Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #1
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 39
(see below for breakdown)
19-year-old Paige is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped. She is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite. 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.
This was a re-read for me. I originally read this before I started my blog so I have not written a review before. I was surprised but I actually found myself enjoying this read more than I originally did, however I also came out with a very similar rating to my original.
I forgot how complex the world that Samantha Shannon has built in this series. It is vast and filled with history, most of which I didn’t remember picking up on my first read. It is a full and complex alternative history that has lead to a dystopian style society in London. It uses 18th century slang regularly and I can see why others may find this off putting as at times it was like Shannon had created her own language. The system of clairvoyants is also extensive and complex, and I feel we only barely scratched the surface of that in this book. On top of that after the first section of the book we completely leave London behind and have to learn a new regime along with the main character.
Speaking of characters, when I first read the book I wasn’t so keen on Paige, however, this time I had a lot more sympathy for her. I did find myself more invested in the story of secondary characters, I wanted more from Liss and Julian, I found there stories more interesting, I wanted to explore their lives. I didn’t really enjoy the romance. It seems to go from zero to 100 in the space of a single chapter with no real lead up or even hint at it. It also seems somewhat unnecessary. The book would have been just as good with out it. In fact a lot of Paige’s relationships were just kind of sour and unhealthy without discussion. I was not overly happy in the treatment of the gay character and Paige’s feelings towards him.
The plot is interesting but I found myself at times not really understanding the motivations of the characters. There didn’t seem to be any big push or reasoning behind certain actions, which is a shame when held up against the world building. However, this was Shannon’s first book and while to show in some of the narrative decisions I am more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and to follow the series and her growth as a writer.