The Bone Season #1
THE STORY (from 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.
The Bone Season is complex and dark, drawing us in gradually with an extensive world that acts like a rich caramel for our mental and emotional palates; the taste of it a delight for our minds and hearts but we’re also made to work for the reward of its flavor, our progress at times slow yet we can only appreciate it all the more for the challenge it presents. This is not a story to be devoured quickly and set aside, it’s one that inspires discussion and encourages us to immediately pass it on to the next person we see just so we can have someone to talk to about our thoughts, opinions and theories for the remainder of the series. The characters themselves are something truly special, so deeply layered that should we drop a coin down the well of their creation we’d hear no evidence of it ever hitting bottom, and we simply can’t wait to gear up in our rappelling equipment and begin the slow descent of discovery.
Paige is infinitely intriguing, a young woman with a fighting spirit that simply cannot be snuffed out no matter how hard those around her might try, but she’s also extremely intelligent and self-aware, understanding when to push certain buttons and when to let things lie. She verbally lashes out at Warden on occasion to rattle the bars of her new prison, testing the strength of her captor and always searching for ways to escape, but she does so in a way that has us rooting for her rather than against her, appreciating her fire while simultaneously admiring her ability to use it sparingly and only to her best advantage. She plays a beautiful game of give and take with Warden, giving and inch before retreating behind her defenses once again to observe what he'll do with the ground he’s gained, and we can do nothing but sit back and watch, rapt, as they try and build the most fragile of relationships.
Warden is perhaps the most fascinating element in this first installment, an enigmatic Reph who occupies negative space rather than positive, forcing us to look in between the obvious to find any hint of who he is. The beauty of him is that he’ll be different things to different readers; for some he'll be more protector than tormentor, more slaver than teacher, or more romantic interest than monster, but for all he will defy the simplicity of a single label. He’s a ten-thousand piece puzzle with no image on the box to guide us, instead we only learn about him through active participation, analyzing and questioning his words and actions as we snap a few key pieces into place. When we find ourselves on the last page of this first book, it’s clear that we have maybe a handful of those ten-thousand pieces in their correct locations, leaving us with the delicious sense of anticipation that comes from a challenge yet to be completed.
Overall The Bone Season should not be missed, Ms. Shannon’s ability to craft a sprawling world a bit overwhelming in places, but she gives us characters so bright they blind us to any confusion. Paige and company are essentially walking thesauruses, full to bursting with different ways to describe them, but the words each of us would choose to do so make the experience of reading their story a beautifully intimate one. Were we unaware there are to be seven books in this series, the ending might leave us a touch sad, but with the knowledge of so much more to come firmly in place we can only look forward with a sense of utter glee, eager for all that we are sure to learn about Paige, Warden and the repercussions of the final chapters.
This book was given to me by the publisher at BEA free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.