Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I only just got to reading Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season, the first book in a seven-book fantasy series published by Bloomsbury that was released in August. It is a cross between dystopia and supernatural fantasy, a combination that makes possible its comparisons to series such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

In The Bone Season, nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney lives in a future London, in the year 2059. This London is divided between amaurotics (non-clairvoyant humans) and clairvoyants, which Paige is. She hides her gift for dreamwalking from her father, who works for the anti-supernatural Scion, an organization that controls the government, policies, and everyday lives of the citizens of London. She clings to a criminal underground in order to make meaning of her gift. She works for Jaxon Hall, one of many who use their supernatural powers in order to live carefully and stay under the radar in the city.

When Paige accidentally uses her gift to kill one guard on the subway, and causes the other to go completely brain dead, she is ambushed in the middle of the night and taken out of the city. She ends up in Oxford, which she discovers is run by another supernatural race, the Rephaite. They are terrifying and non-human creatures who take in clairvoyants (voyants for short). Paige learns about Bone Seasons, a collecting of voyants that occurs every ten years in London. The Bone Season that brings her to Oxford is the twentieth. Unable to leave Oxford, Paige and the others are considered prisoners to the otherworldly beings.

The fantasy structure that governs a dystopic London is so intricate and ordered. It took me about ten pages of not being sure exactly what I was reading about. There wasn’t enough of a real world – Shannon’s 2059 London is so different from this one, and a London with clairvoyants living underground even more disarming – to draw me into the more fantastical elements. But after I got through the first chapter, I just remember being completely hooked, and I finished the book in a day.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here, where the story ends in the first book. The Bone Season has definitely been added to my fantasy series list, and I’ll look forward to following this series as it comes out over the next few years.

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