Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Publication Date: November 6th, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury UK

Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Series Status: The Bone Season #1

Pages: 496

Format and Source: Paperback, Owned

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.


First I’m going to add more detail to the setting for you so you can understand what it means by ‘Scion London’, and the only way to explain it properly without giving too much away will be by quoting The Bone Season’s wiki page.

In 1929, three decades after the new Republic of England took power and declared war on unnaturalness, it was renamed Scion. The First Inquisitor, Ramsay MacDonald, was chosen and London became the first Scion citadel on 29 November. Scion, officially The Republic of Scion, is the powerful governing system that controls several major world cities by the late twenty-first century. Although not all countries are under their control, influence and support for their anti-clairvoyant policies are spreading.’

Basically, in The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, there is this big, all-powerful, stupidly strict government whose main goal is to rid the world of clairvoyants. But, of course, it is a lot more complicated than that. I’m not going to tell you why though because that would away give some major spoilers. I love the idea of this alternate future, where our London is completely different from theirs.

But it does remind me a lot of The Hunger Games. I mean there’s a government who rules with an iron fist; the land ruled by this government is split into different sections; the female lead is extraordinary, but just wants a normal life; she slowly (very, very slowly) falls for the man who is meant to be her enemy. This is just a much more mystical, and possibly even more complicated, version of The Hunger Games.

It is very good though. It kept me enthralled the entire time, especially since the main theme throughout the book – and, judging from what I know of the second book, the series – is struggling with deciding who to trust. This means that there is quite a bit of character development for each character that comes close to Paige, which is something I definitely enjoy.

I also love the concept. The idea that clairvoyants being real, and them hiding in a society where they are treated like they are disease-ridden, all the while the government tries to track them down. I don’t know why but to me it seems so intricate and that fascinates me.

Also there is very little about love interests and there is only one proper ‘romantic’ scene, and I love that! If you were in Paige’s position getting off with a hot guy would be the least of you troubles.

There are a couple things I don’t like. One is the slang words. They are words such as ‘amaurotic’ and ‘mollisher’, which are complicated to get the hang of. Luckily there is a glossary at the end of the book, but I didn’t know that until I finished the book (I know, I’m slow). So the slang still annoys me. It’s definitely necessary, but it doesn’t stop it from being bloody complicated.

Another thing I dislike is that there is a part of the plot – I won’t specify which because spoilers – which annoys me slightly. Well, it’s not exactly the plot but more of the people, creatures, in the plot. They are so overly complicated, I feel like they are too complex. I still don’t totally understand them even now.

If you like action, fantasy, and dystopian reads with a kickass female lead, read this.

Warning: there is a specific species, which are nicknamed ‘Buzzers’, which I believe are completely redundant in this, and if you do read it you will see why. I really don’t see any point in them at all.

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