Much hype has surrounded the release of Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season. 21-year-old Shannon has just completed an English degree at Oxford and paired it with a seven book deal, thanks to Bloomsbury taking a chance on a new name they feel is a sure thing.
Shannon’s futuristic adventure, set in 2059, is full of the characters we have come to expect from YA fiction. Feisty heroine Paige Mahoney is a self assured clairvoyant with a particular bent for dreamwalking or possessing the spirits of others. She has carved out a successful career for herself, on the streets of Scion London (SciLo), as a criminal under warlord Jaxon Hall. Based at Seven Dials, Hall runs the most successful syndicate of voyants.
But Paige must keep her powers secret as the current government is dedicated to ridding the community of those with clairvoyant powers. On a routine check Paige is captured and drugged after she kills two guards by possessing them. She is taken to a colony known as Sheol 1 in Oxford. Paige is imprisoned in a city kept secret for some two hundred years, controlled by the powerful Nashira Sargas.
Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite creature who acts as her personal guard. He is her superior, her enemy and her trainer. Shannon gives us brief glimpses of this mysterious creature – he has yellow eyes, he is strong, but also vulnerable. Warden remains for the most part elusive, perhaps his true character will unfold in the next book.
Shannon’s adventure encompasses a fleet of characters, dark material, forests, chases and a possible unfolding romance. Despite its classic YA hallmarks, Shannon’s sophisticated writing will appeal to adult readers. Paige Mahoney is an admirable heroine and one the reader is keen to align themselves with.
The first book is a complex introduction to a bevy of characters. As Shannon settles into her writing perhaps we will begin to see more of the main storyline emerging. The Bone Season book has certainly set the scene for the next instalment.
If you enjoyed His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman you will enjoy The Bone Season.
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