Author: Samantha Shannon
Narrator: Alana Kerr
Released: August 20th 2013
Publisher: Audible for Bloomsbury
Lenght: 14 hrs and 57 mins
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It 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.
Intricate and richly imaginative, The Bone Season is a book that clearly stands out, one of the very few titles completely worthy of the hype. Rarely do I get so utterly swallowed by a book, living and breathing along with its characters, but Samantha Shannon’s debut held me prisoner for days. Though admittedly willing, I was no less a captive than Paige Mahoney was in Sheol 1.
And what a horrible place Sheol 1 is. Shiny on the outside, rotten on the inside, based on slavery and lead by the vicious Rephaim, it is a prison for voyants and unlucky humans alike. Paige is brought to Sheol from Scion London for killing a man by using her powers. She is immediately chosen by Arctrurus, Warden of the Mesarthim and the blood sovereign’s fiancée and taken to his tower for training.
Paige and Warden start as enemies: he her master and she his furious slave. She hates him, there is no doubt about it, even though it’s often obvious that he goes out of his way to protect her from his fiancée Nashira Sargas, the blood sovereign. Slowly, gradually, and above all realistically, their relationship changes from outright hatred to something akin to respect, closely followed by affection and attraction. It’s one step forward, three steps back for Paige and Warden, every ounce of trust has to be earned over and over, but to lose it is as easy as breathing.
He and I were natural enemies; there was no use pretending otherwise. And yet he had observed so much about me: the way I held myself, my tension, my vigilance. Jax was always telling me to loosen up, to let myself float. But that didn’t mean I could trust the man who kept me locked in this cold dark room.
The social structure, both in Scion London and especially in Sheol 1 is extremely well thought-out. Samantha Shannon thought of everything and she created a realistically structured society, based on fear and mistrust, as these things usually are. Shannon’s writing is well-measured and elegant, each word carefully chosen and each sentence a beauty to behold. I find it almost astonishing that this is her debut novel. With her prose, she shows a level of maturity many seasoned authors can only dream about. Even though The Bone Season is set in the future, her writing has that easy grace I associate with older, classical authors.
With her superb narration, Alana Kerr turned The Bone Season into what is surely one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. Her calm, steady voice gave Sheol 1 a three-dimensional quality and personality to its inhabitants. Through her interpretation, Paige Mahoney became more than just a character on page, she turned into a strong young woman, brave but slightly detached, and it’s because of this detachment that her emotional moments came across more strongly, making me shed silent tears while witnessing her heartbreak.
The second book has no description, cover, or even title, but I’m ready to sell a piece of my soul to get it regardless. Paige and Warden have a long and presumably dark journey ahead of them. I look forward to it more than I can say.