Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: August 20, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Dystopian
Series: Yes - First of seven!
Source: Library
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.
What an absolutely gripping book. Paige is a great heroine. She's courageous - sometimes to a fault - and she's smart, and loyal - mostly. She fights hard to free the clairvoyants, and she winds up leading the revolution. I found it a little odd that she fights so hard to get out of Oxford and back to the citadel when she's confronted with so many new horrifying revelations about what's really going on, when she knows that there's so much more that she doesn't understand, that the Rephaim have plans that reach down back centuries and forward to the end of the world, but she doesn't really try to figure out what the Rephaim are really all about. But at the same time, I love that. Because instead of the typical heroine, who is full of self-sacrifice in order to save humanity, Paige just desperately wants the chance to live as normal a life as possible, to get back to the world she knows, even if she now knows it's nothing like what she thought it was. By the end of the book, though, she's turned around and though she doesn't uncover anything really revealing in this book, I'm sure she's going to start uncovering things in the next book. (And if not, there are six more books for her to do that!) Even though the mysteries stay hidden, this book is far from slow-paced. Things happen one after the next, people and Rephaim seem one thing and on the next page seem the other, traitors and misplaced loyalties abound. 

And the secondary characters are so so good. Lissa and Seb especially stole my heart, and I cried when Seb died, even though I barely knew him at that point. And when he comes up again later, I cried buckets. I think it's because I felt everything through Paige, and she feels so strongly about everything. She's always passionate in whatever emotion she feels - passionate hate, passionate love, passionate fear, passionate sorrow. It makes her reckless, but since she somehow manages to get out of (almost) every scrape, her blazing passion propels her forward to every next step, and her passion for the others in the prison, especially the amaurotics and harlies, makes me love her as fiercely as she loves them.

Paige's group from back in the citadel is satisfyingly hard to pin down. They're her family, but she doesn't particularly like all of them. I loved seeing her unrequited feelings for Nick, though, because it gives her that vulnerability she seems not to have. And then there's her relationship with Warden. As maddeningly confusing as Warden is himself, and completely unsatisfying in how it's left at the end of the book. Which of course means that aside from wanting the next book for the secrets it will reveal, I want to know what happens to Warden, and what happens to Warden and Paige.

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