Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of 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 breaking into others' minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clearvoyant, 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 seperate city - Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures value voyants highly - as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be charge of here 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. 

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I anticipated The Bone Season since the day I heard about it for the first time. I had just found Samantha's blog where she shared her experiences of writing and the publishing process of her debut novel. At the time she was twenty years old, now she's two years older. The whole world seemed to notice the book immediately: it was sold in over twenty countries before it came out, and after it was published in August 2013, thousands of readers became fans. I've seen the cover on at least every other English book blog I follow and read many absolutely positive reviews of the novel. The Bone Season has got a lot of attention, and it's not a wonder. I enjoyed it from the first page to the last and it's easy to say that it was the best book I read last year.

Paige is a very interesting and a likable main character.  She's strong, fair and ready to fight for the people she cares about. She has a  really strong voice and a strong will. Her thoughts and emotions are logical and easy to understand, and her powers are really vividly described with details and depth that really amazes me. Jaxon is her boss, a feared, respected and famous man. He is also very clever in a sarcastic, mean way. There's something cynical in him. And then, Warden. Warden is absolutely one of my favorite characters in the book. He is mysterious, serious and extremely powerful. What I love the most about him is that he isn't like the other Rephaim. I hope to get to know more about him in the sequel. Also the secondary characters are very vividly described. Some of them are cruel, some of them are lovely, but no one of them leaves you cold.

The world of The Bone Season is both complex and unique. There are many different kinds of voyants and other supernatural creatures. Scion is very cruel organization that wants to get rid of all clearvoyants and makes living in London dangerous. Oxford, the forbidden city and voyant prison is dark, evil and even more dangerous place. Paige's experiences are touching and heart-breaking and gets the reader think many, many times.

I also love the language. It's deep, detailed and emotional. I'm amazed by the author's writing. It's so talented and beautiful in a way that is difficult to describe. The secrets of the world are in every word, in every sentence. The whole novel is deep and rich in themes: it's a story about secrets, lies, danger, loss, friendships, loyalty, slavery and being a prisoner, and much more. The Bone Season stayed on my mind for a long time and I highly recommend it to everyone.



Experiences of coauthoring(1): Combining ideas

In the beginning of January Aleksi and I talked a lot about the powers of our main characters. The basic idea of the power system is that there are six different groups of supernatural skills. These skills (I won't give away more about them, yet) have a connection and take a long time to develop. Aleksi's first idea was that all the main characters will have the same skills. I wanted to give them different powers and specialize on only one group of skills. Aleksi's idea was based on similarity and I focused on individuality, so we had a problem. The big question in was how to find a combination that would both do justice to the story and respect Aleksi's original idea of the creatures I was creating with him.

I spent a few days thinking of this. Then, suddenly, I got it. I suggested that the characters would be best at the skills they'll develop first, also at the first group of skills they'll get connected with. After this they will develop their powers group by group until they have all the skills. This way they would be both similar and individual. Aleksi was happy with the idea, and so was I. I think the combination is better than our original ideas.

I think that finding a solution like this requires trust and a clear goal. Now when I'm plotting or planning a scene, I think of the story and ask myself if my idea is the best for the story. If it's not, I'll talk with Aleksi to make it to it's best. It's amazing to see what we are able to do together.


Plans for April

Here's what's up in April:

1. An essay about Touch of Death trilogy. I'm writing an essay about the first book, Touch of death, as a course work. Because I love the series, I decided to write an essay about it in English to let Kelly know all the thoughts I couldn't put on my reviews. It's been a long time since I've written an essay in English, so it's also a good practice. 

2. Reviews of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and Face of Death by Kelly Hashway. I adored these books! Epic love <3

3. Itäkynä. I'll write a review of the Touch of death trilogy for the next issue so those who read the article about her will get to know more about her books. 

4. Reading club. Our student organization started a reading club. The first meeting is only two weeks away and I'm so excited about it! I'll write a post about the meeting afterwards.

5. Adventures in a fantasy world. I've started a post series about how it feels to write fantasy and how the writing is going.

6. Experiences of co-authoring. Another post series. This one is for posts about challenges and other experiences of co-authoring. 

7. 12 essays to write before my summer holiday begins. So I'll be writing. A lot.

Yeah, I will be very busy. Do you have plans for this month?