Review: The Bone Season

PublicationBloomsbury USA
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
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In 2059 Scion London, Paige Mahoney works for one of the most powerful crime-lords in the city, scanning people's minds with her clairvoyant ability. It isn't that she particularly wants to be part of a gang- it's just one of the only options for a clairvoyant seeking even a measure of protection in a country where simply being born with an ability like Paige's carries a sentence of imprisonment and death.

Then she's caught, and finds herself transported to Oxford- a city that has been kept hidden for two centuries under the control of the otherworldly Rephaim- to be trained to fight creatures that enter through rifts between worlds. 

Sorry for the long description... as you might gather the story is rather difficult to convey succinctly- there's a lot to the world of the clairvoyants. The book even starts off with several pages of diagrams detailing the different types of clairvoyants- which includes everything from those who can walk in others minds, to those who can see the future. This book does focus strongly on the world-building- and sometimes does that by info-dumping, which slowed down the story, especially at the beginning.

The world is a lot of familiar elements combined in  really interesting way. It's a paranormal fantasy with a fairly strong dystopian edge. I also quite enjoyed the long-term power squablling and history of the Rephaim. The relationship that humans have with them tends toward a "the enemy of my enemy is also kind of my enemy, why are we surrounded by enemies how did this happen" kind of feeling. Because they're generally somewhat awful, but are also stopping something even worse from happening.

There's also a pretty big cast of characters. While they're written dynamically enough, something about the story kept me from really connecting to anyone- even Paige, the narrator. was a character that only sometimes resonated with me. I'm planning on reading the next book, and hoping I'll connect more with the characters this time. For me, The Bone Season was driven more by the plot and world than by the characters- which was alright, but it would be great for it to be both.

Overall this was quite an interesting first novel, and I'm curious to see where Samantha Shannon plans on taking what's planned to be a seven book series... it kind of doesn't feel like the set up for that many books, but we'll see.

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here as a co-blogger.

  1. I heard a lot of great things about this book when it was released. It's on my wishlist as well but I haven't tried it yet

    1. There was a lot of hype around when I picked it up for the first time. I definitely wee the merits of the world and story, though I'm still waiting to see if the second book will catch my interest.

  2. I love this series (well, I haven't gotten to the third book quite yet but I'm excited to!) The first book is a lot more info-dumpy than the second one, and I think the feel of the second book is a lot different than the first - but in a good way, too. A lot of the world-building and characterization opens up, starts going different routes. I hope you enjoy it! Great review. :)

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    1. This is good to know! The amount of infodumping was definitely one of the more off putting parts of the first book, so this is making me look forward to picking up the second one.

  3. I don't think I've ever read a book about Clairvoyants- and if I have I can't seem to remember it. I've certainly never read anything as detailed as this book seems to be!


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