The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy
Publishing Info: Audiobook, March 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins
Star Rating: 4/5
Back Cover Summary:
For the past two hundred years the Scion government has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in London.
Clairvoyance in all its forms has been decreed a criminal offence, and those who practise it viciously punished. Forced underground, a clairvoyant underworld has developed, combating persecution and evading capture.
Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker operating in the Seven Dials district of London, leads a double life, using her unnaturalness illegally while hiding her gift from her father, who works for the Scion regime…
Having enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s epic fantasy novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, I decided to delve into her backlist and try her debut novel, The Bone Season. While The Bone Season is vastly different from Priory, being set in future London rather than a secondary world fantasy, the pages were still filled with Samantha Shannon’s rich, detailed worldbuilding and readable, engaging prose. The audiobook narration by Alana Kerr Collins was also excellent and drew me into the story.
After an intriguing opening, The Bone Season very quickly went in a direction I was not expecting, giving me a kind of book whiplash. It left me feeling a little baffled at first, wondering what, exactly, it was I was reading. However, once I adjusted my expectations and got used to this complex and strange future world, I found myself becoming more and more invested in Paige’s story. I won’t talk about plot specifics, because I think this is one of those books where it’s best going in not knowing much at all. Many of the plot elements are familiar, but Samantha Shannon’s immersive world building makes it feel fresh.
The world building is incredibly intriguing, as it combines many familiar features of a dystopian world with the more fantastical. It doesn’t feel like magic or superpowers have been randomly plastered on top of a dystopian London, rather the ideas of clairvoyance, ghosts and the aether fit perfectly with this harsh future reality and have been effectively integrated into the world. There was, however, a lot of information to take in and I felt overwhelmed at times as I tried to get my head around all of the unfamiliar terminology and slang.
A few chapters into The Bone Season, I thought there was little chance I would return to this world and read the rest of the series. However, by the time I’d finished, I wanted more. This was a solid opener and I’m certain I will be picking up the next book. There are seven books planned for this series and I’m intrigued to see what direction the story takes.
Samantha Shannon has once again pulled me in with her fantastic storytelling and cemented herself as one of my favourite authors.