Editor reviews

Editors Select, August 2013 - 21-year-old British author Samantha Shannon has been generating a lot of buzz for her debut novel The Bone Season, Book 1 in a projected seven book series. Not surprisingly, a lot of comparisons are already being drawn between Shannon and a certain other British author of a seven book series – J.K. Rowling. Shannon, however, deserves recognition in her own right for creating a fresh, unique world that is simultaneously fascinating and intimidating. The year is 2059, and Paige Mahoney is a clairvoyant living in dystopian London. After unintentionally using her rare gift to commit murder, she is kidnapped by the Rephaim, an otherworldly race who have been secretly controlling the government for two centuries. Much like Paige, I found myself unable to escape the reality of the book – I simply could not put it down. Shannon’s epic debut – complete with suspense, paranormal gifts, rebellion, and even a little romance – already has me anxiously awaiting Book 2. In the meantime, I can’t wait to dive back into her world and experience The Bone Season in audio. —Katie, Audible Editor
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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 forever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford - a city kept secret for 200 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.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.
©2013 Samantha Shannon-Jones (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Colette on 30-08-13

Expected more

I'd been reading previews of The Bone Season for months and was really looking forward to it so I was delighted when it appeared on Audible so quickly. Maybe my expectations were raised too much but it took me quite some time to get in to the story. I very nearly returned it after the first 15 mins because I just don't like the narrator. Her voice is very expressionless and dull and really annoyed me. I persevered and slowly the story began to draw me in. In a new series when the world in which it is based is being established, I expect some level of detail while the basics are set out. In this book, there was just too much detail too early at the expense of the story. For me it didn't really begin to gather momentum until about half way through.

I've finally reached the end now and on balance I would say I enjoyed it and will read the next in the series when it comes out. I won't be listening to it though because I just can't bring myself to go through the ordeal of the narrator again.

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30 of 30 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By W. Taylor on 01-02-14

Don't buy audio, buy the book

I am sorry to pick on the narrator, but I feel obliged to warn anybody considering buying this audio book. This is the singularly worst narrated audio book which I have ever purchased. The narration is eye-stabbingly tedious with a constant monotonous tone which does not vary at any point to convey meaning, emotion or change of speaking character which meant that during exchanges between characters it was a real effort to keep track of who was speaking at any specific moment.

Whoever was on the publisher's team must not have monitored the narration at any point as the awfulness of this product would have been apparent within a minute. I am tempted to return this purchase just in the hope that the number of returns is reported to the publisher, however, they clearly do not care about their audio customers anyway, so it is probably pointless.

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40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Steph on 05-09-13

Fabulous but mismarketed - its not Harry Potter

This is a dark but good book. I'm impressed at Samantha Shannon's talent as a debut author. I have read reviews that state that this is the next Harry Potter and it is to be a 7 book series. I've also read reviews that say it is overhyped and for teenagers. I wasn't aware of the hype when I read it, but I will say that if I expected it to be the next Harry Potter I would have been disappointed for a couple of reasons. One it is not for children nor about children. The only similarity I see is that is takes place in an alternative London with a magic system and it will be a seven book series. I believe it is unfair to the book and to Samantha Shannon to set that expectation.

I mentioned this is not a children's book. This is about a 19 year old clarvoyant who works for a criminal underground syndicate. Clairvoyance is unnatural and those with the various abilities are hunted and arrested. There are many twists and turns as you find out why it is outlawed and hunted. It is not simply due to fear of the talent. This book is predominantly about what happens to our protagonist once she is caught.

You need to get through the first few chapters of set up before the story really unfolds. Alana Kerr gives a dry, detached performance that fits the character of the protagonist impeccably. This is one I would prefer to listen to rather than read but you do have to pay attention. Stick to mundane tasks so you can pay attention to the detail.

I found this to be a fresh, not a formulaic dystopian fiction novel, with a unique magic system. I'm excited for the next book and definitely recommend it.

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46 of 46 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By linda on 21-08-13

Engaging, Room for Improvement

Much like the author, I am a card-carrying member of the Harry Potter generation.

I grew up between the pages of JK Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry and eagerly awaited each consecutive installment with the kind of fervor usually reserved for drug addicts and starving men. Given this, it’s not surprising that the media campaign, which toted Ms. Shannon’s series as the new Harry Potter, caught my attention in a powerful way.

After listening to the Bone Season however, I’d have to say that the comparison is unfair to the reader and to the author (and honestly, to JK Rowling too – it seems like there should be a rule against bestowing her name on another writer while she’s still around to claim it).

While Shannon has a dazzling creativity, she hasn't developed the balanced hand that built Hogwarts – so after that initial letdown, I abandoned any preconceptions and considered the book's merits in the context of its own genre.

The novel centers on Paige Mahoney, a reserved young woman who is born into a persecuted class known as the voyants. Outwardly, it seems that the British government has been systematically executing these supernaturally gifted individuals – but as it often goes, not everything is as it appears. When Paige (exceptional even among a population known for its supernal talents) is finally captured, she is not tortured and hung as expected but sent to Oxford. There, a cruel, humanoid race known as the Raheim have enslaved her and her kind for their own purposes.

Ms. Shannon’s expansive world spills out across the pages of The Bone Season in straightforward, confident prose. She constructs an elaborate, dark fantasy through the eyes of a sympathetic and fierce protagonist.

When set against other young adult, dystopian fantasies, this book is a cut or two above the rest.

But, in the end, it lacked universal appeal.

Her characterization and style is occasionally formulaic and often romantic. She relies heavily on familiar archetypes: there’s tall-dark-and-handsome, beautiful-but-evil, rat-faced-schemer - just to name a few. Even her plucky protagonist falls prey to jumbled motives, arbitrary stubbornness, and (repeatedly) the clichéd scene of gravely injured but rescued by a conveniently placed, attractive man.

Fortunately, Shannon is a good story teller - even when relying on worn out tropes, and there are bright patches of a fresh and darkly captivating narrative which make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, would I recommend this book? Yes, whole-heartedly to fans of the genre. Shannon is articulate and intelligent. She possesses a rare and coherent creativity that will no doubt engender a legion of loyal fans.

Will I continue to read the series? I’m undecided.

All told, the Bone Season is a promising start to a career. Shannon is a gifted writer and I have no doubt that the rough edges of her work will smooth out as she grows into her own.

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102 of 116 people found this review helpful

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