by Samantha Shannon (2013)
“There was no normal. There never had been. “Normal” and “natural” were the biggest lies we’d ever created.” – Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season
At first I had quite mixed feelings about this book and whether I thought I was going to enjoy reading it – it is strongly hyped on Twitter and bookstagram and it had been on my TBR for ages, but finally I started reading it and all I can say is that I am so glad I did!
The Bone Season is about an alternate world where clairvoyants exist in secret amongst ordinary people but are hunted for their ‘unnaturalness’, set in 2069. Paige is a rare voyant and lives her life under the command of Jaxon, a mime lord and a strong and determined character that collects the best voyants and offers them protection and community in return for their services.
But when a terrible incident results in the capture of Paige, a whole new world is opened up to her and she realises that life isn’t what it seems as the mysterious Warden enters her life and suddenly her abilities are admired and not discouraged. But will Paige survive in Oxford amongst the Rephaite as her gift as dreamwalker is discovered and humans are treated as beneath them?
What started off with a good pace and events occurring quickly to lead Paige to the main setting of the book, I did find it a bit difficult to get into simply because of understanding the world. Since everything was going at a good pace and a lot of information was woven into the story as it progressed, it left the reader feeling a bit lost and I had lots of ‘what is happening’ moments when I just decided to go with it and see what happens. However I liked this style of world-building compared to a lot of books which tend to dump a lot of information at the start and then getting on with the story, this book was more of a ‘get the story started and then explain later’ sort of book, which worked out in the end.
The first thing the reader notices is a basic map at the beginning of Sheol I and a sort of visual representation of the orders of voyancy which was a little daunting at first but I didn’t even really end up referring to it much throughout the book, but it was good to look at and help you understand the world more.
Each chapter was titled which is a rare thing in books to see now, and after tweeting the author, I discovered that each chapter title was the title of a poem by one of her favourite poets! Such a novel idea and I loved the chapter titles – they hinted only slightly as to what would happen in the chapter but gave nothing away. I loved the writing style and the entire world that was created, also the glossary at the back of the book was so useful!!
Paige was a great character however I think she just dealt with stuff a little too well and I don’t think she cried once during her predicament which makes things a little unrealistic. However Warden was the most intriguing character – we never really know which side he’s on till the end and I loved the air of mystery around him constantly, and how different his reactions and mannerisms were to Paige (being of another race – the Rephaite).
TBS really is an interesting and gripping read (I honestly did not want to put it down at times and I badly had a case of ‘just one more chapter’ at midnight!) which lead me to the rating I gave it. I did debate over whether to give it 4 or 5 stars, but given some of the things that happened and how the characters reacted, I decided to go with 4 in the end. But the sign of a good book is that you enjoy and look forward to reading it, but also that you can’t put it down and TBS delivered.
I’ll definitely buy the sequel, The Mime Order, and I can’t wait to see more of Warden and see where the story goes next given how things ended in TBS.
The time has come for spoilers as I really can’t talk much about the book without giving some huge bits away so look away if you haven’t read this book yet and do not wish to see spoilers!
Right, so where do I begin with this mammoth of a book?! It wasn’t even big by size but the story was chock-full of an entire world and history.
I guess I’ll start with Paige and her capture. It seemed crazy that she managed to stay hidden for so long from Scion but I did think we’d see more of her and Jaxon first before being taken down the route of Sheol I. I had no idea what to think when Paige encountered the Rephaite nor what to think about this race and their attitude towards humans. I thought at first that they were secretly gathering and saving lots of voyants to then lead a revolution against Scion, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! The Rephaite wanted to have these humans as slaves and it was so strange to read about how these gifted humans were seen as something so low and beneath everything.
I have just looked over my notes on what to review and all I have written down is:
– wtf is happening
– cool set up – graph thing
Thanks past me, this is really helpful to future me.
Right, so I had heard a lot about Warden and he’s all over bookstagram as a ‘book boyfriend’ but I really wasn’t getting this vibe from him at all throughout the book. He seemed really distant to Paige at first and didn’t really try to talk to her or train her until much later. What really intrigued me is when Warden came into his house wounded and Paige decided to tend to him, and how Warden pretended that it had never happened afterwards.
What game is he playing? I had a lot of these moments throughout the book, wondering what side he rooted for – the humans or the Rephaite, and just why he treated Paige so well but also seemed so serious all the time.
I felt that Paige really wasn’t responding to what was happening to her like a normal person – surely you would cry or have some sort of overwhelming period of being upset at being in this situation where you were more than likely to die (or at least try to be killed). However Paige didn’t and I’m still wondering whether this is because of her really really strong-willed character or because the author just didn’t want to make her more human-like.
No real moments stood out for me in the book till we got to the part where the humans were sent out to retrieve a target and dispatch of Jaxon’s gang. But again, Paige seemed no stranger to fighting and being under immense pressure, but I hated it when she got caught – I was really rooting for her to escape.
I really didn’t like the Nick storyline at all. Okay, so she fancied a guy who helped her out and kept her gift hidden when she was younger, fine. But to be so in love with him that when he confesses to her that he is in love with another, she runs off to the nearest club and goes to have sex with some randomer??
Just calm down Paige. And then when Warden tells her that a clairvoyant and an amaurotic don’t mix and are like ‘oil and water’ but Rephaites are like ‘fire’-
Of course they are Warden.
But I knew they would get together so it came as no surprise when they were caught snogging by no other than Nashira – Warden’s fiancee of sorts. But again, I was rooting for them to get together because it was so obvious from the start that that was going to happen. Warden is the mysterious stranger and Paige the young and naiive girl, so when he saw her deepest and most dark memory of the night she discovered that the man she loved did not love her back, it was bound to bring them ever closer.
I was quite sad to see them both part in the end – the title of the last chapter was ‘His Parting From Her’ and it couldn’t have been more obvious what was going to happen, but nonetheless still managed to bring sadness to my heart. I didn’t want them to split apart! But at least it leaves the promise of hope that they will be reunited in the next book.
Side note, I have one thing to say about Nashira:
Seriously, what is her problem? Why does she hate humans so much? She was one strange character and I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the whole Rephaite hating humans thing that’s going on.
So I enjoyed The Bone Season and I’m intrigued to see where it goes in the next book!
“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.” – Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season