Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Book Review: The Bone Season, Book 1 by Samantha Shannon *Spoiler Free*

Rating: 3/5

Categorization: Paranormal, Scifi, Alternate Reality

Length: 452 pages

Plans to Continue: Maybe

What this Story has to Offer You

Psychic Abilities
Detailed Worldbuilding
An Oppressive Regime
Extremely Stratified Society
Reptilian Entities
A Military-esy Prision Academy
Very Serious Female Protagonist
Romancing the Enemy

Set in a futuristic London, which feels very much like an alternate reality, Nineteen year old Paige is a 'Dreamwalker' in a city in which possessing psychic abilities is illegal. She is a member of an underground gang, daughter of an official engineer, and just coming of age. Unfortunately, she gets caught, and taken away to a secret base on the grounds of Oxford where inter-dimensional beings called the Rephaite are both feeding off of, and training, the psychic prisoners.

There is more going on in this world than Paige could have ever imagined...

This series reminded me of the miniseries Alice (2009) in which an adult, Alice Hamilton, falls into a Scifi-esq Wonderland by way of Looking Glass. Both Paige and that Alice are slightly dry, serious, female protagonists who end up in very political, and rigidly stratified, Scifi societies. And both of them have to save the day.

The world in this novel is very comprehensive. It feels complete and believable, with a rich history and detailed subcultures. However, this is achieved as the expense of pacing, with large paragraphs of descriptive prose.

I also felt it was a bit slow to start. I believe the reason for this was because it took quite some time for Paige to make connections with other characters (not counting the flashbacks). For the first third of the novel Paige is essentially an island. We get her perceptions and her thoughts, but her interactions with others are superficial and the dialogue was brief. I was a tad bored, but still curious enough to continue reading.

Another thought I had while reading this story was that sometimes the lens was focused on topics that I cared nothing about.

Details and backstory were given in great length for a whole bunch of stuff, but it was often provided for aspects of the story that I did not find myself caring much about. The opposite was also true, because then there were times when something would be happening in the present, and it would pass by too quickly, leaving me wishing I had more detail.

Personally, I wanted to read this book because of the incorporation of the new age-y, metaphysical, quantum, para-psychological (whatever you want to call it!) concepts into the storytelling and world building. Overall I thought these topics were utilized well.

I enjoyed the story much more once Paige makes the connection to Warden. Even without the romance, which is small in scope, their sharing of ideas and hopes was wonderful.

The action picks up in the last third of the book and leaves off in a position which feels wrapped up, but also has you wanting book two.