Book Review: THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon

The bone season.png
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Series: Yes - book 1


the bone season.jpg

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Going into this review, I don’t know what star rating to give this book (the rating at the top was added once the review was finished). This book was engaging and fun, but a little confusing.

The story, and mysteries woven into it, were engaging, drawing me in. I eagerly turned the pages to find out more and discover if Paige survived. The stakes were high, and there were twists aplenty, not to mention an engaging world. The world felt a little old-fashioned, despite technology like phones, but I liked the aesthetic it created.

I’m a Londonner, and I grew a bit south of Covent Garden, so I was aware of some of the slang used. Others caught me a little by surprise (the world-specific ones in particular). After a few chapters, I flicked to the back and read the glossary so I wouldn’t be confused. I don’t like having to do this, because it feels a little like the author cheated when I can’t work out words from the context.

However, the slang of the Mime-world feels like it’s derived from Cockney Rhyming slang – and that is not a dialect you can work out from context. Once I’d read the glossary, I had no slang-comprehension issues.

The slang adds another layer of authenticity, and depth to the world. Cockney rhyming slang originated as a way to talk without the law understanding them in the London East End (of which Seven Dials/Covent Garden is part). I loved the implication that the Mime-slang was simply an evolution of Cockney Rhyming Slang when the clairvoyants were forced underground.

The magic system was different, but not particularly clear. I wasn’t sure what the extents of the clairvoyant’s powers. It made the threats a little more vague, as I didn’t understand exactly why people wanted to ‘possess’ certain ability. This undercut the tension at times. Part of the the story is about Paige delving into her magic, so that illuminates the matter a little.

The romance was a little unfathomable. Warden/Arcturus is a cold-hearted, alien who is part of the organisation holding Paige captive. She is literally his slave despite their agreement to be ‘mentor and mentee’. It’s an illusion, as she isn’t free (and teacher-student relationships aren’t good either). And then, suddenly, they were in love?

Overall, I think this is a 3.5 star book, and I’m interested in reading the next book.

Read my reviews of other books by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (this series):

The Roots of Chaos:

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