Book Review: “The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon

fb_profile_jenn_engelbrecht  (Reviewed by Jenn Engelbrecht, Navy wife, London)

Hey ya’ll! I’m Jenn, originally from Southern Mississippi. I met and married my husband Nicholas in college, and we were both active duty Navy after graduation, he on a submarine, and myself as a nurse at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. I got out of the Navy after four years and he stayed in, taking us to Connecticut, Guam, and then Hawaii. During those first six years, we had four back-to-back babies. Our daughter Ava was born in October of 2005, Scott was born in 2007, Warren in 2009, and lastly Daisy June in January of 2011. No, we’re not having any more, and YES, I am one hundred percent sure.

My husband is on Shore Duty now, doing one of the Personnel Exchange Programs. It is BEYOND awesome. He’s assigned to the Royal Navy Submarine Headquarters in Northwood, UK, a suburb of London. Since it’s not a sea going command, we have plenty (well, not nearly enough!!) of time to get as much European traveling in as we can, before he has to go back to a US submarine next spring. So far, we’ve visited Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Bruges and Brussels, Paris (twice, Paris is the best) different parts of England, Iceland, Prague, and most recently (and my personal favorite) Rome.

We are INCREDIBLY lucky to have landed such an amazing shore tour, and I’m trying to soak up as much of it as I can before it’s back to Boat Wife Life, which is a lot less fun. 😉 At Team Engelbrecht, I blog about daily life with four children, my recent battles with depression, traveling with too many young kiddos, and my obsession with all things London.

(Jenn’s photos from her family’s travels while stationed in Europe are amazing, and have me cooking up all kinds of plans to present to my poor, unsuspecting husband. Thank you so much for sharing your blog and your military life with us, Jenn, and thank you for posting about some of your recent reads! – Andria)

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

This is a newly released book by debut author Samantha Shannon, who was born in 1991.

Let that sink in for a sec.  I’m not math whiz, but I wracked my brain and decided that this makes her about twenty-two.  And she’s written this book and gotten enough people interested and said that she’s going to keep going, so someone somewhere has paid her MILLIONS OF DOLLARS for a seven book series.

A debut author.  Who is TWENTY-TWO.

Author Samantha Shannon (photo, npr.org)

This is what the back of the book says.  Or rather, I’m assuming this is what the back of the book says, I haven’t held a flesh and blood book for a while, but I figure they still put this on the back.  This is what the description tab on Amazon says.

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.

photo, vanityfair.com

It’s not like a normal future book though. As you go through, you realize that it doesn’t have our regular history.  Shannon is British and the setting is London and they talk about British history, but I don’t know what was real and what wasn’t.  But something happened with Queen Victoria’s son Edward and he went crazy and murdered people and then the world decided that psychic people were bad and had to be herded together and killed (Hilter anyone? JK Rowling anyone?) and it goes in from there.

 

I first heard about this in the “What to Do This Summer” issue of Entertainment Weekly.  They gave a brief summary, a somewhat horrified, somewhat awe-inspiring blurb about the multi million dollar deal, and reported that some people(meaning, not them, that way if it WASN’T true, they wouldn’t look like assholes, and if it WAS true they’d look like they knew it all along) say Shannon is the next JK Rowling.

 

Samantha Shannon is NOT the next JK Rowling.

Wanna know who the next JK Rowling is? JK Rowling is the next JK Rowling. (In defense of whoever these people might be, the EW issue came out before anyone knew about Cuckoo’s Calling, so maybe they thought JK Rowling might be done? Casual Vacancy was sort of a dud.)

 

**********SPOILER ALERTS*********

 

I’m going to talk about the book openly and without regard for those of you who might be reading it or want to read it.  I haven’t figured out a way to talk about books WITHOUT spoilers yet, so…whataryagonnado, amiright?

 

I liked this book.  A lot.  I LOVED the story, I liked Paige and Liss and especially Michael, and even though I think we’re not supposed to (maybe? I got confused) I liked David. I called it that Warden was a good guy  but after the first few chapters, I think it’s pretty obvious and even morons would be able to call that one.  David…not sure about that.  I think he will do good things, but I hesitate to call him a good guy. 

 

I thought a lot of the scenes between Paige and Warden were ripped from various Harry Potter fanfics concerning Snape.  I realize that most normal people don’t read fanfics, but whatever, I’m not ashamed. Well, I am, but not as much.  The wound cleansing, the piano playing, it was all pretty standard Snape fanfic fluff.  Which isn’t a good or bad thing, necessarily, just a thing I want to mention.

I thought Jax was a jerk and I can’t figure out where Shannon’s going to go with that whole arc.  In the beginning, I was immersed in the Dials (and side note, I get to shop there!!! I LOVE LONDON!!!) and her group there, and I was pissed when I realized we wouldn’t be going back, but then I got roped into life in Oxford, so I didn’t mind anymore. 

 

**********SPOILER ALERT IS OVER*********

 

So yeah, great story.  Great.  My problem was the writing.  Do any of y’all read James Patterson? I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out how he is a multi million dollar, best times selling author.  I read The Lakehouse and it was so painful I literally cried while reading it.  The doorbell rang.  She got up.  She answered the door.  It was Karl.  Hello Karl, she said.  Hello, he said.

 

I don’t get it!!! How can people read like that?!?!? I mean, whatever, I want everyone to read anything, no matter what.  I read Twilight, I won’t judge.  But still!!!

 

Anyway, a lot of Bone Season was like that, short choppy sentences where there should have been elegant prose (which you know Shannon is capable of, because there’s also a good bit of elegant prose) and the grammar errors were more than I’m willing to chalk up to the Kindle conversion of her manuscript. I don’t know what an editor’s job is SPECIFICALLY, but I have an idea that catching simple grammatical errors is part of the description. 

 

I realize that in a world where TWERK, SELFIE, and BADASSERY (which I love, by the way) have been added in a dictionary as ACTUAL WORDS, proper grammar might be a lot to ask for.  But for a multi million dollar book deal, concerning an author who LITERALLY JUST GOT OUT OF COLLEGE, I expect more.

 

Am I being too picky? Probably.  But I could have let a few mistakes slip, a few choppy sentences, especially since the story was so good.  But knowing how much she’s been paid, knowing that I spent ten bucks for this book THE DAY IT CAME OUT, so excited was I about THE NEXT JK ROWLING, knowing that I will be invested in these words for years to come, I expect more.  I held her to a higher standard than those f—ing Twilight books, and I expected more.

 

I am going to steal a rating system from one of my FAVORITE blogs (go meet Meredith, she’s AMAZING, you will NOT regret it) and rate this book as Drop Everything and Read. 

 

That might seem strange given that I just ripped Shannon a new one about the grammar and choppy sentences, but I really did love the story, and I think this book is going to be a big deal, so you might want to get ahead of the curve. 

 

Did you read it? Are you going to? Wanna talk about it?

One thought on “Book Review: “The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon

  1. “But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.” — Haven’t we all had days like that?

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