Publisher: Bloomsbury (January 27, 2015)
3.5 stars (3 for the first half, 4 for the latter half)
Genre: YA series, science fiction, dark fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy, romance; now also known as New Adult (half YA//adult, graphic, violent)
Sequel to The Bone Season
Samantha Shannon is a British novelist, recently graduated from Oxford University (read English language and literature at St Anne's). Her first novel, The Bone Season, (2013/14) was well received, published as one of expected seven series. She is an interesting young writer with a vivid imagination and the ability to translate this into riveting reading. If you don't like cliff hangers, wait until the series is more advanced. Each book picks up right where the other left off. Read the charts, maps and glossary first to familiarize yourself with her terminology. They must be read in order.
London in 2059 is governed by Scion, a security force that uses Oxford as a prison (Sheol 1). The heroine, 19 year old Paige Mahoney(#40) is an intelligent, impetuous, clairvoyant (dreamwalker) who works in Seven Dials within the criminal underbelly, as people with unnatural gifts are targeted (and have been since 1859, hence 20 Bone Seasons). It's a fairly simplistic plot, although the characters are complex and complicated by her world building/foundation.
Her keeper there, the Warden (Arcturus) provided mysterious, initial tension, and indeed I was waiting for him to appear in the second novel where they have escaped the prison and are hunted. The action promptly picks up with his arrival (halfway through!). He balances Paige, having age and experience to her youth and instability. While he challenges her, she provides the hope he has lost. Romantic tension will be resolved eventually, but is an important story element.
Paige remains a fighter, and is strong and resourceful, a strong female lead, with a lot to learn. She returned to her old Mime boss (Jaxon Hall), who is slowly revealed to be quite a vile human, yet he is protecting Paige. While using her of course. The first half of the book reflects youth with indecision and inaction, although that can also be prudent while fact collecting. Steeped in politics, personal agendas, dickinsonian / penny dreadful details I became frustrated with where the story was going. Then it galloped right along, with twists and turns to yet another cliff. I am not sure I would reread this when the next installment appears. I do want to know what happens to the characters, but 5 more years? I was lucky to have recently read The Bone Season in the library, and delighted to be chosen to review this book. I loved her command of language, her creative world building (rotmonger, thaumaturge, Gutterlings), her nods to the old order (EA Poe, title, plus Raven - member of Guard Extraordinary, from the ravens of the Tower of London). I am still very impatiently waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to provide us with his trilogy. If you haven't read that, drop everything else.
If you like Christopher Paolini, Trudi Canavan's Black Magicians trilogy, Richelle Mead's Gameboards of the Gods, and the Shadow and Bone series by Leigh Bardugo
NPR quoted a UK source which stated her as the next JK Rowling, but I don't think there is much similarity. I liked it better than the Hunger Games.
Opening: "It's rare that a story begins at the beginning. In the grand scheme of things, I really turned up at the beginning of they end of this one."
"Hope is the lifeblood of revolution, without it we are nothing but ash, waiting for the wind to take us."
Rephaite- pl. Rephraim. A biologically immortal, humanoid inhabitant of the Netherworld. ...known to feed on the aura of clairvoyant humans.
Read as an ARC from Netgalley - thank you!