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Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review : ‘The Bone Season’ by Samantha Shannon

We might keep the JK Rowling similarities at rest. Samantha Shannon was just 19 when she first wrote ‘The Bone Season’. She probably did not expect Bloomsbury to buy the book rights and not just that, but Andy Serkis’ production house to got the movie rights! Okay, I know all that was big enough to get everybody’s attention, but that is not what ‘The Bone Season’ was all about.
The heroine Paige Mahoney who is only 19, (the author’s age, am guessing, she looks like Paige ) but she has her own ways to win us over. I had an odd sense of Enid Blyton when I started the book; this probably had to do with the strange walks, which Paige takes in London. 

Paige, who lives in the middle of London, and purportedly works an ‘ossista’ in an oxygen bar, but actually has a job with a crime syndicate, and is part of the Seven Seals. The year is 2059.  Paige’s speciality is walking in the aether and into people's minds, looking for information. Confusing? Have some flavoured oxygen, perhaps instead of the illegal caffeine and alcohol. 

Well, that’s what it’s all about. The supernatural realm is what we enter, when we open this book. Dreamwalkers, mediums, soothsayers, jumpers, nercomancers are just a glimpse into what this book contains. As we follow Paige’s adventures, we are caught up in the Scion regime, which is known for the oppression of the unnatural.

So, Paige is arrested, and when she tries to escape, kills an ‘underguard’ in the process. She is sent away to Oxford, (an abandoned city, when the Scion develops). And, we are introduced to the cruel Suzerain Nashira led Rephaites, who’s food are the human clairvoyants and the Emim who just prefer to be the flesh eating kind. Here, we see blood consort of Nashira, the yellow eyed Warden Arcturus, who takes on Paige as his forced pupil. 

How she takes to the alternate universe, makes friends and importantly enemies, how she hatches the plan to get out of the ugly and morose world Oxford form the rest of this morbid tale.

This fantasy fiction manages to draw you in, and you find it difficult to get out of this land between sleepwalkers and overseers. Not at first go though, but somewhere in the middle. Shannon puts you inside and says to the reader to fend for himself, but she does not let you go that easily in the wrong direction. Shannon has put in a lot of new words and meanings. The dictionary is an excellent plan of hers.

She also used a lot of authors and real life in her plan. Firstly, she seems quite influenced by Stephenie Meyer, and her vision of vampires. Her use of Warden and Nick, a cross between Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, and the various English Queens and their consorts seem like Nashira and Warden. The rebel in Paige again is influenced by Bella from Twilight, not exactly though but one can look for the similarities. Also, the manner in which she fights for everything is a little like George from the Famous Five series.

Oh and one other point, I do not see ‘yesterday night’ in page 271, fitting in. That just seems wrong!          
Besides that, the book is brilliant for someone of her age. Of course, there is the editor’s help, but talent of that standard cannot be missed. Her grip of the language and the wish to see the book through are all striking. I cannot imagine how she will see six more of these through, but I am looking forward to them, for sure.
Author:  Samantha Shannon
Jacket Design: David Mann
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN : 978-1-4088-5245-3
Price: Rs 499
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