Monday, June 16, 2014

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1)
Author: Samantha Shannon
Published: August 20th 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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.
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

It’s weird, because on Goodreads there are thousands of reviews for The Bone Season, but I haven’t seen that many around blogosphere. I do of course know about the next JKR praise this book and the young British author have been getting so that alone made me curious. I can tell you that I was impressed with many things, but as a whole this book left me very... unimpressed. Let’s break it down to pieces, shall we?

“Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can't get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”

The first chapter is very hard to get through—if it wasn’t for a buddy read (which Nick decided to not follow through. YOU TRAITOR *gasps* Jk, love.) I would have DNF-d it for the time being. The writing bothered me a lot at first—I don’t like when characters talk to me directly and Paige did that a lot in the beginning. I do appreciate how Paige questions everything—at the very start at least. Then again.. that was one of the things that reallllllly bothered me about her, because.. well.. info-dump (read more in the next paragraph).

I felt the compulsion to read it (hello, cool and intriguing world!) but I was bored out of my mind thanks to all the info-dumping. Nothing really happened throughout the first 50% of the book, the first three chapters excluded. Paige goes around asking questions and making friends/enemies, but it’s all for an excessive world-building. I don't think I knew what info-dump meant until I read this book O.o

I will read the sequel because we must have had the world built to great lengths by now, eh? Or do you think there will be just as much more? *runs away scared* I like thoroughly developed worlds, but sometimes less is more, especially since there are 6 more books in the series and we have the chance to develop the world more and more in future books.. I want to own these in physical form, but that’s not happening unless the sequel has more action and twists in it.

As for other characters, the side ones were pretty good (Nick, Liss, Julian etc., though I’m not a fan of Jaxon.) Warden? I liked him as well, but I didn’t form any emotional connections—does anyone else feel like the romance came out of the blue? He didn’t even show any signs of liking/wanting her and vice versa, but then suddenly a big, emotional connection happened and other [additional] things? I’m not complaining at all about adding romance to the plot, but it could have benefited from a more thorough build-up. No me gusta this particular romance.

At the end of the day, no cliff hanger, which is good, but the ending definitely sets up the next book. I’m weirdly looking forward to that. Here’s to hoping for more action and developing the romance, because otherwise, book two is where my journey with Paige stops. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the excessive world-building stopped in book one and we can put a bigger emphasis on the actual plot.

Overall rating: 2.4 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★

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  1. I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy this as much as you'd hoped Siiri. I have to agree with you I found the beginning a real struggle, I was immensley baffled by all the descriptions and really did at times, feel a bit overwhelmed, but I think the second half of the book really provided a great read for me, so I'm glad that you were able to enjoy that half at least. And Warden really reminded me of Barrons from the Fever series, so I was a huge fan of him. I hope you end up enjoying the rest of the series if you decide to give it a go! Fab review !

  2. I tried reading this one when it came out. The first chapter gave a huge migraine, I think I was rubbing my temples the WHOLE freaking day. So I don't blame you that you felt like DNFing this. The first chapters were a huge clusterfuck. I'm not sure if I should plow through it and try again... D: It's a monstrosity of a book and it's not Brandon Sanderson good so I dunno... Maybe if someone insisted enough haha!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  3. First of all, wohoo for finally getting back to blogging! I missed seeing your posts around.
    Second of all, haha! Way to throw me under the bus, girl! :D It's OK, I still like you. I feel like a made a good decision unconsciously ditching you on this buddy read. It doesn't sound like a book I would particularly enjoy especially because I can't stand info-dump and this book is HUGE! So, yeah, not interested in it anymore. Also, the romance doesn't sound particularly interesting either. I can tell that I'm going to have some issues with it.
    I'm sorry this was a disappointing book for you, Siiri! Great review!

  4. I am so sorry you didn't enjoy this. It was one of my favorite novels last year. I adored it from the characters to the world. I agree the beginning was a little slow and I had to get use to the author's writing and Paige's voice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. I found the information dumps for the world-building overwhelming too. It felt like there wasn't enough room for the true plot, but I hope that the sequel takes more time for the characters and action :)

  6. Ouch, I'm so sorry to hear this, love. I've been meaning to read this one too, but all that JK Rowling comparison really bothers me. It doesn't feel right as I really don't want to read some HP rip-off. I want everyone to be unique. Anyhow I don't like how that writing sounds but still I'll have to give it a try. You know, curiosity killed the cat and all that. Needless to say Nick, run and don't look back :D
    Great review, hon :)

  7. There has been a LOT of buzz about this author because she landed some hugeee book deal or something. I read an article about it, so that's the only reason I really know. Otherwise, like you, I haven't heard much about this around the blogosphere except the occasional review.

    I'm sorry this one turned out so meh! I HATE info-dumping with a passion, especially when authors try to thinly disguise it, which seems to be the case here. I'm not so sure about how I feel with the whole breaking the fourth wall thing, when characters talk directly to you. I guess I'd have to see for myself whether or not it worked in this case.

    At least there was some good world-building? Hopefully the next book will be better in terms of action and real plot. Also, hopefully the romance gets some more build-up! I get that romances can come out of the blue sometimes, but still. It's not an excuse for taking some time to really develop the romance.

    Anyways, lovely review! I hope the next book is at least a little better! <3

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  8. Sorry you didn't like this one so much. I've read books that had a lot of info dumping in them and it can make the book a real bore. I've heard a little bit about this book but didn't really know what it was about. Great review Siiri!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  9. I have decided to stay away from this one too, and you just confirmed with slow beginning that I prb wouldn't finish. Thanks for honesty Sirii

  10. I've really wanted to read this one for a long time, so this is kind of disappointing. Still, I think I can survive the infodumps if I think the world is interesting. I don't mind details, but only in a few books. I'm still going to give this one a try and hopefully I'll enjoy it more than you did!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  11. I have been debating reading this one for months because the length of this book intimidates me lol and just all the praise it's gotten. I'm sorry you didn't like this one and i can understand how the writing style can nag at you. Thanks for sharing yur thoughts :)

  12. Haha, you totally threw Nick under the bus! And after she wrote that pretty paragraph about you in her STS post! *gasp* haha
    Wow, props to you for finishing the book, sucks that you didn't love it though. I haven't seen much of this book around...
    Welcome back to blogging!

  13. This isn't a book I would be drawn too, even less so with such a difficult beginning. I do know what you mean about feeling compelled to finish.
    Thanks for the review, Siiri!

  14. I think this is one of those books that you either plan your marriage to it, or give up on making any kind of relationship work. I really though I'd be the latter, but amazingly, I was the first! While I loved it, the info dump felt like a couple of tons ALL THE TIME and it was one of those reads that it's amazing partly because it's SO confusing and got SO much stuff going on ;)
    Lovely review!! You've reminded me that I must check when the sequel's coming out!! :D

    ~Ella @ Once Upon a Bookish Time

  15. Lol, Siiri, I love this line: "I don't think I knew what info-dump meant until I read this book ". I was going to wait until more books (or all) were released to pick this series up. When it's so complicated and there's a lot of details it does me no good to pick it up only to wait a year for the next book and forget everything! Then I have to refresh my memory (like I have time) before picking it up. No thanks. Sorry this didn't live up to your expectations, but hopefully the next in the series will impress you more. Wonderful review! :)

  16. This is exactly why I don't want to read this book, I love well developed worlds but share a love hate relationship with info-dump. There are some books where it will work but with my already shaky relationship with dystopia I am not sure it work work with this book. I do think I might read it someday but for the moment, there are better books out there ;)

    I am sorry you didn't like this better, Siiri :(

    Lovely review <3 (AND YAY THAT YOU ARE BACK!)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  17. GAHHH....if there is something I can't stand is info-dumping! WHY OH WHY IS THAT NECESSARY TO GET A DARN POINT ACROSS!!?? Take your time sheesh! I have seen this book around a lot on GR, and while I wasn't attracted to it initially, I don't think I'll pick it up now after your review either. And I completely with you, sometimes less really is more. While world-building is an important element in any story, I think if its described and incorporated throughout the book, is much better than overdoing it. Sorry this didn't live up to your expectations, and hopefully the next book will provide solutions to all the concerns you had with this one. Fabulous review, Siiri! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  18. I'm sorry it wasn't for you. I confess I'm really intrigued by this one because like you say it everytone was loving it. But I'm anxious because now I have high expectations and I'm usually disappointed. Thanks for the review.

  19. There was a lot of buzz around this when it released last August, but I agree that I haven't heard a lot recently. I have a sample of the second book, but I haven't read it because I don't generally read those. I'm sorry this didn't work for you :(. I agree that the world building was tedious at times, but I did love the characters as you did, and like you, I'm very intrigued by where she takes all of this world that she build. But this is supposed to be a 7 book series, and imagining staying around for that many books is quite daunting. So I'm not sure if the series will be able to keep my interest that long. I hope so! I personally really liked Warden! I'm hoping for no love triangles, but with so many books, she's probably going to keep them a part for most of book 2. Maybe they'll work on developing their connection. I've got to refresh this one before I move on to #2.

  20. interesting!!! I'm glad that you are honest. I've heard about this, publicity is great because i know about the cover and the synopsis. I'm one of those types that if the building of the world is boring i won't continue reading it. :D I'm willing to give it a go and see what happens. Thank you for the helpful review.