Next on my reading list was The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, a dystopian and magical fantasy. And while not quite what I originally thought, I quickly fell in love with it.
Summary on the back: 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.
My thoughts: My initial thought was it was very weird and confusing. But the more I read, the more I loved it, especially as it started dipping into some of my favorite tropes. The world-building is fantastic, with a vivid and richly detailed list of powers, unique words, and places, giving an almost dizzying amount of information. But once I got the hang of it I was entranced by it, particularly the dreamscapes, the characters who have the ability to throw their angels or spirits as a weapon, Paige's ability to leap into the body of a butterfly, and the half mythology, half fairytale feel of the main characters' relationship.
I was a bit meh on the supporting characters - all of whom are fine, just not especially exciting or unique enough to make me invested in their fate. But I liked Paige, who, surprisingly, despite her powers and age, never seemed to slip into the more annoying characteristics of YA protagonists. Warden, likewise, was an intriguing character, morally ambiguous at first, and sympathetic. I would have loved to know more about his past, as well as the Rephaites in general, whose immortality and feeding off of human auras give them an almost vampire-like quality. While the plot was a bit muddled at times, the characters' slowly changing relationship and gained mutual trust kept me interested, and the ending was both poignant and hopeful.
Overall, despite a somewhat over-whelming feel, The Bone Season was a gripping and impressive story that left me eager to plunge into the sequel.
calliope tune: "Video Killed the Radio Star"-Buggles