056, Scion has been around for a very long time, which means familiar historic events did not occur. This really makes everything about the story so much better because it’s totally new- there are no events that the reader can relate to historically! All I can say is buy it, read it, put it on your shelf and enjoy it!

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