Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

18366739._sx318_Verdict: Off the rails, addictive, wonderful.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Published by Bloomsbury, 2013

Find it on Goodreads.

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.

This book is off the rails, it reads like Samantha Shannon crammed about five books into one, and it follows familiar beats but I loved it. I had a complete blast reading this and I cannot believe I started a seven book series with only three books published so far. I loved this so, because it seems like it’s certainly not the most original thing I have ever read and it is in parts ridiculous – but Shannon gives her story and her tropes enough of a twist to keep me on my toes.

The book starts fairly unoriginal in a future dystopic world where clairvoyant people are hunted and their mere existence is outlawed but soon goes completely off the rails. Shannon does not give the reader any moment to breath before her main character kills somebody with her powers (it is self-defense, because let’s not get overly excited, the main character is a good person – which I happen to adore in my fiction to be honest, regardless of my snark) and has to run, only to be captured and driven to Oxford which is not supposed to exist anymore. And then suddenly – aliens. Sexy aliens even. I thought I could see where this was going from a mile away (there is even the inevitable early 2010s love triangle between her childhood friend and a sexy, dark, brooding stranger) but I did not care one bit and I was also not quite correct. Shannon had me hooked and increasingly frantic to find out more about this world and to see where this is going. In a way, I think this book was better for me because I have not read all that many of the YA staples and as such the familiar beats were comforting without being boring – also, this story while certainly not without crossover appeal, most certainly is a work of adult fantasy and worked all the better for me in its deliberate darkness. I also really think that Shannon’s writing and her characterization are on point. I found this addictive and her main character sympathetic without being unbelievable. Her reactions always made sense and even though she is impulsive this is always tempered by her wish to do what is right.

This might be the most backhandedly complimentary four star review I have ever written but I did really love it, even if I can see on some level why it totally would not work for other readers. But I will surely read every single thing Shannon ever writes.

Content warning: Slavery, bigotry, mind rape, assault, a really uncomfortable sex scene tinged with regret

10 thoughts on “Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

  1. Great review! I totally agree with you that this has many tropes, but Shannon still kept it interesting!
    I read this book a bit over a year ago, it is about time I continue the series..!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh FINE I’ll check it out 😬 great review, Hannah! I’m so curious about Shannon’s other works after loving Priory. Might just pick it up… in 3 years when most books are out 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so much fun! I mean, sexy aliens! Out of nowhere! That drink blood! It’s RIDICULOUS and lovely and then surprisingly different to what I expected.


  3. Great review! I read this one a year or two ago and mostly enjoyed it, but haven’t gotten around to the second book yet. You’re making me excited to get back into this world! I think I was a bit less thrilled with how familiar some of the tropes were, but it is a very unique setup in the end, and I’m also intrigued to see where the second book will take it. I hope Shannon continues to impress you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just loved it. I can absolutely see how it wouldn’t work for other readers but I was so very much in the right mood! I own the next two books but want to take it slow so that I do not have to wait forever for the next installment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You should absolutely not read this book. You’d hate it. But it is so much fun! (Priory is objectively by far the better book – plus feminist dragon fantasy with lesbians is such a good selling point)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so heartened by your review of this book, tbh! Most reviews I’ve seen of it have been middling at best, but I really did want to read it, so this review is very encouraging!


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