Monday, August 3, 2015

The Bone Season » Review

What an odd book! When trying to decide on a rating for The Bone Season, I was waffling between three and four stars. My reasoning for three stars was that, while this book is a fantasy of sorts, it was also unrelentingly weird, and I never really felt like I believed it all. What settled me on four stars, however, is the feeling that a lower rating would be doing the book a disservice, because The Bone Season really is an accomplishment.

I'm not even going to try to explain the plot of The Bone Season. Just know that it involves special powers, an oppressive and discriminatory government, underground crime syndicates, a powerful, humanoid species, and a prison camp/city. It's all slightly baffling, which is, in my opinion, the main weakness of the novel. It was so much to take in. Granted, I'm not sure how the author could have presented her world to us in any other way. All I can say is, I frequently found it overwhelming.

Now for the praise. The creative bravery of Samantha Shannon is something to be applauded. Despite the fact that the world ofThe Bone Season did my head in at times, it was also nice to read something so different from what's usually presented in urban fantasy genre. In fact, I hesitate to call this series true urban fantasy since that genre has become so distinct — read trope ridden — of late. The quality of writing that we see in The Bone Season was also at a higher level than what we typically see in urban fantasy of late. There were slip ups throughout the novel, but for the most part, I was impressed by the solid prose.

Our main character, Paige, is compelling as well. She's 19 during the events of the book, but comes across as much older. She's a quiet, self-possessed young woman, although she's still trying to find herself. Shannon also strikes a great balance between making Paige be special and stand out from the crowd, without turning the character into a reprehensibly superior life form.

Speaking of superior life forms, there is the Warden, who is the second most prominent character in The Bone Season. For him, I really think we need more books to develop him further. He's depicted, throughout the novel, as both a cold, empty shell and as someone with unusual motives that go against the tide of his species. He was a little all over the place, but he was, nonetheless, a commanding presence. I do look forward to see where Shannon takes him during her 7-book series arc.

All in all, there were plenty of bones to pick with this novel, but I couldn't help being impressed despite it all. I'm truly looking forward to following this immense, new series.

1 comment:

  1. Really tough to explain the madness of this book, but I loved it just the same.