The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

September 23, 2013

The Bone Season is Samantha Shannon’s debut dystopian novel and tells the story of clairvoyant Paige and her experiences as a prisoner of the alien Rephaim.

I actually found this review quite difficult to write.  It has been rescheduled time and time again.  This is because, although I have read The Bone Season I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about it.  It probably didn’t help that the hype machine was in full flow for this novel claiming that Shannon was the next J.K. Rowling.  That set an impossibly high bar for the novel.

What I liked

The unique world building.  The world of The Bone Season feels fresh and unique.  There are layers within layers.  The novel starts in a dystopian future version of London in which clairvoyance is illegal.  This society is nicely described, but then we get another layer of the world of the Rephaim and Emim.

The relationship between Paige and Warden.  It was pretty clear that Shannon was setting up a romantic relationship between Paige and her keeper, Warden.  Initially I was very resistant to that;  it seemed such an imbalanced relationship with Warden’s having the power of life and death over Paige.  Shannon did well though to even the balance between the two.  The development of their feelings for each other were developed slowly and realistically.

Action packed finale.  Not a particularly slowly paced book, the whole last section is just one whole rollercoaster ride.

The narration.  First time narrator Alana Kerr takes on narration duties for The Bone Season and did an excellent job.  I will certainly keep an eye out for other novels narrated by her.

Here’s a sample


What I didn’t like

Lots of jargon.  There is a whole vocabulary associated with the world Shannon has created.  Our protagonist has grown up in that world and with that vocabulary, so it wasn’t always explained as clearly as I would have liked, which rather jolted me out of the story.

While I can’t say the book bowled me over, I did feel it was well written, and I will probably check out the sequel when it’s released.

I gave The Bone Season four stars out of five

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