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The Bone Season #1

The Bone Season

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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 into the world of fiction. It also introduces Samantha Shannon, an extraordinary young writer with huge ambition and a teeming imagination, who has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

466 pages, Hardcover

First published August 20, 2013

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About the author

Samantha Shannon

26 books19.6k followers
Samantha Shannon studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. The Bone Season, the first in a seven-book series, was a New York Times bestseller and the inaugural Today Book Club selection.

Her next novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, was published in February 2019 and became a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages. She lives in London.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,619 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
June 4, 2013

I really, really wanted to like this book. It sounds stupid but I actually feel slightly guilty at how disappointed I was with it and I think the main reason is because the author is a British student of the same age as me and, as soon as I learned that, I really wanted her to succeed. I really wanted Shannon to be the next J.K.Rowling, as some are calling her. I really wanted her debut to take me out of this world and leave me desperate to get my hands on the next installment. However, I just didn't think The Bone Season was anything special or original. In my opinion, it shows definite potential for Shannon's future as a writer but the story is a regurgitated version of one that has been told countless times.

The Bone Season is a story I feel like I've read before in various other fantasy-lite novels - the one that first came to mind being Shadow and Bone. The author takes this familiar story and, basically, complicates it. She stirs it in a pot with a bunch of new names for old things ("voyants" for those with clairvoyance, amongst other new terms), slang that left my head spinning even though myself and the author are British (I ended up having to consult my Welsh friend), and world-building that sounds unique and complex because of the fancy terms floating around... but really isn't. What this is, for me, is an example of taking light, easily digestible fantasy fiction that is filled with uncomplicated excitement and romance, and turning it into something long-winded and overly descriptive just so you can attempt to call it original.

There are apparently seven books in this series and I'm betting only three or four will really be needed. This first book felt soooo long because it was so fleshed out with lengthy descriptions and seemingly pointless information. Plus, there is so much tell and so little show. Particularly in the beginning it felt almost as if the protagonist (Paige) was reading me a textbook on the world, people's abilities and Floxy (flavoured oxygen). Huge chunks of this novel are dedicated to info-dumping and the execution of these sections feels really awkward, like a movie cutting off in the middle to bring up a page of text that gives you some background information. It wasn't smoothly incorporated into the story.

The plot follows Paige who is a dreamwalker in the year 2059. Paige, and other types of clairvoyants, commit a crime just by existing. When Paige accidentally uses her abilities and kills someone, she is sent to a voyant prison which is controlled by creatures called Rephaim who want to use the voyants abilities for their own gain. She is assigned to a keeper called simply "Warden", a mysterious and dangerous dude who stares at her from the day she arrives (guess what happens, go on, guess). I feel myself once again comparing this to Shadow and Bone and the way Alina's powers are discovered by the Grisha and she is forced into their world and taught to harness her powers. The glowering looks and sexiness of the Darkling are also present here but his name is Warden instead. The Bone Season isn't terrible but I find it very surprising that words like "original" are being thrown around when it feels like this story and these characters are recycled versions straight out of many other paranormal novels.

This book, in my opinion, is simply a glorified, overcomplicated retelling of any other light, fluffy fantasy. But the descriptions, info-dumping and general wordiness do not make this a deeper and more meaningful read, but rather they made the book dull and tiresome for me. As much as I wanted to like it, it was incredibly easy to find distractions and every time it was a struggle to come back to it. The romance goes down a predictable route, as does most of the book. I feel bad for saying it, but this just wasn't for me at all and I doubt I will read the rest of the series.

Notes on the slang
Paraffin is Kerosene (paraffin lamp, paraffin stove, etc.)
Cokum - Google will probably be useless to you on this one. It means cunning/shrewd.
Profile Image for Sasha Alsberg.
Author 8 books66.8k followers
December 31, 2016
At first, I found the world a little confusing but as I got more into the book it's became clearer. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was phenomenal! Great at accents!
3.65 stars!
August 29, 2013
In short: the publisher's overblown hype set this book up for judgment and failure, but the book itself provided the rope.

I hate hype. The thing about hype is that it---unfairly, at times---sets the bar up so high that there is really nowhere to go but down. This is true especially in the case of such a young author. You throw in the name Bloomsbury, and the "seven book series" bit, and the J.K. Rowling comparison surely comes. It certainly sets standards extremely high, unrealistically high, that inevitably one is disappointed with anything less. And this book, while technically acceptable, is in no way comparable to the enjoyment I had from reading the first of the Harry Potter series.

Granted, the premise is not the same, the audience is not the same. One fact remains: my enjoyment of the book is just not there. Take away the hype, take away the expectations, and I am only left mildly impressed at this freshman effort of a book.

It is an overly ambitious infodump. It was difficult to read. I sludged through this as I would a school textbook: it was just not an enjoyable book at all, for me. Action and information takes priority over a a sensible plot and character development. The addition of a massive cast serves to only disguise the fact that the plot is a hot mess. This is not science fiction. It is fantasy, it is paranormal, there is nothing remotely resembling science in here for a book that purportedly takes place in the future.

The premise: This is Gameboard of the Gods, with a glossary. I oftentimes joke that in sci-fi, there really needs to be a glossary because oftentimes the terms and concepts are neither well-explained enough, nor are they explained in a timely manner. Well, ta da! I got my wish...and I wish I hadn't. It is really bad when there is a glossary of this length. It is not a good sign when within the first 20 pages, I am confused out of my mind, and have to read the book on two mediums, my reader and a netbook, just so I could have two versions of it open so I could constantly (and I mean constantly) refer back to the glossary. It is one thing to create a new world, it is another to immerse the reader so that they feel like they're drowning, holding onto the fucking glossary as a flotation device. It took me a long, long time to read the initial chapters, because I kept having to look things up and then memorize what they actually are. And there are. So. Many. Terms.

It took me awhile to realize that this is an alternate universe of the UK; I didn't know this was so until it was mentioned that Oxford (a not-so-subtle-reference to the author's pedigreed university) was destroyed in the year 1859. Oh. That answers a lot of questions, like why the fuck is the UK, not even half a century from now, so goddamned different. Why are there oxygen bars?! Isn't oxygen kind of required for living? Etc. Alternate London. Well, that was easy.

The world building is at simultaneously overly detailed and extremely vague. Very, very, very specific information is given only when it pleases the author to do so. There is a lot of information (information is the word of the day, in the context of this book) given to us when it's convenient for the author to do so. People with clairvoyance are feared and hated and hunted down---the reasons is never explained clearly enough for my satisfaction. There is little history, little background, little explanation to why things are this way or that, nothing to make us feel like this could be an actual world.

As quickly as we are dumped into this setting from a 50-foot plank, we're immediately plunked into yet another underground world. An secret world set in an alternate universe. It's so very Inception, is it not? We've got clairvoyants, seers, etc., in one world, and we're dumped into Sheol I, in which there are Emims and Rephaites, and there's more info-dumping on them. God save us all.

The characters: The characters and the setting are gloriously sterile. They left me emotionless. You could easily kill any of the main characters off 90% through and I wouldn't even blink, much less shed a microscopic tear. The book didn't give any of the characters personality or character development until the author suddenly remembers, oh, I should probably insert _____ poignant moment in here at _____ appropriate time.

Paige Mahoney is our special snowflake of the day. She is the daughter of an eminent scientist within the Scion scientific research division, and has had a very privileged life due to her father's status and importance. She doesn't want it.
I’d always hated school: the uniform, the dogma. Leaving was the high point of my formative years.
I always hate it when characters act stupidly contrary like this. Guess what, Paige? It's life. You are not special. School is expected, as are following the rules. Nobody likes it, but we do it because it's the mature thing to do. Making a character a special snowflake is a surefire way to guarantee that I will not like her. Paige just doesn't feel like she belongs in the average life. She's meant for something more. So instead of settling into a mundane life like the rest of us (and therefore saving me from having to read this book), Paige joins the clairvoyant version of the Mafia.

For a book that is told from a first-person narrative, I got no sense of Paige's personality or any sort of complexity or development as the book progresses. Her narrative is comprised of more action than thoughts. Take away the plot, and you are left with a book of YA PNR tropes and clichés. The jealous queen bee, the darkly mysterious guy, the girl with special powers.

There is a very large cast of characters about whom I could not care less. Short of a few main characters, the rest of the cast are largely extraneous and utterly forgettable.

The romance: utterly forced. Utterly unnecessary. Not well-built at all. Came out of nowhere. To summarize: Paige gets rescued/captured by the Rephaim as she is about to die (so terribly convenient), and is told that she is part of Bone Season XX---which starts...NOW!(Again, so terribly convenient). The Rephaite captures people and save them for every 10 years to compete in this special contest to see who gets to be their special servants, a red-jacket (as opposed to the regular servants, who are just performers---harlies). Shock of all shocks, Paige notices one particular Rephaite, a very-super-extra-good-looking one (among the merely really-good-looking ones).
One of the Rephaim was looking at me.
His gaze cleaved straight to mine, as if he’d been waiting for me to look, watching for a flicker of dissent. His skin was a dark honey gold, setting off two heavy-lidded yellow eyes. He was the tallest of the five males, with coarse brown hair, clothed in embroidered black. Wrapped around him was a strange, soft aura, overshadowed by the others in the room. He was the single most beautiful and terrible thing I’d ever laid eyes on.
Shockingly, he picks Paige to be his Special Girl. She gets to be his servant! She's soooooooooooo special, because guess what?
“You have attracted the attention of the blood-consort: Arcturus, Warden of the Mesarthim. He has decided to be your keeper.”
“It is rare that he takes interest in a human...You are very, very fortunate.”
Fuck me. Facepalming so hard.

Their romance is forced and stretched. It is a prison-guard/mentor type of a relationship, only...not, because clearly, certainly the author is setting us up for romance somewhere along the way. The "like,", the love, the gradual building up of the relationship never felt realistic, it never felt natural; when it finally came, it just left me utterly cold and disbelieving.

The writing is technically well-done, the action scenes are acceptable, but is entirely too dependent on the use of Deus ex Machina as a plot device. The plot is a mess. It is peppered through with flashbacks that tried to give me insight into Paige's character, and while that worked somewhat, it just took too long to get to the point, and I felt the majority of the flashbacks...as with the book...were largely useless and noncontributing to the book in general.

Undoubtedly, this book has a lot of fans already, based on the huge numbers of glowing reviews. I, for one, remain highly skeptical. If this is indeed to be a 7-book series, I'm not sure where it will lead, but I know will not follow.

The ending is meant to leave us wanting more...but I'd rather spend my summer at the Dursleys.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,856 followers
March 18, 2020

This book is disgusting. My skin was crawling with revulsion while I read it.

The first part - the first three chapters - were already upsetting me. It's an alternate reality England. 200 years ago, some humans started becoming clairvoyant. It's unclear whether this was triggered by something or if it was something that always existed, hidden from the sight of amaurotics (her word for non-clairvoyants). Paige is a clairvoyant, and clairvoyants are hunted, tortured and killed. Your only hope of surviving (legally) in society is to give yourself to the government, who uses you to hunt and kill other clairvoyants.

Paige is a 'criminal clairvoyant' who works the seedy underground of London or whatever made-up British city this is. Anyway. It's like a Dickens setting. The whole book has this kind of "faux-Victorian yet we're in the year 2056" vibe. People call each other stuff like, "dollymop" and tons of Victorian slang is used. Street urchins, tons of other stuff from Dickens novels, etc. etc. etc. Steampunk-ish.

Shannon has created a whole slew of new words to describe her new world. There is an extensive glossary in the back. Reading this book is a slog. I only understood about 3/4 of it. Unless you want to be flipping back to the glossary every 8th word, you will have to grin and bear it and hope it starts making more sense as the book goes on.

So, I'm already not liking the book (we're only talking about the first three chapters here) because Paige and her 'kind' are in hiding and hunted mercilessly (a la X-Men) because they have supernatural powers. Oh, and it's a really rough, brutal world. She is working for some guy who is obviously using her ruthlessly for her super-special super-rare power, - he cares nothing for her personally, but she's so valuable to him. Paige, for some cockamamie reason, can't see this - she likes her boss and is very, very loyal to him.

Then, in Chapter 4,

It's disgusting. It's filth. It's fucking insulting to me as a woman. You know who else loves to pull this shit? Maria V. Snyder. She's always having This whole line of thinking and plotline repulses me.

I hate reading fictional accounts of slavery and human trafficking. I HATE IT. It disgusts me. I can read BBCMundo if I want to read about the slavery and trafficking of human beings - it's reality, and it happens every day. It's not what I want in my fiction. But even that is made so much worse by adding the insult of


There is nothing I can say to recommend this. This is a type of book I despise. Even if you stripped away the aspect I was discussing in the spoilers, it still has the problems of being
a.) Mary-Sue main character.
b.) Brutal and utterly depressing world full of pain, death, torture, slavery, degradation, etc.
c.) Tons of weird slang that makes no sense.
d.) A completely made-up, very complex system - actually more than one system - of supernatural stuff that is described in made-up nonsense words and you need a glossary to even get an inkling of what's going on.
e.) There's tons of characters - I can't can't keep them straight much less bring myself to care about any of them.

Terrible no matter which way you cut it, I'd say.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
October 29, 2019
this was recommended to me after i finished reading the grishaverse books (as something similar), and honestly, i cant really agree with that comparison. but that doesnt mean this isnt entertaining in its own right.

i was a little overwhelmed at first - there is SO much world building, and so quickly, that it kind of feels like i was being thrown into the deep end with really no idea about what was going on. but eventually the story became easier to get into. the world is just so fascinating that i really had no choice. lol.

overall, this is a pretty strong debut and solid first book to a series i hope to continue.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
December 3, 2013
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

The Bone Season is easily the most hyped book of 2013, surpassing even the conclusion of the Divergent series, Allegiant. As the first in a seven book series, it's already been optioned for a movie and did appear on the New York Times Bestsellers list its debut week. But when I heard the magical words "the next J.K. Rowling" my interest, along with many, was instantly piqued due to my severe lack of will-power. But like any book surrounded by a massive amount of hype, there's concern that it won't live up to it. And, in my opinion, The Bone Season both did and did not, leaving me very conflicted at its conclusion. For every one thing I loved about it, the yin wasn't far behind.

It's clear that The Bone Season's strength lies with the world building. As frustrating as it is fascinating, London 2059, under Scion rule, was one imaginative place that kept me in a state of awe over such creativity of all the intricate layers to Paige's world. In fact, it's so imaginative and complex that the first few chapters show the novel's biggest flaw: info-dumping. (Though, this didn't bother me too much in my reading experience, I can see it being an issue for others who may have less patience. My advice to anyone who struggles with the beginning is to power through because the ending does not disappoint.) Learning the workings of the underground crime syndicate, remembering the order of clairvoyance and their abilities, understanding what Paige herself can actually do as a dreamwalker, a rare type of clairvoyance, is a lot to take in, and doesn't really get easier as the novel goes on. That coupled with the novel's slang and the constant addition of other explanations, was enough to make my head spin. But there is more, of course, when Paige is captured, adding another layer of complexity and another set of rules the reader has to learn... all within the first 40% of the book. Then, there's a chart of the order of clairvoyance, a map of London, a map of Oxford, a glossary for the slang, fancy words I don't use and bloody Roman Numerals!

 photo Confused_cat_gif_zpsb3b86805.gif

Suffice to say, reading The Bone Season is not for the faint of heart and, at times, was a bit of a chore to keep up with.

Do not get me wrong, this is not necessarily bad thing at all. It's not everyday I read a book with the level of depth as The Lumatere Chronicles , Star Wars, Harry Potter or possibly even, Lord of the Rings. Shannon's imagination was definitely working overtime with The Bone Season. But unlike the aforementioned works, I'm not sure it possesses the same level of fines to tie it all together. It holds enough intrigue to keep you reading and "your wheels a'turnin'," because even when I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the book and what would happen next (and even after finishing it, I'm still thinking about the ending!). That's not something I can say for most books.

One thing I did really love were the characters. Paige was the perfect kind of heroine for me, neither badass nor weak, leaving her with room to grow as a character, but not possessing a few of the more annoying traits of other main characters. She's smart, but still makes a few careless mistakes, giving her a more realistic feel. She's someone I could sympathize with and understand. I also think the members of the Seven Seals, Paige's gang, were very well-developed. Though, they don't have larger roles in the novel until the end, through Paige's dreams we learn about each of their personalities and whims. Unfortunately, I didn't quite feel that way about Warden, a big player in The Bone Season and Paige's Keeper at Oxford. Throughout most of the novel, Paige attempts to figure out Warden's secrets and plans, but even at the conclusion, I don't feel like a have a firm grasp on his motives.

The plot was slowly paced and may frustrate some readers, but I found it worked well in this situation and helped build the anticipation for the growing rebellion at the ending. My only qualm is that the book reads long (at 480 pages, with smaller print and long pages, I guess that explains it). And with so many things happening and so many new things being thrown at the reader constantly, you really have to pay attention to everything. This may seem like a lot of work to read a book, but it does suck you in fairly quickly and is so very addictive. I didn't like being away from this book for long and was always hungry for the next chapter. It was also never boring despite the slower pace, and by the end, it's pretty much non-stop action. The amount of detail and care that went into arranging everything was evident and impressed me. And the ending. It was pretty damn brilliant and the best part of the novel. When Shannon hit her stride, things definitely came together nicely.

I do have three personal issues, which I'll hide in spoiler brackets are below, but just know that it never really detracted from my reading experience.




To conclude, The Bone Season is a very imaginative novel that will take your brain for one hell of a joy ride. If you've been searching for book with more complex world building and plot, this may be it. I can see this being enjoyed by YA lovers and Adult readers alike with its strong paranormal-fantasy-dystopian roots.  Despite my reservations, I can safely say I'll be checking out the next book because this has the potential to be one serious kickass series. And with the high stakes ending The Bone Season had, I look forward to seeing where Shannon will take this story over the course of the next six books.

Disclaimers: ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thank you! I have also met this author and think she's a lovely person. I promise her loveliness did not sway my thoughts in this review. Pinky swear!

Win an ARC HERE. Ends 9/12.

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,658 reviews5,136 followers
May 4, 2020
reread update — May 2020:
I loved this even more the second time, and I can't wait to finally continue the series! ♥

“This was what my spirit longed to do, to wander in strange lands. It couldn't stand being trapped in one body all the time. It had wanderlust.”

original review — July 2017:
This was the Life & Lit book of the month for July, and while I honestly didn't know what to expect and wasn't feeling particularly enthusiastic about starting this series, I was shocked by how much I loved this book! This was more of a 4.5 star read for me, but I didn't feel good about rounding down for this one.

In the future, the government has decided to seek out clairvoyant people and hunt them down, using media propaganda to turn the masses against these people. As a result, clairvoyants who haven't sold their souls to the government must live in hiding, committing crimes to make it by. Paige is one such clairvoyant - a particularly rare one called a dreamwalker - and life is hard enough before she is abducted and taken far away, to live as a slave for a race of immortals called the Rephaim, who have orchestrated the entire war on voyants. Can Paige escape in time to save herself?

Despite Paige sort of falling into the classic YA "chosen one" trope, she's a really enjoyable narrator. She develops a lot during the book, and by the end, she has come to this realization that a lot of her pre-Rephaim life was not what she thought it to be (no spoilers, don't worry). She did bug me a couple of times with her relentless sarcasm and cynicism, but it was nothing worth writing home about.

Arcturus... what can I say? I joked with some friends that I was worried I was temporarily trading in my feminist card for how much I loved his character, despite his being portrayed as her "captor". I won't spoil the ending, but there's a lot more than meets the eye with this big teddy bear.

There are also a handful of really delightful side characters, like Julian, Liss, and Michael, all of which I just wanted to squeeze and hug and keep safe forever.

This was my first book by Samantha Shannon, of course, and I was really pleased by the writing in it. It wasn't anything extraordinary, but it definitely did the job for me. She uses a lot of words that are not ones you would find in everyday speech, but the physical book has a glossary in the back with definitions. I didn't find that I needed it more than three or four times, honestly.

The world itself is built pretty efficiently, and since it's a magical realism book, there isn't much to tell that isn't already the reader's basic knowledge (like locations, etc). I enjoyed how in-depth the world of voyants went, with references to a multitude of different varieties (dreamwalkers, soothsayers, oracles, etc). (Fun fact on the topic: the hadal zone, as referenced in this book, is also a term for the deepest parts of the ocean. I enjoyed that comparison!)

If you're familiar with the YA/NA dystopian genre, I really don't think this will be an earth-shattering read for you, but it is a fun story with a lot of enjoyable characters and action. If you absolutely hate the "master-turned-lover" trope, you may not be able to delve into this one much, but then again, this is a slightly atypical variation on that theme. There are definitely some cliche moments throughout it, but altogether, I found this a delightful read that kept me up late and craving more, and I will definitely be continuing the series!

You can find this review and more at my blog!
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,758 followers
August 31, 2021

TW : Slavery

If I had to describe my relationship with The Bone Season in one gif :

The narrative is choppy and bounces constantly between different subjects without transition. The author is young and it shows : the information about the world is shared rather clumsily through infodump and awkward flashbacks when it suits the author to do so. I didn't complain in the beginning, because I was interested in knowing more about the world. When it went on during the whole book, though? TOO MUCH. I can't endure that, especially because it wasn't well incorporated into the story. Also, I ceased to care.

Stripped of its fancy words**, the world is nothing special really : think PNR blended with Dystopian YA (there's even an attempt at Resistance - I CANNOT STAND RESISTANCE PLOTS ANYMORE. There. I said it). Granted, the magical system is complex and interesting, but it's barely exploited! We have all these different kinds of clairvoyants and for what?? Do their powers count in the end? Barely. Only Paige's counts, because come on, she's the heroine, duh.

**About the fancy words : I used to think that reading in a language that isn't mine made dealing with slang more difficult. Actually, I realised that it might be the opposite. See, coming across a word that I don't instantly understand doesn't bother me as much as it would if I read in French. Context is generally enough, and if not there's always Google.

The writing is on the simplistic side, and we get the impression to be taken for morons or children at times. The awkward way Paige constantly justifies her actions felt as if the author was writing out of a textbook to not piss the reader off : LOOK! I know I'm not supposed to trust him! But I have REASONS! LOOK AT THEM! WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT THEM! So tiring.

Lectures. LOADS of lectures. Every time the author needs us to know something. Hence it doesn't flow and for me it's the mark of a bad writing, sorry, especially in the action scenes - There's this huge danger lurking and the characters are so... calm... so teacher like.

DON'T INTERUPT ME WHILE I'M TEACHING YOU SOMETHING! BAD PUPIL! ~ every character in The Bone Season ever.

⑤ The story suffers from an uneven pacing. Some parts drag so badly and then others are so rushed that we struggle to understand what is going on?!

Oh, look at this official wallpaper!!!

YOU DON'T SAY!! It was just so LONG to get there!

⑥ I really have nothing to say about Paige. None of her "emotions" touched me because everything felt so fake and so damn FLAT.

Watch me forgetting her.

Starting NOW.

Warden! I held hope for Warden! And the bastard crushed it! Actually, bastard is not the right word. He's just... transparent. Tasteless. Uninteresting. Another teacher in the making.

Really, what is it with these characters and their dispassionate lectures? What is IT?

⑧ The secondary characters are one-dimensional and the relationships feel so damn forced. I don't care about any of them. Why should I, really? I don't know them. And I might be a bitch, but I wondered why Paige was helping them from the get-go. No. Really. They don't show any kind of connection so why?! I'll tell you why : to manufacture some kind of martyr strike in Paige, because apparently it's a must-have for any spechul female-lead out there.

*GASP* Or she would be a selfish Mary Sue!

We can't have that.

(Except Mare. We do have Mare, ugh)

⑨ Because I may haven't been clear enough about the secondary characters : every one of them could have died without arousing any emotion in me.

⑩ It's also true of the main characters, actually.

⑪ The romance tries so hard to be a slow burn. Too bad it isn't. More like nothing happens, there's not an ounce of chemistry, and suddenly they can't take their hands off each others.

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Where the fuck does that come from???

Not to mention that it revolves around a trope I cannot stand, a master/slave relationship. This is where I say STOP. THIS. FUCKING. DAMAGING. NARRATIVE. PLEASE. She's branded, marked, and she develops romantic feelings? I DON'T THINK SO. And again, he's 200 years old. PLEASE.

Unoriginal, boring and so very forgettable.

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Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,280 followers
March 10, 2017

❝Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can't get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.❞

Wellllll. This one is a bit tough to rate and review. It was a great book BUT it definitely had its "huh???" moments. Let me start off by saying that this world is DENSE. Holy crap. I cannot put a finger on this worldbuilding. It's like I get it, but I don't. You read it and you're like WHAT IS GOING ON, but it just flows anyways even with a big question mark floating above your head. It's really a lot to take in. One look at the reference page in the beginning of the book and you can already see how much of a pain it would be to piece together the worldbuilding and how things worked.

Worldbuilding aside, the concepts in this book are also super confusing and hard to grasp. I have NO idea what a dreamscape is. I don't even really understand what Paige is or does. Along with everybody else's abilities. I know NOTHING. I understand NOTHING. But I'm like, okay. Whatever. I'll go with it. I'm just hoping that things would make more sense or explained better in the the second book. Although I was ??? about the concepts and worldbuilding, I was still able to enjoy the storyline and how things unfolded.

The pacing, overall, is pretty slow. Even at the end when shit starts to go down, I wasn't fully invested in what was going on or blown away sitting at the edge of my seat. The story moves slow but it's actually surprisingly interesting. Usually the slow pacing plus confusing worldbuilding would kill the whole thing for me and I'll end up DNFing but the storyline really saved this book. There were a lot of times when I was like HOLY CRAP THIS IS SO GOOD.

I don't really have much to say about the book mostly because I'm still reeling and wondering what the heck I just read, and what EVEN was this worldbuilding. But overall, this was a pretty good start to what potentially could be one of my all-time favorite series. I could tell that Samantha Shannon has a lot more up her sleeve for her readers. And considering how this is a seven book series, I'm really curious as to how this story can span that many books. I mean, I'll almost be 30 by the time this series will be over lol!

The Bone Season is a bit slow here and there, and the worldbuilding can be a pain to follow but I think many people will really enjoy this series. Although sometimes the story moves slowly, there was no dull or boring moment. I highly recommend sticking through the tedious, info dumpy first book because I can already see this series greatly improving with the later books! I've heard good things about The Mime Order, and many have said that it's a MAJOR step up from The Bone Season so I'm really looking forward to that!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,463 reviews9,619 followers
July 16, 2017
Um . . . .

I can't even begin to explain the stuff in this book. You will have to read it or read some other review. But, I freaking loved it! How? I don't know, I'm weird that way. Note: There is a glossary in the back to help with the book. I should probably have studied it but it's all good!

Paige gets taken by these people things and is turned into a slave. She gets the better person thing as her master. His name is Arcturus but he's called Warden. I liked him. Yeah, he was a slave owner but he was something else too. Things are not always what they seem. You know, I say that a lot in books. This must be happening in a lot of books I read. It's also because I don't want to let slip a spoiler!

Anyhoo, these people that are being captured to be slaves have powers. They are dreamwalkers and all kinds of things. I can't even explain how many there are and what all the different powers are that they have. They can kill you with their minds or something. I was just along for the ride!

Oh, and there are these things that will eat you if you go into the forest or sometimes they come into the towns or whatever at night and a siren goes off to warn you to get inside. It's crazy peeps. I forgot what they are called but they are like some nasty skinned person thingamabob!

I'm going to read the other books in the trilogy so I can get more confused and have lots of fun doing it =D
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
September 3, 2021
Reread 2021

My reread is officially underway! Enjoyed this just as much the second time, though could do without the ‘Stockholm syndrome’ type romance.

Original review 2018

“Bone used to mean good, or prosperous. From the French, bonne...that’s why they named it: the Good Season, the season of prospect. They see it as collecting their reward...Of course, the humans see it differently. To them Bone means that: bones, starvation. Death.”

What an incredible debut fantasy! The world building was so intricate, it took a while to make sense of everything, and even then new stuff was still being introduced throughout!

Paige is a clairvoyant, a member of an elite group of humans who can sense auras, spirits, and the aether. There is a hierarchy within the clairvoyant society, and Paige is a dreamWalker, one of the highest and most uncommon gifts.

However, the society in which they live - Scion, looks down on and fears Voyants. They are forced into hiding, searched out and even killed. When Paige gets herself into a dodgy situation on a train and 2 guards are killed she is forced to flee. Unfortunately she is captured, and the place she is taken to is worse than any she could have imagined.

Full of wonderful gifts, spirits, poltergeists and dangerous villains. This is an incredible work of fantasy, particularly as a debut by this author! I cannot wait to continue this series!

What a wild ride!

Profile Image for Kiki.
193 reviews8,459 followers
February 25, 2023
I nearly died trying to get through this. Even marking it as 'read' is a push, since I hardcore skimmed the last hundred pages.

It was a chore: so boring I felt like a weary, dry husk as I laboured over every indecipherable page. It falls into exactly the same trap as Truthwitch, which is to wallop the worldbuilding at the reader, and just keep on walloping, info dump after info dump until it feels like reading a textbook - and yet still nothing is explained.

It was just impossible. The Scion, Seven Dials, I-4, dreamwalker thing, whatever it was, whatever, was confusing enough, but then you bung in the whole Sheol I setting with a race of creatures that... Look, I don't even know, dude. I can't make head nor tail of it. I like layered reads, and I love complex stories, and please give me more really deep and thoughtful world building, but just because I want to read a book that makes me think doesn't mean I want to come home from a night on the phones in a stuffy office and sit down to a book that makes my brain hurt. I want to come home and read something that grabs me. Something that cuts me with its hooks. This thing did cut me, but not in a good way.

The only character I was even marginally interested in was Warden, but even then he's the same old turgid hot immortal dude who trains a rookie heroine and falls hopelessly in love with her. He's basically Rowan from Heir of Fire or Shang from Mulan or Four from Divergent. Actually, this whole book reeked of Divergent, from the controlled building of an army to the character of Warden to the character of Nashira, who was basically Jeanine. (Did it bother anyone else that most of the evil characters had Arabic names? What was that all about?)

The absolute worst thing about this book was the introduction of Sheol I at all - pity, since the whole thing's set there - and the absolutely ridiculous Emim/Rephaim/Netherworld storyline. It all felt like smoke and mirrors, to be honest. It felt really silly, too, especially since every time the Netherworld was mentioned all I could think of was Minecraft, and how disjointed the whole thing seemed from the Scion in London (can we set UK books elsewhere please? Always bloody London, over and over again). Especially since the Rephaim thing totally negated the Scion threat. It made the Scion seem not only weak but also really pointless. And why are the Emim only concentrated around Oxford? Are they only going after the Rephaim? What is the Netherworld like? Why are the Rephaim training weak humans to combat this threat? Why did this book suddenly turn into a weird zombie/survivalist thing when it was clearly supposed to be a dystopia, then a fantasy, then a training montage, then a bunch of other things that just did not gel together? The fantasy aspect of this book was lost on me. I really did not get it. I didn't get the categories of psychics and because they were all coded so specifically with those codings never actually being explained, it was impossible to know who could do what and whether or not their abilities were even worth this whole (probably extremely expensive and certainly wasteful) charade. I didn't even fully understand what the hell Paige's power was. What the hell is a dreamwalker? I don't understand and I don't care to, either.

It took me forever to start reading this book - I bought it ages and ages ago and I don't know why. I think it was in the bargain bin when I was working at Indigo, so I got it for like $3, but still. I mean, for god's sake, the hype was ridiculous. But I'm not surprised that the hype train died for this. There was barely a peep around the release of the second book, The Mime Order. Which is a shame, but fuck, man. I'm not the only one who didn't understand what this book was even about.

When I started, I worried I'd be prejudiced against it, due to my growing hatred of first person, and how it closes off the story horribly. But the narration was the least of my troubles with this thing. It was okay, actually, with some good writing and a distinctive voice. But the heroine was bland to me, making dreadful decisions, wisping this way and that, pushing and pulling in whichever way the (thin, ineffectual) plot demanded. There was nothing organic about it. It was just Paige floating around being so amazingly special, putting other people in danger, wondering why her rash and frankly crazy actions ended in punishments for others and, inexplicably, praise for herself.

But I can't comment any more, because I don't feel like I know her. There are a lot of complaints about third person narration and how it places a barrier between the reader and the characters, but I've read loads of third person books whose characters completely captivated me. This, on the other hand, was cold, impersonal, and again, bewildering. Paige is a stranger to me, and not interesting enough to warrant my forcing myself to care about her. I just don't, and that's that.

Overall, this book felt totally pointless, like a random collection of words that may as well have been written in Coptic for how well I understood them. But I'm wondering about the author: she seems like a smart, cool, creative person. So where the hell did this come from?
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,169 reviews98.2k followers
February 7, 2017
This book was so addicting, yet so unnecessarily long for me! Which is even more absurd to say, because so much of this world building was difficult to comprehend; you'd think that the extra length would be helpful, but it wasn't. Like, this chart saved my life:

You see this chart before chapter one, but you don't realize how much you actually need this chart until all these different clairvoyant names start getting thrown at you, and it is the only reference you have to help you not feel completely ignorant. Maybe it was just me, maybe you'll go into this feeling confident about all the different umbrella terms, but it was actually difficult for me, and would sometimes make me feel like I was studying, rather than reading for enjoyment.

But everything else? Everything else was amazing:

•I loved the strong female lead and I love her empathetic and understanding love interest that completely diverted away from the masters and slave trope that it could have very easily became.
“He was the single most beautiful and terrible thing I’d ever laid eyes on.”

•I loved how Samantha Shannon proved very easily that she is not scared to kill off her characters, and continued to prove it throughout the book.

•I loved the surprise of one of the characters being gay, and the amazing and normal reaction from the other characters. There was no shock value or inappropriate questions, it was just accepted, and I loved it.

•I absolutely loved the tie-in with Greek mythology surrounding Adonis, Aphrodite, and Ares! It is probably the thing I'm looking most forward to in The Mime Order.

•I loved the social hierarchy and, as always, seeing privileged people in power doing what is right alongside the people who are lacking strong voices.

•And overall, I just loved how engaging and addicting this book was. I know I was complaining about it being too long, but I still devoured all these pages with a smile on my face, unnecessary information or not.

“I didn't believe in hearts. I believed in dreamscapes and spirits. Those were what mattered. Those made money. But my heart had hurt that day. For the first time in my life I'd been forced to acknowledge my heart, and acknowledge its fragility. It could be bruised. It could humiliate me.”

This world is set in the future of our very own. The year is 2059, and the story is set in England, where clairvoyants of any kind are scared to have people learn of their gifts, because the world has outlawed them. Most, because of the fear of being discovered, have put themselves into mafia-like groups in the different districts, where they use their talents not necessarily for bad, but not for good, either.

Our main character, Paige, has a very unique gift, and her leader, a mime-lord named Jaxon, knows how very unique her gift is. One night, while Paige is trying to visit her last remaining relative, her dad, she ends up having a confrontation on the train. After the confrontation she is on the run, but she is sure that she will be caught and put to death.

And yes, she does get caught, but death is the furthest thing that happens to her. Instead, she is introduced to a whole underground network, inhabited by humans without powers, humans that are clairvoyant, clairvoyants that are not from our world, and beast like creatures that only want to destroy. The dynamic of this social hierarchy is cruel and unfair, and Paige will be pushed to her limits.

This secret society is set in Oxford, which is a city everyone believes to be long destroyed. And once Paige enters this world, she finds out that people have been keeping secrets for over two-hundred years.

“Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”

Overall, I did enjoy this, even with the tedious clairvoyant research it made me do. I also think it is important to note that this book was a debut novel by a very young author, and that in and of itself is impressive. I for sure think that this could be something great, and I am looking forward to continuing on with The Mime Order.

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Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.3k followers
June 7, 2018
Really like the concept, such a fascinating world and characters. There were some times where a lot of information is given at once, but definitely enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
551 reviews406 followers
February 6, 2021
First read in March 2015
Fantastic is an understatement.

The Bone Season absolutely blew me away. Such a fantastically written book, with a gripping plot, amazing characters and original setting and ideas. I flew through it, despite the rocky beginning - there’s quite a lot of information presented, which can make it difficult for the reader to connect, but once you get pass that, you will not want to put this book down. It’s imaginative, it presents a fresh setting and it’s a riveting read.

The year is 2059 and Paige Mahoney is living in London (an alternate reality London) and is part of a crime syndicate, composed of clairvoyants (which can be easiest defined as people who can see/influence spirits/ghosts and affect other people on a spiritual level) . After certain events unfold, Paige is captured and she ends up Oxford, under the rule of a race from another world. Thus begins Paige’s desperate attempt to gain her freedom and return home.

I loved, looooved the idea that sits at the basis of this book - the idea of people who can see spirits and influence them and other people who possess similar abilities. These people actually fight with each other using their powers and it was fascinating to read about it, because it’s not something you see in every book. I loved the world that Samantha has created, the laws that govern it, the slang, the culture, literally everything - it has become one of my all time favourite book worlds.

There’s also a huge character diversity, and while it may be difficult to follow so many characters at times, it’s refreshing to see such variety in terms of characters. I love Paige - she’s smart, determined, likable and she’s taken a place in my all time favourite female characters list. Jax has an allure that compels you, despite the fact that he’s kind of an asshole. Warden has mystery and I loved to see his relationship with Paige slowly develop. I was interested in all of them and that is a testament of Samantha’s writing ability - to make you care about the characters and their relationships.

I found it difficult to pinpoint a certain genre for this book, but that is in no way a bad thing. On the contrary, it means that people who prefer different genres can all find something to love here. It’s a mix of dystopian/paranormal/fantasy that works extremely well. Give it a try, you won’t regret it. It has become one of my favourite books of the year so far and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel - The Mime Order.

Favourite quotes:

“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”

“Don’t judge too quickly, little dreamer.”


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,135 reviews8,140 followers
November 6, 2020
Updated Review
After reading this for a 3rd time I have to raise my rating to 5 stars. It's such a great start to a series. It moves quickly but still develops the characters so well. It's exciting, emotional, intriguing. All around a great time and a series I will continue to return to again and again. Has to be 5 stars.

Original Review
"The Bone Season" is remarkable. It is unique. It is a work of an extremely talented young lady (she's only 22 years old! What?!). And it is the start to a series that I am so glad to have found early on. At the same time, I now have to torturously wait for the following installments.

Paige Maloney is a dreamwalker, a type of clairvoyant that can invade the aether without any help from numen, and she is discovering her talent allows her to attack other's dreamscapes. Yeah, it's a whole lot to take in and understand. It is the first book of the series after all. The first 100 pages or so are quite confusing, because the world is new to you as the reader. But trust me, once you start to understand, you quickly are sucked into the world and won't stop reading until the book is over.

Essentially, Paige finds herself pulled into a mysteriously world that has been allegedly eradicated, the old city of Oxford, in England. There she finds a mysterious supernatural society, the Rephaim, who are utilizing clairvoyants to fight off strange monsters called Emim. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking, what the heck? But just trust me on this).

From there Paige is sort of struggling between her loyalty to her old mime-lord, Jaxon, and her new master, The Warden. She meets some interesting folk in Sheol I (the detainment city), and from there has to face the blood-sovereign, Nashira Sargas. Welcome to a sci-fi/fantasy book where there are strange names and lots of things to learn.


Plot-wise: WOW. So intriguing. The world building is massive. Shannon really set herself up for an epic series. And I can't wait to see where it goes. So much potential for the future. The dilemmas are nothing new, but when they are set in this creative, new world, they become something more, and I really liked that.

Characters: I love Paige. She is strong and confident, but she has a history that haunts her, and you see into that in some very interesting and even terrifying flashbacks. She is really well-developed as a main character, and I think Shannon wrote her perfectly into the story. Warden is an enigma to me; I want to love him as a supporting character, and at times I do, but then other times I question where his loyalties lie. Eek!

Overall: Amazing. I know I am going to love this serious so much. Though it may not be for everyone, I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experience. I couldn't put it down; I thought about it when I wasn't reading it; basically, the perfect example of what I like in a book. It was something totally original (from what I've read), and I am thrilled to see a young writer making her way in the literary world.
Profile Image for Brandi.
329 reviews798 followers
June 1, 2013

Curse you Samantha Shannon!!! You go and create this amazingly original book, and then make me wait for the rest?! I'm not going to make it. If you need me to *ahem* check the future books for...something...I'm more than willing. Jus'sayin. Now on to the book review!!

All clairvoyance was prohibited, of course, but the kind that made money was a downright sin. They had a special term for it: mime-crime.

This story is incredibly original (for me), and really intense! Though I really loved it, there are some issues that you should be prepared for. There are a lot of new terms introduced, and very little explanation, but trying to use the word in the sentence doesn't always help, nor does the Kindle provide definitions. If you're reading the print version though, you might have an easier time because there are glossaries (one at the start, and one at the end, so there's plenty of definitions, lol, and they are very needed). This might be my biggest complaint, though as you can tell, it didn't stop me from loving this story at all.

There is also a lot of info-dumping, and it's so fast that it feels pretty awkward at times. For example, when I was only at 11% I had learned so much that I was getting a little confused. This is something I'm sure that as the author gets more experienced will become much better. All this aside, I was still able to become completely engrossed in this book, and still hate that it's over. For me, that will prove that the book is good, because I've been far less forgiving of these kinds of issues in other books. Make sense? I hope so.

The story is set in the future, the year 2056 to be exact, and in this world there has been an "epidemic" of clairvoyance! However, as you have probably guessed by the use of 'epidemic' the people who have these gifts are not embraced by the rest of the public. They are feared and treated like criminals, which funnily enough, leads them to become criminals as part of different syndicates.

Our protagonist, Paige, is pretty wonderful. She's tough, likeable, intense, and I love her. The gang that Paige belongs to is widely known to be one of the best, and has some of the best types of voyants to back up this fame. Paige herself is one of the rarest voyants who can actually see people's dreamscapes, and that is how she ends up captured and going through an intense adventure.

There is the very beginnings of a romance here, and one that I thought I would see coming, and then kept changing my mind about because Paige seemed to buck the cliches, but in the end, I'm glad it worked out how it did. Samantha Shannon can write tension like a pro, and even though it was barely more than a kiss, I was over the moon, and crushed at the same time. Well done Ms. Shannon, well done!

I think it unfair to put a comparison to J. K. Rowling on her shoulders, but Ms. Shannon is definitely an author I think will become a name in and of herself. She's one that I have on my radar and will follow this series with rabid fangirl need.

To attempt to surmise my point here, I would say that this is one of the series to watch, and I predict it will be huge! I recommend it to everyone who likes originality, strong heroines, scary villains, swoon-worthy/smexy/surprising love interests, and a story that won't let go.

Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
February 15, 2016
There’s a lot wrong with this book

I heard lots of praise about this book prior to reading it. It is supposed to be some kind of novel that is representative of female fantasy novelists, and the rising popularity of them. Apparently this novel is leading the charge for women writers claiming the fantasy genre. Well if that was true, which it isn’t, then this charge is a lost cause because this novel is incredibly average. Not to mention the fact that the actual forerunner of female fantasy writing has been writing books for over twenty years. By this I mean Robin Hobb. No doubt she is eternally indebted to Samantha Shannon for leading the charger for her. Whoever suggested such a thing was a complete moron.

Ignore the absurd label

It is an absolutely ridiculous label, so I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear about it that way I can review this sincerely, even if I didn’t like it very much. It is exciting in parts, but not very fulfilling overall. The novel begins with lots of awkward world building. The novelist throws a torrent of information about the world, the powers of the characters and the history of it at you in a horrible manner. She literally slams you with information before you’ve even began to picture the world it is set in. It bored me half to death an almost made me stop reading after a couple of chapters. However, I plodded on because the protagonist killed a couple of guards; this changed her life incredibly, which meant that the novel became marginally interesting.

The protagonist of the novel is called Paige Mahoney, a terrible name I know, she is thrown into a prison after killing the guards, but it is not an ordinary prison. It is a cell for those that have special powers; they are called the clairvoyant or voyants for short. The powers range from summoning poltergeists to being able to enter the Aether. I would explain to you what the Aether is, but I’m not entirely sure. There was some boring dictionary like explanation at the start of the book that I immediately forgot because it was so uninteresting. Later she realises that everything she thought she knew about the world is a lie, and it is in actual fact ruled by a race of humans called the Rheph.

Only one interesting character

This is where the novel redeems itself slightly. The voyants are taken under the wings of the Rheph to train them up in protecting the world against some mysterious entity that comes from the Aether that wishes to eat everybody (no joke). A Rheph called the Warden chooses Paige. He is a complex character that is clearly divided in his loyalties. He is in a difficult situation, which forces him to obey someone he hates. This gives him a dark brooding effect, which is quite compelling. He has an interesting history, and if he had some point of view chapters then the novel would have been a lot better. I do hope in later novel that he has some point of view chapters because the only point of view character at the moment is incredibly bland.

Paige is a very weak woman. Prior to being thrown into jail she was working for a crime syndicate that was blatantly exploiting her for her gifts. She is completely unaware to this obvious fact. Furthermore, when she is put in another situation that is similar to the first she almost develops a Stockholm syndrome effect. This was incredibly obvious that the novelist was going to go down this route, and I think it was an absolute terrible authorial decision to make.Moreover, a novelist who is supposed to be representative of female fantasy writers has written a terrible representation of women. She should have made her stronger. By doing this she has created a protagonist who seems to have only one redeemable quality, and that’s the power she is being used for. Indeed, she is flat, predictable and weak.

I will read the next book in the series for one reason: to find out what will happen to the Warden. However, the prospect of there being eight books in this series does not thrill me. If the next book is the same I will never read anything by this author again. Hopefully it will give me a reason to carry on reading the series because at the moment this book leaves me with few.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
760 reviews2,331 followers
March 5, 2021
“Run, little dreamer.”


The Bone Season is not an easy book to read.
It's definitely not one of those books you can read when you have some time to kill. When you start this, you have to forget about everything else, because Samantha Shannon is a all-or-nothing kind of author and she requires all your memory and effort.
Not gonna lie, up until the first half of this book (and a little after that, too), I couldn't really decide whether I liked it or not.
Like I said, it's full of terms and names that you never really get around to learn completely, and the lore is so intricate and complicated taking notes is not much of an exaggeration, but almost a necessity if you want to keep up. In fact, I found myself pretty confused by the plot and, although I really adore Paige and Warden as characters, I had the impression that some things about them, their interactions with each other and the situations they were thrown in, felt unnecessarily forced or made hard to comprehend.
An example of this is that, at first, the chapters felt too long and dragged on so much they bored me.
It took me a little to realise what I needed to fully appreciate this book was a different approach. I was too concentrated on understanding the lore, too focused on remembering who was who and who did what. Once I let go and simply started following my reader instinct and how the various words made me feel, I found out not only this book is a wild ride, but also an enjoyable one.
If, like me, you've liked Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, you'll find that The Bone Season relies on a very similar poeticalness. It's all about the feelings.
The second half of the book was much better thanks to the different perspective I allowed myself to use. It's also faster and action-packed, so it's almost impossible to get bored.
I would say Paige is a very complex character. She reminds me a lot of Katniss Everdeen (who I pretty much ADORE) and I'd even go as far as to say she's some sort of anti-heroine because her goals and desires often put her in a position that could easily brush edges with a grey area.

Overall, The Bone Season is a great first installment. It's dark, grimy, with an awesome world-building and a strong characterization of the various characters. Okay, it's kind of a lot to take in and the info-dumping can be too much to bare, but I agree with the majority when I say it's worth the effort.
I still think it's still very important to brace yourself before reading this huge job of a book and that you need to keep in mind that it all depends on how you get into it, but I'm glad I ended up liking it way more than I thought I did when I first started it.
Can't wait to see what's gonna happen next.



#PenguinOnATBRMission: book #1

this hashtag is something I self-indulgently created for fun when I decided to thin out my immense tbr list as a new years resolution starting from books I added on GR back in 2017/2018/2019, and since I can't seem to do anything quietly and I'm well known for being an overachiever, I had to go and turn it into an official thing. Feel free to check out the shelf with the same name if you don't mind keeping up with this insanely over-hyped adventure I got myself into. Take it as a chance to rediscover some books from a few years ago that might have accidentally flown under your radar, or to simply share with another fellow reader your very own reading experience. Happy reading and stay penguin-y!

To Be Continued...🐧
Profile Image for Nina.
755 reviews278 followers
January 28, 2018
This was a great book and I really, really enjoyed reading it. The world Samantha Shannon has created is a very interesting one and I loved how it was a little more complex than your usual YA fantasy world. Once I'd gotten into the book, it was a very gripping and quick read and I quickly became fond of most of the main characters.
So overall, this was a really enjoyable read but especially towards the end of the novel, many parts felt like they were just a mixture of popular other YA books like Divergent and The Hunger Games which annoyed me a little. Not because it stopped me from further enjoying the book, but because I had genuinely hoped this would be my first proper 5-star read of 2018.

So if it hadn't been for these similarities to other YA books in the end, I would've definitely given this book five stars. Now I'm giving it four stars and I'm excited for the next book in the series!
Profile Image for Christina.
262 reviews225 followers
March 20, 2017
Original Read: January 1st - January 8th, 2016
Re-read: March 1st - March 19th, 2017

My original rating and thoughts still stand. This book starts out slow and confusing, even after my 2nd time reading this, it's still a bit confusing. But I love the world that Shannon has built in this series and I'm so excited to get to The Song Rising to see what else she has in store for this series.

On to book 2....

Original Review:

4.5 Stars

**This will probably be long and confusing and kind of spoilery. Sorry!**

"September the first, 2059. Two hundred years since a storm of strange lights crossed the sky. Two hundred years since Lord Palmerston sealed his deal with the Rephaim. Two hundred years since the inquisition into clairvoyance began. And, most important, two hundred years since the establishment of Sheol 1, and the great tradition of the Bone Season."

In Scion London, all clairvoyance is prohibited. Paige Mahoney, since the age of 16, has been working in the criminal underworld of Scion London. She is a part of a gang of gifted voyants who call themselves the Seven Seals, headed by the White Binder, Jaxon Hall. Her job is to break into people's minds, keeping track of ethereal activity in their area. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant.
On the way to her father's house to spend the weekend with him, she is discovered during a security check and must fight her way out. She ends up killing an undergaurd with her power. Taking refuge at her fathers, she is found, drugged and kidnapped.

She awakens in a detainment facility in Sheol 1, formerly known as Oxford. Oxford's existence was disavowed by the goverment two centuries before, supposedly quarantined after an outbreak of fire. In fact, it was closed off and handed off to the Rephaim. They are an otherworldly race from a higher dimension called Netherworld. When the corporeal world becomes overpopulated with drifting spirits, they cause deep rifts in the aether (the spirit realm) When Earth broke it's threshold, it became exposed to Netherworld, allowing the Rephaim to come...but also allowing a different, parasitic race called the Emim to enter.
The Rephaim seek to control clairvoyants. In exchange for protection from the Emim, they train the clairvoyants to destroy the Emim. Sheol 1 acts as a beacon to the creatures, drawing them away from the rest of the corporeal world. This is offered as an alternative to punishment for clairvoyancy in Scion London. But the punishments are harsh for those who fail in their training or who simply don't wish to adapt to the system. The Rephaim see clairvoyants as a lesser race and those who are amaurotic (not clairvoyant) as nothing more than slaves.
Certain Rephaim offer their services as keepers and pick and choose which voyants to keep for training. Paige is chosen by the blood-consort, Arcturus Mesarthim, called Warden. But she's chosen for a very specific purpose, and there's more to Warden than first meets the eye. She wants nothing more than to regain her freedom.

This book was confusing! So very confusing in the beginning. It didn't help that I didn't discover the glossary at the back of the book until over 100 pages in. But after hearing from others how good it was after getting past that first bit, I stuck with it and I'm really happy that I did! I liked Paige a lot as a MC. She was strong and smart and it was easy to understand her emotions. I really like Warden! I liked discovering his motives and allegiances. This was overall a great read and I'm excited to see where the rest of this series goes!
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
May 19, 2016
Edit: So, it's only been a few days - I think just two days actually - and I can't stop thinking about this book. The characters. The world. So good. So damn good!


I went into this with no expectations at all and not knowing what it would be about, and I think that's definitely the best approach, and holy hell, I loved every minute of it! Books that I find difficult to put down or give me heart palpitations are always, of course, great and memorable reads for me.

Here's the thing: the ideas itself weren't necessarily unique. These tropes have been utilised before. But the execution is what made it original and engrossing for me.

I absolutely loved the world-building. It was my favourite part! I can see how at the beginning it may be confusing or considered 'info-dumping', but I personally didn't find that to be the case. Yes, I felt slightly lost at times, but as I read on, I was immediately pulled back in, things were clarified and the world started making more sense and the pieces came together beautifully. And in no way did it hinder my reading experience. Usually, with fantasy/dystopian novels, the world and the terminology can get a bit overwhelming, but the balance was perfect. The pacing was excellent as were the development of the characters. Shannon did an incredible job with all of those aspects for me.

I've no idea how the rest of the series is going to play out. Part of me is excited that it'll be a seven-book series, because I've no idea what to expect or what we're are in for and that alone is enough to make me giddy, but I'm also afraid that there might be lulls in the middle. Either way, this was a fantastic debut (at such as young age as well!!!) and is definitely a series I'm going to stick to.
Profile Image for Jack Truong.
Author 1 book9 followers
August 27, 2013
To say that this author is the next JK Rowling is like saying I'm the incarnation of Tolkien on steroid.

Brace yourself, this review is gonna be ugly. I wish the system had allowed me to rate a book lower than 1, because I don't simply 'not like it'. When I finished reading, I wonder if the people at Bloomsburry were on Floxy when they decided to publish this book. It is BORING. There is nothing new or ground-breaking here. It's just the same old ideas stuffed in a lackluster plot and contrived slang (which makes no sense by the way, I'll elaborate below)

-1 Star: info-dumping. Oh, dreaded info-dumping. Until now I still have no ideas how voyants power works or how different voyants works. I have to go through pages after pages after pages of nonsensical explanation and in the end nothing makes remote sense to me. Perhaps I'm to dumb to understand? I don't know. Brandon Sanderson's magic system is more interesting and much easier to understand.

-1 Star: stupid slang, unnecessary words. Excuse me, I'm NOT reading a textbook. I don't want to flip back and forth to the Glossary to understand what a certain word means while the author can totally use normal phrasing instead. Why call Earth 'meatspace'? why call guns irons'? why call money 'push'? Why the hell everything must be so freaking complicated?

-1 Star: flashback galore. Never since The Hunger Games that I want to throw a book into the wall that much. Note to aspiring authors: flashback serve NOTHING to push a plot forward. Unless you drop in some vital information that change the whole story Without it. In this book, flashback is intrusive and unnecessary.

-0.5 Star: poor prose. I've counted A LOT of italics and quite a few variation of "I have no choice, but...". Overall, I don't require anyone to write like Rachel Hartman. Not every author can be clever in writing. Fine, but again, back to the second point, everything is unnecessarily complicated by the sheer amount of slang which contribute nothing to the plot. In Harry Potter, I can totally immerse into JK Rowling's world because it is easy to understand. I understand British writing because I learn that in school. Stuffs like 'bloke', 'bloody hell' don't bother me. It bothers me when the author makes up words for no reason.

-1.5 Star: the next JK Rowling? Really? If they call this author the next Stephanie Meyers, I would be less offended. The plot is simplistic. I remember the first time I read Harry Potter and when I reached the end, I was blown away. I couldn't figure out the huge twist in the scene. I was amazed by how JK Rowling subtly dropped little hints here and there, then tie everything together. If you want to see the same thing in this book, you're sorely mistaken. The bad people are bad, the good people I can see miles away.

-1 Star: cliche galore: hmmm, a young girl with special power, a hot mysterious guy a few hundred years old and sucking blood, a love triangle with another hot guy. Where did I see that before?

-1 Star: calling this sci-fi is shaming the whole genre. There is ZERO science in here. We have a little glimpse of the future and that's it. This is exactly the same problem I have with YA sci-fi in the recent years. The authors invest no time in creating a world of tomorrow. Because it requires them to do ACTUAL research.

Overall: yes, it is a negative score but I can't rate it lower than 1 star, which is very very generous to this book. I do give new authors a chance but not to anyone who waste my time with a 500 pages book claiming to be the next JK Rowling. This book ISN'T. When you raise my expectation, you better fulfill it. If you just say this book is another YA paranormal, maybe I'll give a 3 for effort because it's not the worst.

Sorry, no, I'll never spend more time on this author because I see no hope in her style and the mind-boggling amount of info-dump. It's Christopher Paolini all over again. Praise young authors to heaven and they will think they can write like Tolkien.

Long story short: I probably won't touch any book in this series and from this author. 5 Days of hell is enough.
Profile Image for Nanna.
252 reviews132 followers
July 7, 2016

WHAT A BOOK! ah, I still can't believe that something this awesome had escaped my knowledge!

this book is amazing and I am so jealous of the world that Shannon has created! truly, truly a masterpiece.

if you're a fan of awesome fantasies & glorious world building then this is the book for you!

seriously, read this book!

it's a bit hard to start but after 50 pages, you get it. and I would recommend listening to the audiobook because there were so many words that I would have mispronounced. like LOADS OF WORDS LOL so the audiobook was a big help to get all of the new words right.

I can't wait to read the sequel! I need more of Warden & Paige & Nick & Jaxon! (but mostly Warden ha ha ha)

A quick review:
Because while it's amazing, this novel is also *detailed* and has a lot of world building.
Set in 2059, Scion London has separated humans into Amaurotics (normal humans) and Clairvoyants (those with gifts). This separation has caused Clairvoyants to be outcasts, so in order to survive Paige Mahoney works for Jaxon Hall, a criminal Mime Lord and leader of the Seven Dials. Paige is a "Dreamwalker", a rare and and she uses her ability to break into minds.

Until one day, she is found by Scion and caught. Taken to live in Sheol 1 where Clairvoyants are under the control of Rephaim (a new race that has come to Earth), Paige must find a way back to her life and the Seven Dials.
Profile Image for Renu (The Page Turner).
89 reviews120 followers
December 23, 2015
The Bone Season is a highly original and engaging read.

The Bone Season has been classed as an ‘Adult’ book by the publisher, but it definitely has crossover appeal. It features characters that are 18+, touches on adult themes, and contains curse words (not much.) As someone who is over the age of 18 I would love to see more books like this, as it offers the best of both worlds – not YA, but not quite adult either. When I first heard the term 'New Adult' this is what I thought it would be. I was hoping that it would cover a wide range of genres, not just contemporary as it does now.

There have been articles floating around the internet saying that Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling, and this of course is a lot of pressure to put on an author. To me, The Bone Season is stylistically very different to Harry Potter. I think that it's best to go into it without the comparison in mind, because in my opinion it’s amazing in its own right. The only similarity I found between the two is the book deal: 7 fantasy books to be published by Bloomsbury.

Before I start gushing about what I loved about The Bone Season, I must admit that I had some issues with the opening of the book. There is quite a bit of info-dumping, so many new terms were thrown in without explanation that at times it felt a bit awkward. However, once my initial confusion had somewhat lessened I could not put the book down. In all honestly the info-dumping didn't take away from my reading experience, I was still able to enjoy and appreciate the world Shannon had created, because info-dumping aside the world building was very thorough.

The amount of imagination and detail that has gone into the world building is stunning. This is a book that I think will require patience from the reader, because it takes a while to grasp some of the ideas, and just when you think you've grasped them something new is thrown in. However, when everything does eventually fall into place the complexity of it all will just blow you away.

The story is set in London, 2059. In this world there are two types of people: Clairvoyants and Amaurotics. Clairvoyants have been out-casted by society. They are treated like criminals, and this ironically enough has forced them to join the criminal underworld of Scion London. Paige Mahoney is a part of a syndicate known as the Seven Seals. She works for Jaxon Hall, a notorious mime-lord who uses her to scout for information by breaking into others’ minds. Being an unusual type of voyant, a dreamwalker, means that she commits treason just by breathing. So far, though, she has stayed hidden under the radar. That is until one fatal day she is forced to use her abilities to get out of a life threatening situation and is discovered by the Scion. Chased down and thrown into Sheol 1, a prison of sorts run by a race known as the Rephaim, Paige is determined to escape.

Paige was a likable protagonist, strong and intelligent she adapted quickly to new situations. Warden was an equally intriguing character; it was interesting getting to know him as the story progressed. I didn't know if there was going to be a romance, and was surprised towards the end when the inkling of one began to form. Shannon does a brilliant job of straying away from the usual clichés as the relationship between Warden and Paige is one that develops at a slow and natural pace. There was a build up of trust, respect, and friendship before the romance and I appreciated that. Another thing that the author excels at is creating tension, the chemistry, although subtle, had me glued to my Kindle.

The Bone Season is the kind of book that will stay with you long after you've finished reading it. Quite simply it is a riveting story, with complex characters and a richly crafted world.

This review also appears on my blog, The Page Turner.
April 8, 2023

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THE BONE SEASON is probably the best example of why it is such a bad idea to brand books as "the next (insert popular title or author here)": expectations. When you compare a debut novel or author to an established work, it really isn't fair. That established work already has already proved its worth to its fans; they've read and liked the story, and developed an emotional connection to it. Making comparisons like "the next J.K. Rowling" is basically asking Potter fans, many of whom have grown up with the series from childhood, to embrace this new author with the same fervor before she's even really had a chance to prove her worth. Shannon actually had a great response to this comparison: "we don't need a 'new J.K.' because she is still writing and still amazing." Even she seems to realize that the comparison isn't really adequate or fair.

That said, THE BONE SEASON - when it's allowed to stand on its own merit, in its own category - is actually a pretty decent book. I'm not going to lie, seeing many of my trusted reviewers slam this weighty tome made it a sight less appealing, but I like to experience things myself before making up my mind, so I decided to give the book a try anyway. The premise is confusing. It's set in future dystopian London. Alternate universe future dystopian London, because in this world, there are psychics (called "Voyants" or "Unnaturals") and an evil government called Scion. Basically, Voyants are hunted down and executed by Scions, unless they're employed by the government and then they're kept on for thirty years, whereupon they "retire" upon completing their contract (a.k.a. murdered). Our protagonist, Paige Mahoney, is a refugee from Ireland and is the most powerful class of psychic: a dreamwalker, or someone who can supposedly invade and possess people's minds.

One day, Paige is captured and she finds out the truth of who - or what - is really behind the inception of their oppressive Scion government. A powerful and immortal race of (alien?) beings called the Rephaim. They come from the same place where psychics draw their powers from: the aether (which I kind of imagined as looking like the Lifestream from Final Fantasy VII). Paige is kept in one of their prisons, along with a bunch of other psychics, where they are tried and trained Hunger Games/Vampire Academy style, and their achievements place them on a hierarchy. They are being trained to fight flesh-eating (zombie?) monsters called Emim (or "Buzzers"). Paige's trainer/master is a Rephaim called Arcturus (or "the Warden" or "Blood-consort"), the fiance of the Rephaim's evil queen, Nashira Sargas. He's quiet and mysterious and seems slightly less evil than the other Rephaim, but he's still obviously hiding something and isn't above reminding Paige of their relationship.

I'm going to interject here, and say that one of the biggest deterrents to this book is the world-building. It's original, and once it gets rolling, I was able to appreciate all the effort that went into the story, but the first couple chapters are literally non-stop info-dumps and expositional scenes and dialogue. Everything in here has a name (sometimes multiple names for the same thing), which is possibly what drew the Rowling comparisons, but in Rowling's book, the reader is gradually introduced into the Wizarding World, whereas in THE BONE SEASON, we're not introduced so much as thrown into it headlong without so much as a life preserver to keep us afloat. It really takes a lot of leg work to keep everything straight and many readers don't want to work to enjoy a story.

I did love the writing, though. I was really impressed by the quality of the prose; when it wasn't bogged down by clunky expositions, the writing was beautiful. Once I got to about page 150, I couldn't put the book down. There are elements of many different books in here, which I think has a lot of potential for cross-over appeal. Parts of the book reminded me of Stephenie Meyer's HOST (aliens taking over humanity for their own purposes, a romance between a sympathetic alien and a human); parts of the book reminded me of R. Lee Smith's SCHOLOMANCE (an evil school for developing magic with morally ambiguous teachers and students); parts of the book reminded me of Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT (an alternate universe dystopian set in just one city, leaving you to wonder what happened to the rest of the world); and parts of the book reminded me of THE HUNGER GAMES (cruel and unusual competitions for the benefit of a sinister government). Any of these books would have been far better comparisons, although none of them quite hit the mark, either. It's far better to let a book speak for itself, and quietly achieve success on its own merit. You're less likely to be disappointed that way. Reading this with no expectations certainly heightened my experience.

Also, there's a slow-burn romance for those of you who like that sort of thing. ;)

4 stars!
Profile Image for Jessica.
260 reviews3,561 followers
March 10, 2018
WOW. So happy I finally picked up this book! It's sat on my shelf for a couple of years and I wish I'd read it sooner!

I read this in 2 days. If that doesn't show how much I enjoyed it...

Being book one of a fantasy series (with lots of hard to pronounce names) it took me a little while to feel like I understood what was really happening. There were also a few parts where info was dumped pretty heavily, but it wasn't too bad. I'm really intrigued by this new world and I don't feel like I've ever read anything quite like this. I quickly loved it and can't wait to see where the series goes from here!

Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
March 18, 2017
Paige is an unnatural who works for one of the mimelords in the future where London is plagued with people who can hear, speak and converse with spirits. She is different from the rest and having that ability makes her valuable enough to be kidnapped. Her captors take her to a place where she didn't know existed and there she will find a world that she never knew existed.

I don't even know how I was going to write this review, but alas it was easier than I thought it would be. I found it refreshing there was a mix mash of creatures from a mix of paranormal genres, even throwing in angels, vampires and even some mythological references. It might have been a complicated and disorganized world, but I enjoyed it all at the same time.

This world is so unique and so very vast. So many words and key phrases to keep up your head spinning. Vast complex but wonderfully woven world filled with spirits, creatures with vampire-like tendencies, angels, and mere mortals, this future put me on a mind bending journey all set in a future dystopian society. I find it incredibly disturbing voyants grab spirits in a bundle (a spool) and use them as their own power shot. The book tries to be all genres at once and it's completely confusing. But at the same time, it's refreshing because I enjoyed it all. I didn't enjoy the disjointed back and forth of her present life and her past dreams. It didn't make any sense until the ending and I wish it was fully structured more. The characters were just as colourful and had very distinct personalities even though it wasn't wholly original with its "Chosen One" storyline. Though, I have to admit Warden was a great love interest, I found him to be completely compelling and their relationship was a slow and intense build which I loved to see.

Overall, a series that I'm sure will get anyone addicted to its pages.
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