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.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
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.
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.
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.
Alana Kerr adds so much to the book with her beautiful accent. Although at times I felt a bit lost by her command of the verbiage, very much alien to me, it added to the feeling of being taken to a new place; a foreign place.
In the first chapters of the book it moves very fast and I felt I should have a dictionary and perhaps take a few notes - the next thing I know I am no longer a mere voyeur but I
have been captured and I am no longer listening I am in the throws of flux.
Kerr gives you the dialect that makes the words alive rather than flat. I have a wonderful imagination but her voice is so perfect for this book I'm glad I heard it first.
I was not brought to tears by this book nor did I ache from laughter. I was able to lose myself, my world vanished completely, and I ended it sitting in my car feeling like I had just returned from a vacation.
This is not young adult literature. Don't stress over the first few chapters. Enjoy them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The speculative fiction premise and world-building efforts that have gone into this book are undeniably rich. The author has done a fine job of situating her story in an alternative history which pulls in threads of Anglo-Irish history, the explosive popularity of spiritualism in the 19th Century and the very contemporary rhetoric of the far right. She has also done a wonderful job with settings - especially that of an abandoned and resurrected Oxford.
But this is most definitely a piece of Young Adult fiction. Like 'Twilight' and, its erotic spin-off, 'Fifty Shades of Grey', 'The Bone Season' relies for much of its plot tension on the irrational and mercurial emotional shifts of its young female protagonist. There is little learning process, or actions based on acquired understanding - as one expects from a novel populated with and read by adults. Instead, a repetitive cycle of mood changes power much of her decision making process.
This is a pity, because the author has created some intriguing adversaries and questionable characters who, had they been explored with more maturity, could have resulted in a far more compelling and less irritating story.
I think young adults will love this book. I think they will relate to the main character and her volatile shifts in both intellect and agency. But for me, it felt like waves of artificial emotional tension masquerading as plot structure.
"To be continued i hope ...."
An excellent story.
I felt like i was a ghost character on a journey inside this story and on falling asleep i became part of it in my dreams.If you like the stories of Trudi Canavan then you will enjoy this. I hope the story doesn't end here as there is so much more that can be written about these characters
if only the narrator had had the courage to become more than just a flat voice then the whole story would have had a life. Now i must read this book in its paper form to get my own feel for the characters and give them their own personalities.
Sadly the performance was flat and deadpan, all the characters had the same voice and i didn't feel that any of the characters had life breathed into them.
As the performance was so dull i was in a hurry to reach the end, the story was thrilling but i did not have an emotional reaction.
Read the book first before listening to the story on audio.
"An Unexpected Gem"
I am not sure what I was expecting, having seen people talking about the book on the television, and seeing Samantha's interview on the BBC Breakfast program, and, after a week or more of shall I, shan't I, I thought I would give it a go ...
And I am glad that I did. If I had not heard about her recently, I would have said that Samantha Shannon was a seasoned author, and that this was a nom de plume for another author, one whose name would escape me for a long time ;-).
The book brings to life an alternate timeline/reality for the modern world, beginning in an alternative reality of London and moving to Oxford. One in which the flavour of the world is drawn in rich detail, and clearly sets the scene for the future, whilst satisfyingly completing a portion of that journey.
I found the protagonist to be intelligent and irritating all in one. A heroine that I was rooting for most of the time, but one that had me yelling out loud about the "wrong" moves that she was taking / making at other times. It fully engaged me, and I wanted the "bad guys" to lose, the "good guys" to win, not that it ends so cleanly.
It is one of those books that I could not put down, except for the minimum requirements for life: sleep, food, etc.
I look forward to the future of this young author, and the sequel of "The Bone Season", it will have a great deal to live up to.
I also found Alana Kerr's narration to be very enjoyable and engaging and hope that she is able to voice the future tales.
I will not compare it to other books as that would give certain expectations. But if you like your fiction with an edge of fantasy (assuming you don't believe in E.S.P., ghosts, etc.), then this is a tale for you.
I'd been reading previews of The Bone Season for months and was really looking forward to it so I was delighted when it appeared on Audible so quickly. Maybe my expectations were raised too much but it took me quite some time to get in to the story. I very nearly returned it after the first 15 mins because I just don't like the narrator. Her voice is very expressionless and dull and really annoyed me. I persevered and slowly the story began to draw me in. In a new series when the world in which it is based is being established, I expect some level of detail while the basics are set out. In this book, there was just too much detail too early at the expense of the story. For me it didn't really begin to gather momentum until about half way through.
I've finally reached the end now and on balance I would say I enjoyed it and will read the next in the series when it comes out. I won't be listening to it though because I just can't bring myself to go through the ordeal of the narrator again.
"Up with the greats!"
If this is genuinely Samantha's first book she has a huge career ahead of her. The story is well thought out and the personal relationships well expressed, I felt what she was portraying; I love/hated Warden. I was truly frightened for Clairy, I found myself switching off to take a break and get my emotions in check.
Altogether a very good book and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Improve the quality of the storyline which could have been read in a more animated tone of voice.
Mr Slaughter by Robert McCammon, read by Edoardo Ballerini
Capture of Paige.
"Absorbing Dystopian Fantasy...."
Samantha Shannon sure has one hell of an imagination, what a début!
Paige's character is one of being a very tough cookie, she has had to be, Scion wants rid of all those who are Voyant, they are the lowest of the low, criminals to be feared,to be distrusted, to be hunted down like vermin.
Constantly monitored the net is ever tightening around this terrorised community.
Paige is a criminal and makes money from her dreamwalker gifts, she works for a crime lord who constantly pushes her to use her gifts, failing is not an option you have to earn your keep to stay alive.
Things don't go to plan as she is captured and transported to Oxford, to an even more brutal place from where she has come from, humans are nothing, a disgusting species to be used and moulded for her captors needs.
The chilling telling is of dog eat dog, survival of the fittest and Paige realising that the Scion is not so all powerful as she first thought, her only thought is of escape, she is being manipulated from many sides and working out who to trust and to stay alive to be able to make her and others to escape looks more than impossible.
The positives far out way any niggles, some parts where a little too laboured and overly long, but this is small point. I am looking forward to see where this very individual dystopia saga leads to next.
"Don't buy audio, buy the book"
I am sorry to pick on the narrator, but I feel obliged to warn anybody considering buying this audio book. This is the singularly worst narrated audio book which I have ever purchased. The narration is eye-stabbingly tedious with a constant monotonous tone which does not vary at any point to convey meaning, emotion or change of speaking character which meant that during exchanges between characters it was a real effort to keep track of who was speaking at any specific moment.
Whoever was on the publisher's team must not have monitored the narration at any point as the awfulness of this product would have been apparent within a minute. I am tempted to return this purchase just in the hope that the number of returns is reported to the publisher, however, they clearly do not care about their audio customers anyway, so it is probably pointless.
"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!)
"Not worth your time"
She had a monotonous voice.
There are absolutely no redeeming features for this book.
I was excited to listen to this immediately on purchase. I had seen Samantha Shannon being interviewed on Breakfast TV and thought it was definitely worth a listen. Maybe I was on the wrong wavelength but the book was totally meaningless. The whole story went nowhere, had little substance and it was a struggle to listen to the end. There was hope throughout that it would brighten up, and the ending in the last five minutes was a relief and a "wrap" but that was all. There are no relationships worth worrying about in the book, it is a monotonous monologue of utter boredom and absolutely not worth my time in listening to it.
"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.
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