Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

February 13, 2015 1 star, Book Review, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thuy, Young Adult 2

TheBoneSeason-SamanthaShannonTitle: The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
Author: Samantha Shannon
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Find It: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, Book Depository
Source: Purchased
Rating: 1 star – zzz…

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 and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

I have so many mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, at the core of it, I think that there are some interesting ideas and the seeds of what could be a really fun world. On the other hand, the execution of this novel left a lot to be desired. There is little world building despite the fact that the book is set in a very different world than ours. Instead of slowly introducing the reader to the history and nuances of this new world in engaging and subtle way, the author crams hundreds of years of history into large sections of info dumping. We barely begin to get to know one world when Paige is suddenly taken away to a completely new world. The excessive use of nicknames and slang was also confusing. There is an extensive glossary at the back of the book to help with this but it makes it hard to read a book when you have to look up a word every few sentences.

Paige herself is not a very likable character. She makes a lot of dumb decisions and almost gets herself killed several times. Warden was the most compelling character for me. There’s obviously more to him than what he appears to be. I only wish that the author had given us more of a glimpse into his life and what his motives might be. Also, as a fan of love/hate relationships, I did enjoy the interactions between Paige and Warden.

The plot was pretty predictable. It was not hard to see where the story was going and how it would end. I just found out that this is going to be a 7 book series, which is astounding to me. I just can’t imagine how this story could go on for 6 more books. Like I said, I think the book has some ideas and it could have been a good book. As is though, the writing was choppy and there was little character development. It almost seems like the author had a check list of things to have in a hit series and ticked them off as she was writing them. Rebellious teen heroine who is more than she seems? Check. Repressed minority? Check. Big Brother type government? Check. Aliens? Check. Vampires? Check. Zombies? Check. Forbidden romance? Check. Rebellion? Check. Cliffhanger ending? Check. While those elements all may add up to a good book, you also need great characters and character development, solid world building and a well paced plot, which were not present in this book. I also felt like the book had too many elements going on and I had trouble fully immersing myself in the world.

I am really not sure what I am missing here as this book, for the most part, has really good reviews. The Bone Season feels like a first draft novel, not a finished one. If you’re looking for a good YA fantasy, there are plenty out there that do it better.



  • Anya E. J.

    Yes, thank you! I was also pretty bored by Bone Season and felt that too many ideas were shoved together. Also that romance just grossed me out…

    • I really wanted to like it Anya, but it was just all over the place. Oh well. I know other people loved it.