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Winter, Spring, Summer … Bone

Although it sounds like it should be, Samantha Shannon’s debut novel The Bone Season is not a Jeffrey Deaver book starring Lincoln Rhyme.

Winter, Spring, Summer … Bone

BOOK REPORT for The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon

Cover Story: Illuminati
BFF Charm: Yay to Platinum
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Futuristic Cockney
Bonus Factors: Mysterious Loner Pan-Dimensional Dude, Book Love
Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter
Anti-Bonus Factor: Author Envy
Relationship Status: Cohorts

Cover Story: Illuminati

Just because it doesn’t feature an Eye of Providence* or a square and compass, there’s still something quite mysterious about this cover. Something that says that within its covers will be revealed the mysteries of the Knights Templar or the fact that there’s a treasure map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

*I had no idea this was the actual name of the all-seeing eye.

The Deal:

In a world where clairvoyants—voyants for short—are frequently rounded up and imprisoned by Scion, the security force that rules the city of London, many turn to criminal enterprises for protection. For Paige Mahoney, a voyant with a particularly unique power, protection comes with a price: She must do what her savior/employer/criminal mastermind Jaxon Hall says, even if she doesn’t really want to.

One day, however, Paige goes a step too far, and is captured by Scion’s thugs and sent to the prison city of Oxford. Unbeknownst to her—and the majority of the citizens of the rest of the world—Oxford is run by a group of pan-dimensional humanoid beings named the Rephaim, one of whom takes a particular interest in Paige’s abilities and so assigns Paige to her consort, the aptly named Warden … who is definitely not what he seems at first glance.

BFF Charm: Yay to Platinum

At the start, Paige is a pretty cool girl. She’s a criminal, but has a good heart and has turned to a life of crime because she had no other choice. She’s a loyal member of her gang, and she loves them like family. She also loves her father, who happens to work for the force that hunts her kind down. (He doesn’t know what she is.) As the plot of The Bone Season progresses, she gets increasingly badass. At the beginning of the novel, I liked her well enough, but by the end, I wanted to be her BFF so much that I would have certainly embarrassed myself fawning over her were she a real person.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Although Paige is stuck in the prison city of Oxford for much of the book, she makes a connection with someone that’s both surprising and a little bit strange, but it works. Boy does it work. I found myself eagerly awaiting the next time the two would have a moment alone, and feeling let down when it never quite went as far as I would have hoped. Things are gonna get H-O-T in future books, that’s for sure.

Talky Talk: Futuristic Cockney

Paige lives in London in the year 2059. Her universe and the universe in which we live diverted back in days of Edward VII, who some (in the novel) believe was the first clairvoyant. Some also believed that he was Jack the Ripper—in part due to the five bloody murders he supposedly carried out—so you can understand why clairvoyants are seen as enemies to the public.

In The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon has created a world that feels a little old-fashioned and futuristic at the same time; her characters speak about technology that would be right at home in a science fiction novel while wearing waistcoats, reading Penny Dreadfuls and checking pocket watches. It’s an odd mix, and some of the slang/story specific terms can be a bit jarring, but in the end it all works together well.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Pandimensional Dude

It’s obvious that Warden isn’t human. He’s too tall, his hands are too large, and his eyes are chartreuse. That doesn’t stop him from smoldering through the pages of the book like it’s going out of style, however, nor does that stop him from being intriguing to the point of distraction.

Bonus Factor: Book Love

Ever since Edward VII went a little off his rocker and Scion took control, anything remotely “unusual” is frowned upon, particularly books of the fantastical sort. Thankfully, Paige doesn’t prescribe to Scion’s ridiculous way of thinking.

“Warden was leafing through a dusty novel when I came into the chamber. Frankenstein. Scion didn’t allow that kind of fantastical literature. Nothing with monsters or ghosts. Nothing unnatural. My fingers twitched, aching to reach out and turn its pages.”

Bonus/Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter

It can be tough jumping into a series when you know it’s just begun, but there are times it can also be a good thing. It’s going to be really hard to wait for each successive release—there will be seven total, I think—but I’m hoping it’ll be a good sort of anticipation rather than a hair-tearing-out one.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Author Envy

In July 2013, Forbes ran an article on Shannon, posing the question: “Is 21-Year-Old Samantha Shannon The Next J.K. Rowling?” Yes, you read correctly—Shannon was only 21 when she signed a six-figure deal with Bloomsbury Publishing. At the time the article was published, rights had also been sold in 20 other countries, and Andy Serkis’ production company, Imaginarium, had bought the right to film an adaptation.

Suffice it to say, Shannon has reached a level of fame many authors only dream of. But really, I can’t hate on her too much. When some series with questionable inspiration sources *cough*Fifty Shades*cough*, it’s heartening to see someone reach such levels of success with an original plot.

But does she have to be so pretty, too? GOSH.

Casting Call:

Lily James as Paige

Side note: Lily's actual last name is Thomson. You think she's a Harry Potter fan?

Eddie Izzard as Jaxon

Francis Cadieux as Warden

Francis is a model, not an actor, but he's certainly got that otherworldly handsome thing down pat, amirite?

Relationship Status: Cohorts

I was a little late to the game reading you, Book, considering you first popped onto my radar almost a year ago. But you waited, patiently, for me to find you, and then stuck with me while I struggled at first to get into your story. When I finally got sucked in, you smiled a knowing smile and patted me on the head. I swatted your hand away and greedily went back to reading. January (when the second book in the series, The Mime Order, comes out) can’t come soon enough.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book. I received neither a private dance performance from Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Bone Season is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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