Categorization: Paranormal, Gang Drama
Length: 510 pages
Plan to Continue: Maybe
This book suffered from 'second book syndrome'. The Bone Season left off on such a high note of excitement and left me with so many hopes that I wanted to see fulfilled immediately in the second book, but instead, what I got was a largely boring book which spends the entire time setting the scene for whats to come later in the series...at least I think that's what it was doing.
Rather than expanding the world Paige discovered in the first book, this one returns to the world which she left behind, the Underground. We learn about the gangs which run in it, but unless you are going into this read as a fan of that sort of story, it will feel slightly disappointing.
There's thieving, and beatings, murder and meetings. Pickpockets and poor starving street urchins. Gang leaders with their heads up their asses, henchmen always looking for a fight. And intimidation everywhere...I guess. Oh and at some point, they manage to write a story.
The exploration of this subculture seems like it was a waste. The underground does not sound like a world worth saving. Of everything that happens, little of it felt like it was building up to the ending, and honestly, that ending could have occurred at any point and given me the same reading experience.
If I had to make a guess, I would suspect that Shannon set this world up so she can pull a Pirates of the Carribbean At World's End moment, where all the formerly adversarial Pirates band together to take on the British, but since I was not made to care about these gangs or their way of life, I cannot imagine that actually working.
Just like I felt while reading the first book, Samantha Shannon and myself appear to be interested in different details of this world. I keep finding myself being more interested in the parts of this story that have been side-lined.
Overall, this read felt incomplete to me. I assume that all which occurred during the book will carry more weight when brought up in the context of later books, but while reading, I felt as if I was being left out. Seriously, a lot does happen, and it is extremely immersive, but at the end I felt like none of it actually mattered, and that the book could have been much shorter.
Compared with the first book, there were plenty more characters who Paige interacts with in a meaningful way, but unfortunately, I did not care for many of them. Especially Jaxon Hall, whose manner of speech I could not tolerate by the half way point. Was he supposed to come off as a whiny brat with a flair for drama? Because that's how I received him. I did not fear him at all, he just infuriated me.
The thing that saved the first book for me was the pairing of Paige together with Warden, and what they achieve together, but that could not be enjoyed again in the second book, because for nearly all of it, Paige and Warden are not together.