The Bone Season: Review
Friends and followers, what was the last book to fail to live up to your expectations? Mine was, unfortunately, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I was just so... confused by this book. I didn't love it, but I didn't quite have a problem with the writing, either. It was just very underwhelming, which is disappointing because I know so many people who really loved the book! Read on for a spoiler-free review.
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 for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred 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 introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
The Bone Season is written from a first point of view, and entirely from Paige's point of view. We're introduced to this world from her experienced eyes as someone who's already been embedded in it and is, dare I say, pretty jaded about the whole affair. She's dismissive about the people and powers she encounters, tosses around Scion London vocabulary like it's no big deal (and to her, it really isn't), and makes impossibly rash decisions (which might not seem so rash to her as her mime-lord's mollisher).
The first half of The Bone Season is purely an info dump. We are introduced to the various types of unnaturals, the politics and history behind Scion London, and their slang. It's a lot of information to take in, and it makes the beginning of the book really difficult to get into. As a reader, I had no connection to the character or her world because I was totally unfamiliar with it. I was thrown into it with no guiding hand. To make matters worse, Paige didn't bother explaining anything. It was through her cluelessness, or the ignorance of other characters, that we get bits and pieces of knowledge.
I also wish the characters had more depth. Perhaps it's the living situation, but all of the characters that we were introduced to had no life in them, not even Paige, our protagonist. I hate using this term, but Paige was kind of a snowflake. She mentions repeatedly that her father is a reputable Scion scientist, so he essentially works in the government in a specialized field. Yet, she barely acknowledges her privilege when she comes face to face with persecuted clairvoyants, or the fact that she works for a crime syndicate when she happens to have a cushy life back home. There was something lacking in Paige's development throughout the entire book.
However, I don't think the writing was all that bad. I appreciated the world that Shannon created, even if I didn't understand it for 50% of the book. Therefore, I'm docking two stars from my review: one for the lack of character development and one for the insane density at the start of the book.
I rate The Bone Season 3/5 stars!