Thoughts on The Bone Season

I finished The Bone Season last night and wanted to share a few thoughts.

Samantha Shannon’s debut novel introduces readers to a world where ghosts are around us and some people called clairvoyants have abilities to communicate, manipulate and use spirits as weapons.

The Bone SeasonShannon’s alternate history novel opens in 2059 London where a new form of government, Scion, has taken over England with a promise to protect non-clairvoyants, or amaurotics, from clairvoyants they call un-naturals. The first-person protagonist 19-year-old Paige Mahoney finds work  and safe haven with the underground voyant syndicate.

The world is expansive. I found myself flipping to the in-book guide to recall what was what. On the front is a hierarchy chart of the different types of voyants, which each have different powers like Soothsayers, Mediums, Sensors, Augers, Guardians, Furies, and Jumpers; stemming from those are even more specific types of clairvoyants like seers, trance mediums, restive mediums, sniffers, gustants, polyglots, vile augurs, binders, summoners, exorcist, necromancer, sibyls, berserkers, dreamwalkers and oracles.

On the back is a glossary of terms that I would use like a dictionary if I could not remember what a molliser, tasser or gallipot. It was fun exploring the world, but just as I finally understood the Paige’s world the story was over.

Out of about 450 pages, Shannon was still explaining until the very last chapters. Readers are dropped into this world and the first third of the story is exciting, confusing and refreshing, but around the mid-point concepts are still being explained and a hidden world explored. The exposition is woven into the plot, but it noticeably slows things down as Paige has to remind herself and the reader about her’s and Scion London’s history. Shannon finds a way to explain the history lesson, which was nice, but it’s obviously to introduce readers to the series.

This is definitely only an introduction as the publisher plans to continue the seven-part series.

Aside from the unique slang, Shannon’s writing flows through the pages and carries the weight of the exposition.

The book features a parade of characters, but I never felt for one. Even Paige didn’t win me over by the final page.

What was pleasantly surprising was the detail to all the individual clairvoyant powers and how spirits are categorized and used in this universe. While some clairvoyants can speak to spirits, some can see the future and Paige can remove her spirit from her body.

Then there’s the spirit combat that’s fast-paced and intense. Clairvoyants use spirits and sling them at foes like a blast from a wand or a projectile blast. I can’t wait to see how it’s done on the big screen, did I mention that there’s already talks of a movie?

There isn’t a release date for the sequel, but I can wait a year or two.

Did you read The Bone Season? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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