fantasy · reviews

the bone season by samantha shannon; a review

title: The Bone Season (#1)
author: Samantha Shannon
genres: paranormal fantasy, dystopian fiction
publisher: Bloomsbury
release date:
 august 20th, 2013

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❝no doubt, you’ve heard the name samantha shannon at least once in the last several years. she rose to fame with her striking series that she describes as ‘a blend between epic fantasy and dystopian fiction’. first published in 2013, the bone season is her debut. the first in a seven book series, it became an instant bestseller and worldwide sensation. 

the protagonist, paige mahoney, is an ‘unnatural’ – what the dystopian government of scion england labels clairvoyants. paige, herself, is of a unique voyant order called a dreamwalker – “a hacker of sorts”. she can dislocate spirit from body, enter the spiritual realm called the aether, and sense things outside of herself like dreamscapes and spirits.

due to an incident on a train in london’s underground, paige is arrested for unnatural activity and taken to the forgotten city of oxford. a terrible revelation awaits her: for the last two centuries, unearthly creatures called the rephaim have been reaping voyants, sentencing them to a life of servitude – including battling a formidable race of aetherial zombie-like monsters called emim.

in this penal colony, paige is stripped of her name and former life as an esteemed member of london’s most notorious criminal gang, now known simply as the number XX-59-40. what is more, her perplexing aura draws the attention of the rephaim’s blood-sovereign – the fearsome nashira sargas, who desires to possess her dreamwalking abilities. meanwhile, the enigmatic and mysterious arcturus, warden of the mesarthim, is tasked with being paige’s keeper.

our protagonist has a strong defiant streak that often lands her in trouble, yet it’s also what wins warden’s admiration, as well as the readers’. much more lenient than the cruel and bloodthirsty likes of his kin, warden trains her to understand and use her gift, expanding it so paige learns to infiltrate other people’s dreamscapes. the two slowly form a reluctant bond as paige unearths hidden truths about a failed uprising from twenty years ago. roped into another rebellion plot, she vows to not let this one end in brutal bloodshed.

there’s so many layers to this book! it’s impossible to summarise it in a way that would encompass all the complexities of the world. i must say, ms shannon’s attention to detail is immaculate. much like a glass of wine or a cup of strong coffee, it’s so rich and vibrant that it takes a while before to truly seep into your senses. once it does – it’s an explosion. plus, paige is a formidable narrator. she’s not easy to follow due to her impulsive, reckless nature, yet her compassion, strong sense of justice, and resilience make her incredibly easy to love. 

when i first read the bone season back in 2014, i was immediately hooked. after months of seeing it everywhere, i finally understood the (well-deserved) hype. despite a few minor weaknesses (the info-dump start and some gaps in the timeline), this is a masterful debut – especially for such a young author at the time. it remains one of my favourite series with paige being one of the best protagonists to date. revisiting the first instalment only strengthened my already quite intense appreciation. this re-read also made me appreciate the finer details that i missed the first time around, which ms shannon has so cleverly woven into subsequent books. 

with its unique premise, complex world and magic system, multi-layered protagonist, and thrilling plot, the bone season is unlike anything you’ve read before.

and remember, there is no safer place than scion.

(i’ve previously written a review for the third book in the series which you can check out here.)

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The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon [Review]

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Title: The Song Rising
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series:  The Bone Season #3
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Format: eBook
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Summary:

print-signs-opening-quotesFollowing a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it . . .

my thoughts

I first read The Bone Season precisely three years ago. I waited half an year before buying it because I wanted to get the hardcover. However, I was so impatient that one day I just caved in and bought the large paperback version (not to be confused with the mass market paperback edition). I just couldn’t wait any longer, I was that hyped. Despite the rocky start I had with it, by the end it turned into one of my favourite novels. Then came The Mime Order which was even better. It was so spectacular, I read it three times – and I never reread books, unless they’ve completely blown me away. To this day I completely swear to this series and cannot recommend it enough. And let me tell you, if you thought nothing could peak over The Mime Order – think again.

The Song Rising is the highly-anticipated third book in The Bone Season series. Paige’s story continues exactly where we left it – when she and, consequently the audience, learns of a terrible truth and a shocking betrayal. But Paige has no time to recover from that revelation as she’s now Underqueen – and her reign is already collapsing before it has even had the chance to begin. Paige and her trusted allies must keep the people of the London criminal syndicate together all while simultaneously looking for a way to destroy Scion’s newest weapon that may just be the end of clairvoyance as they know it. Embarking on a dangerous mission, Paige will have to go to near impossible lengths if she wants to keep her people safe

This book is quite easily number one in my most anticipated 2017 books list. I’ve been waiting for so long that at one point it felt like the song will never rise *hehe* but here we are and, boy, did it RISE. Honestly, after getting blown away by The Mime Order, I was positive that now I’ll be ready for anything Samantha Shannon throws my way. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. The Song Rising not only surpassed The Mime Order, but it’s the paranormal sci-fi book to end all paranormal and sci-fi books. Or just books in general. Trust me when I say you definitely NEED this book, like yesterday. Continue reading “The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon [Review]”