Author: Samantha Shannon (Twitter)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publish Date: August 20, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
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'll admit that The Bone Season has been on my shelf for some time now, but I've simply put off reading it based on the vast and categorically un-streamlined reviews. From what I've seen, people seem to either love it or hate it, and I'm the type of person that hates being on one strict side or the other. But, I was in the mood for a futuristic fantasy novel, and I knew that this was the one book that I'd eventually have to pick up because, for better or worse, it clearly elicits quite the emotion from its readers. First and foremost, I'll state that Samantha Shannon has written a masterpiece of a novel. Like it or not, the world within these pages is well-defined, beautifully paced and welcomes you into a world that's dark, alluring and mysterious.
Having such a backdrop demands that readers be given a fantastic heroine, as well, and I was pleased to see that Paige fit the bill in its entirety. Paige is a force to be reckoned with. At times quiet and pensive, but other times reckless with abandon, we get to see through this sort of dichotomy that she is a layered, complex sort of girl. Simple - she's the type of character (and person) that I'd want to get to know. Perhaps the best part of her character though was the fact that I could see a little bit of myself in her. She toys with Warden, testing the limits and bounds, but when she retreats, we see that she's caring, observant and kind, and that keeps her in our good graces.
Warden, on the other hand, stole the show for me. In theory, I should have hated him. As the enemy, I knew that this should have been in black and white for all to see, but Ms. Shannon makes it so that there is something so very enigmatic about him that we see him instead in shades of grey. Furthermore, he doesn't really fit into any specific mold or definition. He's a million things at once, but he's never quite any of them either. He's a quiet, dangerous, powerful and beautiful character that is so very rich that I have to say he might just be the highlight of the entire novel for me. Because, in the end, even though Paige is strong and resilient, Warden equally matches - and bests her - in terms of charisma.
The Bone Season was, at times, a bit overwhelming because it is so very complex, but Ms. Shannon does well in creating a scene that is memorable and vivid, capturing us and absorbing us completely. It's a task to take on though, I'll admit, and it was daunting at the start. However, it's the type of novel that has a quiet, brooding power that will overtake even the most stoic of readers if only they'll give it a chance. I give it a high 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA and upper YA, especially those who enjoy fantasy, urban fantasy and dystopian novels.