Books

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Almost lives up to the Hype


This may be one of the most hyped-up books of the year with boastings of “Harry Potter meets Hunger Games”. It's best to leave behind any thoughts of Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen at the door because if you come in expecting that, you're gonna be disappointed. Enter this world as blind as possible and you'll find an interesting book with complicated characters after you get through the worst bits.

In Shannon’s debut, the first in a series of seven novels, she brings us to Scion, a totalitarian state in England circa 2059, where “voyants” are designated “unnatural” and clairvoyance is outlawed. I struggled with the first 100 pages or so of this book, but the set-up that the author necessarily needed to create the new world of Scion got me boggled down with terminology, I can't remember half of it. It would have helped to have some chart at the beginning of the book to explain them in addition to the maps of Scion London. I came very close to quitting several times, but the great reviews and hype made me plow on.

The book centers on 19-year-old Paige who unintentionally kills two police, is captured, and is shipped off to a secret "penal colony" called "Sheol". Inhuman creatures run Sheol from another dimension that make slaves and servants of the voyants. Over the course of the novel, Paige must face a number of tough questions, including whether she's willing to fully develop her clairvoyance, how far she's willing to go to protect her friends, who she should trust, and whether she is fighting only for her personal freedom or for the good of all voyants ... and, ultimately, humanity. I found the final resolution of "The Bone Season" acceptable knowing a sequel is coming; I didn’t expect everything to be wrapped up with a bow.

The book is long, 481 pages to be precise, so strap in for a long ride and 6 more books after this. In spite of some shortcomings “Bone Season” is a powerful story, that has left me with lots of question and I'll be following this series to get my answers.
Those who enjoy immersing themselves in dystopian books and detailed worlds will love Bone Season and Samantha Shannon is an author to watch.
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