Fast-paced, fun and dramatic – if stark and cold – The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, children's books, teen book reviews, Writing, Writing Thoughts

Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker who can break into people’s minds, has lived in danger of discovery for years – but when she is captured on a train and taken off to an unimagined separate society she discovers more and more about the corrupt and restrictive world she lives in. She is assigned to a gaoler who doesn’t seem to be what he is meant to be, forms alliances and makes enemies in the strange world that has become hers, desperate for the rest of her crew back in London. But forces are rising all around her, and Paige seems to be key to it all…

Sorry the synopsis is a bit vague, I read this ages ago now and have leant someone my copy! I read this because I had heard so much about it, because the author Samantha Shannon is extremely responsive to her fans on twitter, and because I found it for sale on the book barge. I was even more excited when I realised that the author had signed it! In general, though I wasn’t really captivated by the world it was set in, I really enjoyed this book!

The world, though it is London, is alien. The system of the various types of magical people (I can’t remember many) is complex; I found myself wanting to understand them but not quite enough to actually look back to the chart on the front and back through the book to work it out. I’m not sure if we’re meant to know or not – but I was a little irritated that I couldn’t always tell what a phrase or title meant.

Also, gosh, so many of these books now just completely lack any warmth. I know this is the point. Stark, cruel, horrible lands where humanity has become a fight for survival. But here even amongst Paige’s friends I found that I hardly cared. She is extremely untrusting – but even her crew in London that she is desperate to return to seem horrible. If there was a bit more warmth in this book to show what is going to counter the catastrophe and cruelty all around them. I don’t feel compelled by the world they are in at all – it’s not like going to Narnia or to Hogwarts – places with real danger and evil and challenge but where you still enjoy yourself. But perhaps that’s because I’m really not a teenager any more?

But I did really enjoy it nevertheless! Probably Paige’s interactions with her mentor type person (he was a high-ranking member of the species who have come and are ruling humanity) was my favourite storyline, though she was constantly resistant to him. I don’t remember the rest of it hugely (I’m definitely behind on reviews) but intend to pick up sequel The Mime Order soon, and have leant my copy out already – so I obviously thought it was pretty good!

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