Monday, January 20, 2014

Mini book review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

With The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, we have another entry into the "who will be the successor to Katniss Everdeen" contest.  Nineteen year old Paige Mahoney is a clairvoyant working for one of the mime-lords of a bleak dystopian London.  While all of Great Britain's clairvoyants are criminals, Paige is a special case, a "dreamwalker," able to leave her own consciousness and enter other people's dreamscapes to influence, possess or hurt them.  She's got a tidy little lifestyle, earning good coin, working with friends, dodging the law.  But one day she is chased, drugged and kidnapped, dragged off to an internment city run by the Rephaim (ostensibly psychic aliens).  The Rephaim plan to use clairvoyants for their own nefarious purposes, not least to fight the Emim, vicious creatures that live in the forests surrounding the Rephaim city.  Paige struggles against her captors but her particular trainer, Warden, consort to the leader of the Rephaim, more than matches her.  Paige must learn just what she is capable of and then decide what her fate - and the fates of the other humans, clairvoyant or otherwise, held in the city - will be.

I learned about The Bone Season from NPR's book section.  It's a pretty ambitious first novel (the author is 23), and the first in a planned series of seven.  It is very imaginative and I suspect that as the series goes, it will get better and better.  There are several editing errors that I found - dropped words, using "I" where "me" should have gone, etc. - that I thought should have been caught before publishing; and several times I just wasn't sure what was going on: much of the fighting that goes on is psychic and from the text it was difficult to picture the action.  Still, it's always nice to read a YA fantasy novel where the female protagonist is not in love with a vampire/werewolf (and this coming from a HUGE BtVS fan).  I hope Samantha Shannon does well with this series.

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