Review: The Bone Season

boneseasonTitle: The Bone Season

Series: The Bone Season #1

Author: Samantha Shannon

Read via: Borrowed from Alleluialu

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.

It’s truly astounding that this is a debut. The plot is so incredibly original and intricate, and I cannot wait to see how the series plays out. It definitely took me a while to get to this one, and I might not have if Alleluialu hadn’t let me borrow her copy. However, I’m really glad she convinced me as this was a fascinating book filled with some remarkable characters and brilliant world building.

Warden is the classic dark and brooding male with a mysterious past. Even after finishing the book it still feels like we don’t know a lot about his history, but the hints and few details we get are certainly intriguing. I also think his development throughout the story was awesome, and I enjoyed the dynamic between him and Paige. Despite all of the supernatural elements, Paige also felt delightfully human. I sympathized with her, admired her, but she could also frustrate me with some of her choices. I loved the complexity of her situation, and found her story to be heartbreaking. Her boss, Jaxon, was also extremely complicated. There is no way to classify him as “good” or “evil” and I absolutely loved that. The conflicted relationship between him and Paige was a marvelous subplot. Nashira was another highlight as I felt she was a fabulous, freaky, and honestly terrifying villain. My favorite characters though were probably two of the supporting characters. I adored Nick. I fell in love with him from the start, and I could not have predicted how his story played out. I also really liked Liss. So many of the moments with her broke my heart. Julian, Seb, and Michael were also amazing. A group of great depth and emotion. I was very impressed with the wide array and individuality displayed in such a large cast of characters.

My one main fault with The Bone Season would be the pacing. The first two-thirds of the book is rather slow. There’s a lot of world building/mythology explained which, while interesting, can become tedious. Also, at first I found it hard to keep track of all the different types of voyants (really wish there was a handy chart or pamphlet!). The last third of the book, however, was packed with intense, edge-of-your-seat action. All of the various plotlines crash together, and I thought it was amazing.

Overall, The Bone Season started out slow, but the well-rounded, intense characters and original world kept me intrigued until the action picked up. I have very high hopes for the next book in the series, and I would definitely recommend this one. I’m not sure whether this is “officially” categorized as young adult or adult, but I think it leans more towards the latter. Though it is definitely a great crossover book between the two genres.

Cover: 3
Plot: 4
Writing: 3.5
Personally: 4

Overall: 3.6 out of 5

Review: A Song of Fire & Ice // Game of Thrones

gameofthronesTitle: A Song of Fire & Ice / Game of Thrones

Series: A Song of Fire & Ice #1

Author: George R.R. Martin

Read via: Purchased

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

It seems as if everyone has heard of Game of Thrones. The HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s books has become a popular and critical favorite. I must admit I was hesitant about the series, and after watching the pilot I still was not convinced. However, a few episodes in, and I was completely hooked. Unfortunately, TV seasons take a great deal of time to create, promote, air, etc. so I had to start reading the books in order to satisfy my own curiosity (Reading is such a hardship for me, I’m sure you understand my pain).

This book started off much the same way as the TV series did for me, slowly. The world-building and character introductions can become rather tedious, but by the end, it pays off greatly. The story may start slowly, and for the first half of the book much of the action is based around political intrigue and verbal spars. However, as the political climate moves toward war, the stakes rise for each and every character.

There are certainly many fabulous characters in this series. There are those to hate (Joffrey! I need him to die), to love (Arya, Tyrion, and Daenerys top this list for me), to admire (Ned, despite his faults), and to despise (Littlefinger!!). The list of characters that populate this series is enormous, and it is quite daunting as you begin. As the stories continue to weave together though, it becomes easy to keep track of the characters and become absorbed in their tales.

I had read previously that the initial season of HBO’s Game of Thrones was remarkably faithful to Martin’s book, and I definitely agree. Certainly, there are differences. The most obvious being the changing of many characters’ ages, but considering some of the content, this was very necessary for the network. I have seen many adaptations, and I would rank this as one of the best (Note: this is strictly a comparison of A Song of Fire & Ice / Game of Thrones and season 1 of Game of Thrones. I’ve heard the second season is not quite as faithful).

Overall, I found this to be a fascinating, entertaining start to what promises to be an unforgettable series. Martin manages to weave together the lives of an amazing number of individual characters, and he has also created a world which fantasy fans are sure to marvel at. I would highly recommend A Song of Fire & Ice and HBO’s Game of Thrones, although there is certainly material that is only appropriate for mature audiences.

Cover: 3
Plot: 4
Writing: 3.5
Personally: 3.5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5