Please be aware that this review contains some spoilers. Do not continue reading unless you are fine with being spoiled.
I put off reading The Bone Season for so long because a) I had no idea what it was about and b) it’s enormous. I DID know that it was set in England, so I was determined to finish it before my trip to the U.K. next month.
As it turns out, there’s a very good reason for this book to be so fat. The world Samantha Shannon has created is the most complex thing I’ve read in quite a while.
This book is an interesting mix of dystopian future, tempting fantasy and historical fiction. And in-between all that are the many, many classes and types of clairvoyants that exist in Scion London.
I’ve seen many people complain about the Victorian-era slang that’s sprinkled through this book, but I very rarely had to check meanings against the glossary. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve read some historical fiction before, or because my grandpa has been using some of the less obscure phrases throughout my life.
What I did find confusing was the insane amount of clairvoyants. Not that there were so many (that seemed plausible enough) but that they all had these complicated names to keep track of.
I started out with the audiobook of The Bone Season, borrowed from my library, and had to switch to my paperback about an hour and a half in because I just could not picture what the heck was going on. As soon as I could see the names spelt out, it became a lot easier to extrapolate meaning from the root word.
The world was rich enough to distract me from the fact that I didn’t really feel like I knew the main character, Paige Mahoney. She’s an interesting character—incredibly active and relatively efficient when she sets her mind to something. But did I feel an emotional connection to her? Not really.
Here come some explicit spoilers, so look away if you don’t want to know.
I’ve heard enough whispers about this book to know that a romance would blossom between Paige and Warden, and I was waiting to get excited about it.
I didn’t. I really, really wanted to but I wasn’t devastated when they were separated or waiting on tenterhooks for them to kiss. I like their journey. I like their stories. But I’m not attached to them as people.
I’m hoping that this will change over the course of the books because I love character-driven narratives, but The Bone Season’s plot and world is strong enough to sustain the story until that happens.