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 forever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford - a city kept secret for 200 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 an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
©2013 Samantha Shannon-Jones (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Much like the author, I am a card-carrying member of the Harry Potter generation.
I grew up between the pages of JK Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry and eagerly awaited each consecutive installment with the kind of fervor usually reserved for drug addicts and starving men. Given this, it’s not surprising that the media campaign, which toted Ms. Shannon’s series as the new Harry Potter, caught my attention in a powerful way.
After listening to the Bone Season however, I’d have to say that the comparison is unfair to the reader and to the author (and honestly, to JK Rowling too – it seems like there should be a rule against bestowing her name on another writer while she’s still around to claim it).
While Shannon has a dazzling creativity, she hasn't developed the balanced hand that built Hogwarts – so after that initial letdown, I abandoned any preconceptions and considered the book's merits in the context of its own genre.
The novel centers on Paige Mahoney, a reserved young woman who is born into a persecuted class known as the voyants. Outwardly, it seems that the British government has been systematically executing these supernaturally gifted individuals – but as it often goes, not everything is as it appears. When Paige (exceptional even among a population known for its supernal talents) is finally captured, she is not tortured and hung as expected but sent to Oxford. There, a cruel, humanoid race known as the Raheim have enslaved her and her kind for their own purposes.
Ms. Shannon’s expansive world spills out across the pages of The Bone Season in straightforward, confident prose. She constructs an elaborate, dark fantasy through the eyes of a sympathetic and fierce protagonist.
When set against other young adult, dystopian fantasies, this book is a cut or two above the rest.
But, in the end, it lacked universal appeal.
Her characterization and style is occasionally formulaic and often romantic. She relies heavily on familiar archetypes: there’s tall-dark-and-handsome, beautiful-but-evil, rat-faced-schemer - just to name a few. Even her plucky protagonist falls prey to jumbled motives, arbitrary stubbornness, and (repeatedly) the clichéd scene of gravely injured but rescued by a conveniently placed, attractive man.
Fortunately, Shannon is a good story teller - even when relying on worn out tropes, and there are bright patches of a fresh and darkly captivating narrative which make it worthwhile.
Ultimately, would I recommend this book? Yes, whole-heartedly to fans of the genre. Shannon is articulate and intelligent. She possesses a rare and coherent creativity that will no doubt engender a legion of loyal fans.
Will I continue to read the series? I’m undecided.
All told, the Bone Season is a promising start to a career. Shannon is a gifted writer and I have no doubt that the rough edges of her work will smooth out as she grows into her own.
This is a dark but good book. I'm impressed at Samantha Shannon's talent as a debut author. I have read reviews that state that this is the next Harry Potter and it is to be a 7 book series. I've also read reviews that say it is overhyped and for teenagers. I wasn't aware of the hype when I read it, but I will say that if I expected it to be the next Harry Potter I would have been disappointed for a couple of reasons. One it is not for children nor about children. The only similarity I see is that is takes place in an alternative London with a magic system and it will be a seven book series. I believe it is unfair to the book and to Samantha Shannon to set that expectation.
I mentioned this is not a children's book. This is about a 19 year old clarvoyant who works for a criminal underground syndicate. Clairvoyance is unnatural and those with the various abilities are hunted and arrested. There are many twists and turns as you find out why it is outlawed and hunted. It is not simply due to fear of the talent. This book is predominantly about what happens to our protagonist once she is caught.
You need to get through the first few chapters of set up before the story really unfolds. Alana Kerr gives a dry, detached performance that fits the character of the protagonist impeccably. This is one I would prefer to listen to rather than read but you do have to pay attention. Stick to mundane tasks so you can pay attention to the detail.
I found this to be a fresh, not a formulaic dystopian fiction novel, with a unique magic system. I'm excited for the next book and definitely recommend it.
Lately there have been a menage of literary genre crossovers, such as vampire-heroes, steampunk-aliens, and fantasy detectives. Tragically, many of them are shallow, at best, and frankly are Audible credit wasters. The initial concept may have validation, but either the overall delivery is tepid, or the author gets lost in the created genre, and writes a confusing, three hundred page diatribe explaining the new genre, and the work loses its audience. Hence, many are epic failures.
Not so in "The Bone Season," I'm glad to write.
Here you have a future, fantasy and dystopian mix that never falls short, that sweeps you along, and one audio listen that I heartily recommend.
Okay, I'll quote Audible's description, because if I DON'T, I'm definitely going to give away some very important plot lines that you deserve to discover in the listening of this fantastic audiobook. Here goes, and I quote:
"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 forever."
I don't dare add to this - It's that good. This is one time when I WANT to do so. It's a delicious, juicy dystopian rush and romp you won't soon forget, and not want to put down. The heroine is complex and a joy to experience, the characters add wonderfully to the storylines' dynamic, the world created is rich and textured, and the storyline is both unusual and engaging. Overall, a wonderful listen.
This is a rare Audible listener's treat - It's Shannon's first work, and you can say you were there when it happened. In fact, I highly recommend that you listen to this wonderful first book in the series twice.
That's right. TWICE.
You'll better appreciate the author's rich world-building future-fantasy, and love it even more.
It's almost inconceivable that the 21-year-old Shannon wrote "The Bone Season" between classes at Oxford while an undergraduate at the respected university. But, remember, a number of authors have received inspiration from its hallowed halls and quasi-fantasy architecture. Authors such as Ballard, Pullman, and other well known authors have hailed from there, as well. C.S. Lewis and other famed authors have taught there. And that's just touching on the "fantasy" authors. So, she was educated in a hotbed of writing potential, and it obviously rubbed off quite well.
So well that she has a contract for seven books in the Bone series. Well done.
The one drawback to this triumph of a first novel is the narrator. Kerr's good at times, but a bit too lilting occasionally, and the accents tend to mix a bit. However, she doesn't cause a major distraction. Let's hope she improves over time.
This first effort by Shannon has "best-seller" written all over it. My sincere hope is that the seven books in the series fare as well.
This isn't bad for a debut attempt by a young writer. Samantha Shannon has a seven book deal to continue this series so there will be plenty more books to come. The Bone Season's film rights were bought by The Imaginarium film studios so we will soon see this book brought to the big screen.
There is a lot of hype surrounding this book with people proclaiming that Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling. I don't think that is fair to set the bar so high for this young author, proclaiming that this is going to be as big as J.K. and Harry Potter. I do see potential here but she reminds me more of the young Christopher Paolini and his The Inheritance Cycle series.
I will keep an eye out for her next book in the series because I am interested to see how she develops as a writer and how this world she has created will expand.
The first book of a seven book series, The Bone Season, is a derivative YA tale with just enough of a twist to attract a big audience. Its a stew of Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games. Overall this novel had the temperment of a teenager: moody, melodramatic, and self-centered. Toss into this mix a little sexuality, violence, and drug use and there you have it.
As a middle aged man, I am definately not the demographic that this writer was trying to reach. I say skip it unless you are way into the YA genre. Despite all of the hype, I don't believe that The Bone Season has the strength to crossover to a wider audience like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games did.
There area lot of great ideas in the story. Interesting locations and characters I want to get to know better. But somehow, they did not come to life for me. This is a disadvantage, since I am not living in the æther, after all. There are many bones, but no meat in the soup.
No clue. A better recommending system by Audible would be helpful. ;-)
The performance is quite okay. I like readers with a broader ability for creating voices for the characters, though.
First, couriosity, sometimes boredom and relief in the end.
I'll give one of the next books of Shannon a shot. She'll improve.
As far as dystopian novels go, this one is very futuristic and very interesting. It takes a good while to get into the story. The character development isn't great in the beginning, but once the action starts to kick it, the book is hard to put away. Unfortunately, for me, that didn't happen until around chapter 14. You really have to pay attention to character names and personas in this book or it will leave you utterly confused. Chapter 25 had me in tears of empathy for the main character, Paige. Chapter 27 and 28 had me reeling. It's like Samantha Shannon turned a corner in the novel from background development and a sort of slow character development to full on fabulous story telling. I would recommend it, but you need to get through the first few slow chapters to get to the good stuff. It's coming! The narrator, though a tad "bland" is perfect for the part of Paige.
The story was incredibly gripping and something completely different to anything I've ever read before, and the narration was fantastic
Warden of course, closely followed by Liss
Alana Kerr was fantastic with every character (although it did take me a little while to adjust to the Irish accent after listening to the Divergent trilogy). Nashira was by no means my favourite character, but Alana captured her brilliantly.
Before listening to this book I had heard a lot of comparisons between Samantha Shannon and JK Rowling which are completely unfair, they are completely different authors with different styles and different stories, though both are incredibly talented.
Don't believe the hype! I give the author credit for creating a somewhat interesting "spirit" world. However, once you get past the novelty of life in the non corporal realm, you quickly get bored with the plot. I also don't understand the infatuation with the narrator. She made the main character sound so depressing. I wish a had a remote to fast forward. Seriously. A seven book series? For me, it's one and done.
. . . like your dreams!!! The early chapters laid solid groundwork for a complex world with interesting characters. I anticipated a book somewhere between Magic Study and the Hunger Games, but with a fresh perspective.
However, relationships between characters remained shallow and wooden, and the unrelieved despair following the main character's imprisonment undermined the authenticity of the world, and pulled me out of the story. Foundational elements of the story were just completely unexplained: if this was deliberate, it was clumsy.
Almost as bad: moments of stupid were not infrequent, and quite jarring. (*Spoiler* Really, you have to wait for the friggin train that only comes ever 10 years to escape??? What does the train run on? Does it run on AIR? Could it run on TRAIN TRACKS, perhaps? Could you maybe WALK on those tracks to escape?! Seriously. *End Spoiler*)
The last third of the book was just drudgery.
Lovely accent. Wasted on this story.
Everything after chapter four.
It is reassuring to know that the publishing industry isn't needed as a gatekeeping to sort the wheat from the chaff. As we move toward more self-pub., I won't have to worry about a decline in quality.
"It should have been so much better!"
It started well and then went downhill from there.
There should have been much more about the goings on in London and more hints about what was happening in Oxford. It's as if a third of the way through the author had to finish the book quickly. The narrators voice was wrong for this kind of book.
Dull and boring
If the story had been better written a follow up book would have been an exciting thought, but I won't be bothering unless it gets much, much better.
Alana Kerr has a beautiful voice but it was so wrong for this book. The book started so well but the combination of the narrator and the story put me off.
"Can't wait for the next one"
The world-building was fabulous. There was such depth in this alternate England in 2059 with the history of Scion explored in more detail through the book and the all the different abilities which voyants can possess was fascinating. The Rephaim are still shrowded in a lot of mystery and I can't wait to learn more about them through the rest of the series.
Without wanting to give spoilers for anyone reading this, the development of Paige's character and her ability, particularly towards the end of this novel is what will stay with me the most.
The showdown near the end with Nashira, anything could have happened then, it was totally unpredictable and absolutely riveting.
Too many moments to mention. I found a greater depth in the novel as well because I am a chronic migraine sufferer and the author also suffers from migraines - this came through in her writing and in the concept of Paige's ability as well.
I really enjoyed the narrator telling this story with her Irish lilt and I in the most part her accents and voices were good. I think she will develop better in this area as she gains more experience in narration though and I was disappointed she didn't sing when she read out the song as a poem instead (especially as she is a singer!)
"Believe the hype: orginal, gritty, exciting"
The hype said that Samantha Shannon had received a six figure advance for the first three books in a seven book series and had already sold the film rights to book one: The Bone Season.
What the hype didn't prepare me for was a rich, complex book filled with original ideas, vivid characters, powerful emotions, gritty realism and page-turning action.
Shannon's alternative future Britain is fully thought through and skilfully evoked. She weaves her tale from a deep understanding of the politics of hatred and fear and the fundamental evil of slavery and brightens it with new ideas on the nature of magic.
What makes the book truly exceptional is the character of Paige Mahoney (how nice it was to hear this name pronounced the Irish way for once): brave, dangerous, more than a little broken but fundamentally good. She is easy to care about and root for. Her way of seeing the world is humane without being in the least bit soft. Her bravery comes from a refusal to submit to fear or to be treated as anything less than human. Even when everything has been taken from her, she holds on to the power that comes from knowing what she values and what she is prepared to do to protect it.
The relationship between Paige and Warden, her "keeper" is rich, complex and credible, exploring the boundaries or trust and otherness, suspicion and attraction, power and weakness.
Although it is book one in a series,"The Bone Season" is a full novel and not just an instalment in a story.
This is one of the best speculative fiction books I've read in a long time. That it was debut novel from a young author fills me with pleasure. I look forward to reading all of her books as they come out over then next several years.
"can't wait for next book"
I loved all the characters
I couldn't wait to hear more I was gripped by the story line
Alana Kerr has the most memorizing voice and was the prefect narrator for this book
If I'd had the time I would have loved to had listened to this book in one sitting
Highly recommend this book. A very addictive listen.
"A good start"
I've heard people compare this to Harry Potter, and I get where they're coming from - it's a book about the supernatural, about a small subset of the population born with gifts that they need to keep secret from the rest of the world - and they go to a place where they can learn to hone their gifts - you can certainly draw parallels. As another dimension it's set in a dystopian future, where the main character must worry constantly for her life - perhaps imagining a Harry Potter/Hunger Games fusion is about right.
It's a fun listen, with lots of interesting ideas - but the whole book feels very rushed, many concepts are laid out - but not really developed. I wanted to know more about the different Unnaturals and their powers and abilities - but I felt like the author was too busy rushing through the plot to really give any one moment or concept the time it deserved. I believe that there's seven books planned in total? In all honesty I would have preferred if the first book was focused entirely on the Unnaturals and their powers - and maybe the politics of the Syndicates and the ruling government - without even touching on the Rephaim. I love complex plots as much as the next man, but this wasn't so much complex as 'a lot of plot in a shortish book'.
My only other big criticism is that the book failed to surprise me - there weren't many questions and mysteries - or rather there weren't many questions or mysteries that weren't instantly revealed or difficult to guess. A good book doesn't need a twist, but this one certainly felt like it could use one. Apart from that I enjoyed it. I'll listen or read the next one.
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