A Dual Review of THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) 
Samantha Shannon
480 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: August 20th, 2013
Source: Hardcover from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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.

Hafsah: Let me start off by saying this, if you’re expecting the next Harry Potter, you won’t find it here. Also. New review layout! Don’t expect it all the time, but do expect it sometimes ;)

Asma: Even though they called the author the next J. K. Rowling.

Hafsah: About that, the whole J. K. Rowling comparison is in reference to the book deal. Bloomsbury acquired the rights to a potential seven book series by a UK author – something that happened to J. K. Rowling and Samantha Shannon. So do NOT go in expecting the next Harry Potter. Get that out of your head.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’ll say this: THE BONE SEASON was incredibly good.

Asma: It was amazing. The beginning started off slow and had a ton of info dump, but once you get past that, THE BONE SEASON was epic.

Hafsah: I nearly set the book aside because of the beginning. It was chock full of info dump and so much telling. I’m always terrified of hype and I had just read a negative review for it, so I was strongly debating not to continue. But I am so, so glad I read on.

Asma: Same here. I didn’t believe you when you said it gets better, with a beginning as confusing and slow as that. It did get infinitely better, but my favorite part was close to the very end.

Hafsah– Yes! The end! When I was finishing it, I was literally breathless. I was flipping the pages before I could read them fully. And once I finished, I quickly flipped back and re-read some parts. I finished the book liking it. Now, I’m going to boldly state that I absolutely loved it.

Asma– *snickers* I think I know which parts those are.

Hafsah– Har har. Don’t tell me you didn’t go back and read it too. Your face was all red.

Asma– I simply wanted to refresh my memory. *ahem* Away with this nonsense. A little problem I had: there were way too many characters in THE BONE SEASON, and at times I was puzzled over a name that might have come earlier in the story. I just couldn’t remember who it was! But the main characters sure left an impression.

Hafsah– Huh. I never felt that way. I was confused by the numbers – which is assigned to each of the clairvoyants. But I was able to distinguish them. I do agree that the main characters made a pretty good impact.

Asma– It just so happens to be that we all don’t remember every little thing we read.

Hafsah– I don’t either! I may have tuned out some of the lesser characters. I didn’t like all of them – and I respect the author because of that. It’s hard to make a character ugly or unlikeable when you’re tempted to make them all Mary Sue’s!

Can we talk about the plot? Very original. And the world-building? That just takes the cake.

Asma– The world-building was hands-down pure awesomeness. I loved the world of Scion, and Samantha Shannon gave us some pretty vivid descriptions.

Hafsah– I admit some parts were confusing, but a world so indepth will be. The first quarter of the book was me debating whether to read on, or put it aside. Again, I’m glad I continued. The plot picks up at about one-third of the way through.

Asma– I think we have come to an agreement that the beginning was kind if a drag.

Hafsah– True. It was a great mixture of fantasy and dystopian – something I rarely see. And another mixture of fantasy and futuristic scifi – also a rarity. There wasn’t magic, per se, more of their abilities. Each clairvoyant has a specialty, and of course, Paige is one of the rarest. The Rephaim on the other hand… well, you’ll have to read it yourself!

Asma– There wasn’t really much sci-fi. It was mostly just dystopian and fantasy.

Hafsah– True again. But there was some! The whole dystopian element was pretty cool though. Rebellion, other races, parallel realms, auras, mobsters, SO MANY awesome aspects put together. And the Rephaim. Tall, yellow/gold eyed, and of course, good looking ;)

Asma– The Rephaims were pretty cool, I liked their role in the book – even if it was pretty horrid.

Hafsah– They are the villains. In the end, while I didn’t feel THE BONE SEASON was utterly phenomenal, I ended up loving it. It is definitely one my all-time faves, and as you know, I have very few favorites.

Also. Warden was my favorite character.


Hafsah– YES. I looked forward to every bit where he showed up. I loved his calm, mysterious demeanor and understanding. Which reminds me, the book is NA, or New Adult. And while I expected there to be aspects we won’t find in YA, there wasn’t. Some bad language, one dark scene, but nothing you won’t see in YA. Or I wouldn’t have let you read it, missy.

Asma– Yeah, I kind of got that already :P And besides, how could you not let me meet Warden? But then, I’m getting the idea you would’ve wanted to keep him all to yourself.

Hafsah– I would have liked to, but alas, he isn’t real. I know the difference, unlike you. Speaking of real, the ending was utterly sad. I won’t spoil anything, but it broke my heart. No real cliffhanger ending, but a sad ending all the same. I am really looking forward to the second book.

Asma– And the third. And.. well, all seven.

Hafsah– SEVEN. YES. Seven times more Warden (hopefully). And Paige, but really, I’m in it for Warden.

Asma– As am I. I think most of us are.

Hafsah– Not those who haven’t read it. Speaking of which, if you haven’t read Samantha Shannon’s glorious debut, you are truly missing out.

Asma – Mmhmmm. All in all, THE BONE SEASON was a fantastic read that managed to leave me shocked, breathless, and begging for more.

Hafsah– I’m glad we agree. I remember the skeptical look on your face when you started reading ;)

The conclusion: get this book in your hands. Featuring a comprehensive glossary of terms, chart of clairvoyants, and a map, THE BONE SEASON comes jam-packed and ready for diving. But be warned – you may not want to come out.

About the Author:

Samantha Shannon was born and raised in West London. She recently finished her degree in English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she specialised in Emily Dickinson and Principles of Film Criticism.

In 2012 she signed a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing to publish the first three books in a seven-book series, beginning with ‘The Bone Season’. Film rights to the novel were optioned by Andy Serkis’s London-based production company, The Imaginarium Studios, in November 2012.

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Sara (of The Page Sage)

    September 2, 2013

    I’m really glad I picked this one up from the library! Trying to push the whole HP comparison out of my mind.

    Love this review format- I’ll definitely persevere through the beginning in order to get to Warden. I’m very intrigued by his character now! haha

  2. Reply


    September 2, 2013

    What a fun and informative review! It was super entertaining to read!
    Thank you for the warning about the slow beginning, I’ll keep that in mind!

    Damn, I really need to move this book forward in my TBR list!

  3. Reply

    Mary @ BookSwarm

    September 2, 2013

    I’m SO curious about Warden. I definitely want to know more about his motivations and that stupid flower and what’s going on behind those eyes of his. I highly enjoyed this book (though, sadly, it didn’t perform as hoped. Maybe it’s one of those that needs steam to build. I also haven’t seen all that many reviews, at least not on the blogs I read.).

  4. Reply

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    September 2, 2013

    I love the dual review! I am going to have to pick this up for sure! Awesome review.

  5. Reply

    Becca @ Nawanda Files

    September 2, 2013

    Love your dual review — you should do them more often ;)!! For some reason, I haven’t really paid attention to this book, but your review has sold me. Seriously, I need to know what scene you guys kept re-reading!! Now I have to go buy this. And a seven book deal O_O that’s insane and awesome at the same time!!

  6. Reply

    Lena Marsteller

    September 2, 2013

    Oh Gosh, I need to get this book…. I now understand what all the hype is about. I love your dual conversation review- it was fun to read!

  7. Reply


    September 2, 2013

    Haha! I do this exact kind of dual-review style with my sister. Though we mostly quote Princess Bride (it relates to everything) while we review. Still! Loved it! And I’m excited for this book, but a tad worried I’ll get lost. >_<

  8. Reply

    Scott Pilgrim

    September 2, 2013

    Awesome dual review, I definitely would like to see more of these! The beginning was SO slow, but after that I was totally sold!! Definitely a must read!
    -Scott Reads It

  9. Reply

    Kim @ YA Asylum

    September 2, 2013

    I love this new layout!

    I’d been hearing this is the next Harry Potter, but I thought it was just referencing the book deal and how similar that was to what happened to JK. I’m glad to hear that’s right. This book does sound really interesting. I’m going to have to read it soon. Great review!