ARC Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

ARC Review: The Bone Season by Samantha ShannonThe Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Series: Scion #1
Published by Bloomsbury on August 20, 2013
Genres: adult, dystopian, fantasy, magic, new adult, post apocalyptic, young adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Buy it: AmazonAdd it: Goodreads
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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This book…*shakes head*…I feel terribly guilty about having to write this review since I’ve come to know and really like the author…but there’s one thing I cannot do when it comes to my reviews and that is lie. I hope that Samantha doesn’t read this review, but if she does I hope she will not let it affect our budding friendship. Because while I think she is a talented author and wonderful person…

I didn’t really enjoy this book.

There, I said it. Continuing in the vein of honesty, I really don’t understand why the story is being touted as “highly original” because to me, it wasn’t. It was all too reminiscent of other YA novels I’ve read over the years, and even recently (Shadow and Bone, anyone? How about Daughter of Smoke and Bone?). But where somebody’s marketing team really screwed up was by claiming this series is “the next Harry Potter“. Just because the author is young and British and the series (somehow) managed to score a seven-book deal doesn’t mean it’s automatically the next HP. When I hear HP, I expect HP quality and, to date, there’s only been on series I’ve read that even began to approach that greatness: the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin.

But I don’t want this review to sound like a bash-fest. I didn’t HATE The Bone Season. At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable read. The story is set in London, 2059. In this world there are two types of people: clairvoyants and amaurotics. Amaurotics are your normal, everyday, boring “humans”. The clairvoyants are also human, however they possess special talents that set them apart, such as the ability to break into others’ minds, see flashes of the future, etc. These differences make them outcasts among their fellow humans – no surprise there, right? We fear and hate what we don’t understand, and envy what we don’t have. As such, clairvoyants are treated like criminals; hunted, imprisoned, and even killed. Paige Mahoney is one such clairvoyant, albeit one with a very rare and special ability: she’s a dreamwalker, meaning she can root through people’s minds for information. Paige has managed to survive by maintaining her cover as an oxygen bar waitress and taking refuge in the London underground crime ring. She works for Jaxon Hall, possibly the most notorious mime-lord of the London districts. Jaxon is unable to protect her, however, when a normal day suddenly turns into a fight for her life. Paige is forced to reveal her clairvoyant nature which leads to her being chased down, captured, and transported to the “rehabilitation camp” known as Sheol 1. Sheol 1 is overseen by an alien race known as the Raephaim, a mysterious and often brutal group whose intentions, Paige comes to find, are not at all what they appear to be. During her time there, Paige meets Warden, a Rephaim who is even more mysterious than the others; one who deals fairly with her and carries a world of secrets that Paige is almost as determined to discover as she is to escape.

I really liked Paige’s character – she was a very strong, kickass heroine that I couldn’t help but admire for her tenacity and perseverance. I also liked her (sometimes foolish) stubbornness. She is a woman after my own heart in a lot of ways – unwilling to yield when others would have just surrendered to what they thought was their fate. And Warden. Oh Lord, I can’t talk about Warden without giving away everything good about the story but let me just say that his interactions with Paige later in the book will have you drowning in ALL THE FEELS. Normally I would not make continuing a story that I found so lackluster a priority, but I’m looking forward to reading book two of this series if for nothing more than to see what happens with Warden.

Interesting note: I didn’t realize this until just yesterday, but apparently Bloomsbury has this book listed as adult. I personally thought it fit in with other YA novels I’ve read but I could also see it being categorized as new adult (as much as I hate that term). Currently NA is over-saturated with bad contemporary stories, but The Bone Season would make a perfect segue away from that phenomenon.

The world-building is intricate (almost too much so) and the characters are intriguing. There’s plenty to like about The Bone Season, but the one thing I would caution anyone who hasn’t read it yet:

REMOVE THE IDEA OF THIS BEING LIKE/THE NEXT HARRY POTTER FROM YOUR MIND.

It will save you a bit of heartache, I promise. I think if I hadn’t read/heard all the hype before reading the book, I would have enjoyed it more but as it were, I’m going with:

three-half-stars

About the author /


Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books, review books, and generally participate in badassery.

15 Comments

  1. Jessi (Geo) (@geobobspinelli)

    WARDEN. Yes. He was ultimately what made me enjoy this one so much. I found it very unique, but for some reason I couldn’t connect! I believe I rated it the same as you did. Hopefully the next one will be better!

    • Shannon

      Same here – Warden was really the only reason I made it through. I mean, I totally see the talent here but the writing style just didn’t come together in a relatable, enjoyable way for me. Maybe book two will be better since the world has been established now? One can hope!

  2. Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink)

    Is it wrong of me to be so happy that this isn’t the next JKR? But hey, at least you enjoyed it, even a little bit. Now I’m just wondering what you mean by too much world-building.

    • Shannon

      No, I don’t think it’s wrong of you at all. I don’t think there will ever be another JKR/HP but I did get caught up in the hype of thinking that maybe this would come close! It, sadly, did not. Not for me anyway. The too much world-building thing – I felt like the book was bogged down at times by all the description of the world in which the story took place. Obviously the author felt it necessary, but I didn’t. It just made the book feel sluggish to me.

  3. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I hardly every pay attention to those little by-lines because they are almost always wrong. Nothing can be the next HP…just like nothing will ever be the new Lord of the Rings. Whatever huge phenomenon that happens next will (hopefully) be wholly original and its own. Anyway! I’m glad you still enjoyed it enough to give it 3.5, I’m really eager to try this one out. I like detail heavy books so maybe the extra world-building will work for me. Great review Shannon!

    • Shannon

      Thank you Michelle! I hope you do like this one – I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it! You are so right about the by-lines. I very much agree although I do have to admit I caught some of the hype excitement with this one. I never expected it to BE Harry Potter, but I did expect it to be epic and, for me, it was not.

  4. Kaitlin

    I would really like to read this. It’s a shame that you didn’t enjoy it very much. I’ve never heard the whole “next Harry Potter” thing, but I’ll make sure to not expect that out of this book. I don’t even think there can even be a next Harry Potter because that series is, well, Harry Potter.

    This is a bit off topic, but I’m really glad you like the Mara Dyer trilogy. I hear more complaints than praises about it, but I loved the first book. I haven’t read the other ones, but I keep looking at them and saying “I need to read you.”

    Great review. :)

    • Shannon

      You should definitely give it a read! It seems that most of my peers (and most of the world even) have enjoyed it. I guess this was just one of those oddball out books for me. And you’re so right about the “next Harry Potter” thing. Never will there ever be another…but I was definitely expecting greatness from this book and I don’t feel like I got it.

      I absolutely love the Mara Dyer series. I am constantly shocked by the amount of people who didn’t like the books. I tell myself it’s because it takes a special kind of person to appreciate that level of creeptastically amazing writing. Most people just can’t handle it, don’t know how to comprehend it, hehehehe!

  5. Megan (Ink Skies)

    I actually really enjoyed this one, though I can understand why our opinions would differ. I didn’t mind at all that The Bone Season was nothing like HP, because that would’ve been too much, in my opinion. (Publicists, never ever pull this kind of stunt again. EVER.) But yes! I LOVED Paige. One of the strongest heroines I’ve read about – albeit a bit foolish – and Warden. <3 I didn't like him much at first, but somehow he wormed his way into my heart and now… Lovely review, Shannon!

    • Shannon

      Thank you, Megan! Haha, I wish a lot of publicist read my blog so they could see your comment and take heed, but ALAS. I didn’t expect it to be like HP story-wise, but I did fall prey to the hype of expecting it to be like HP epicness-wise – if that makes any sense at all, lol. Paige was definitely a strong heroine…and Warden was intriguing from the start, if not likeable. Loved how mysteriously different he was from the other Rephaim.

      I really think (hope) the next book will be better for me, since the story has been established now. We shall seeeeeee!

  6. iceybooks

    I never would have loved this if not for Warden. I’m not a big fan of Paige – she’s a little too rude for my liking. But yes, this is NOT the next HP. I read a few interviews where Samantha clarified that – saying the comparison is related to the deal and not the book, so I kept that in mind while going in.

    Kudos to you for braving this review! I hate when everyone loves a book and then I dislike it.

    Great review, Shannon!

    • Shannon

      Definitely related to the deal, not the book – although I don’t think SHE should have been the one having to clarify that. Just my humble opinion. As for Paige….after some reflection (and reading other books with female leads), I’m not sure I cared as much for her as I thought. I liked that she was resilient but she wasn’t really a memorable character to me outside of that. None of them really were (despite the author’s obvious attempts to the contrary), other than Warden and that Rephaim leader lady just because she was le ultimate B of all Bs.

      It was definitely a review I had to brave. I put off posting it for some time because I was so scared to reveal to Samantha how I felt about it. But if there’s one thing I am, it’s honest. I haven’t directly approached her about it and I don’t know if she’s seen my review or my star-rating of it, but I couldn’t just refuse to review it because I like her as a person, you know? *wipes forehead*

      Thanks for the comment and encouragement!

    • Shannon

      Yesss. One of the hardest things ever. I’ve really never experienced it before now – most of the authors I’ve gotten close to, I already knew I liked their books. And any books I read that I didn’t like, I didn’t really have a repertoire with the author so they were easier to write. This one was certainly hard but I’m glad that, judging from the feedback I’ve received, I managed to write a good review even though it was my favorite story.

      • Erin Albert Books

        Just gotta tell the truth. I’m scared to death to see what people say, but I’d rather hear the truth than have people blow smoke up my hiney. ;)

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