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The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon I'm usually vary wary of hugely hyped novels.  I've been eagerly anticipating The Bone Season since I first discovered its existence, though, so I tried to avoid the hype as much as possible.  I didn't watch the trailer. I only read the reviews of a couple of my most trusted reviewer friends...those that I knew wouldn't spoil anything or lead me astray. And I avoided all mentions of this book on Goodreads, especially comparisons to other authors and mentions of book and/or movie deals. But I haven't been living under a rock, so I know that this book has been garnering some serious attention, no matter how blind I wanted to be going into it. I hope that by sequestering myself from nearly all references to this book, I can provide an unbiased opinion.

I actually listened to the audio for The Bone Season, and I enjoyed it immensely, probably more than I would have just reading it myself.  The first half of the story does tend toward the tedious, but Alana Kerr's emphatic narration kept it from feeling so monotonous.  Accents always make for pleasant listening in my experience, but Kerr's slight Irish/English accent really did make her sound like the Irish girl living in London that she was portraying.  This audio never lacked of emotion, but it was full of characters with voices to match their personalities.  I'm definitely a fan of Kerr's narration of this book, and I'm hopeful she'll narrate future books in this series.

As I said, The Bone Season gets off to a bit of a slow start, but it's due in part to an intense amount of world-building, and while some may bristle at that, I found it intriguing.  There's a secret society of voyants, a hidden city, and a world on another plane of existence that all have to be fleshed out, and while the details of these are indeed plentiful, they are entirely necessary in order to truly paint the picture.  It's such a dark, sad world, and I felt every bit of it as I listened to the story.

Paige is a nineteen-year-old girl, hiding what she is from everyone but those who employ her talents.  She longs for a normal life, but she knows that the path to safety is the one she's currently on.  Or, that at least it's the safest path of those available to her.  Until it isn't anymore.  And then she's thrust even further into the world of voyants and even crazier, ruthless angels who want to harness the powers of the voyants for their own purposes.

I wasn't particularly crazy about Paige's character or her situation in the beginning, but she's one of those protagonists that grows on you the more you discover of their story.  One thing that bothered me the most about her character though was her seemingly closed-mindedness, how difficult it was for her to accept that things could be anything but black and white, especially when it came to Warden.  And I think a large part of that is owed to her employer, as she proved she could think for herself there at the end.

Warden was a pleasant surprise.  Paige's relationship with her angel master is complicated at best.  Because although he assumes ownership of her in the beginning, he practically gives her free reign, as long as she causes him no trouble.  He teaches her, helps her master her gift, and seemingly, he asks for nothing in return. I wouldn't quite say Warden was enigmatic, for I saw through his guise from the beginning, but he remained such to Paige for most of the novel.  I did feel that the romantic relationship developed rather suddenly between them, though.  Not that I didn't see it coming, but essentially, Paige sees him as the enemy almost right up until the point he kisses her.  Most girls wouldn't kiss the guy they're trying to escape from unless it was a ploy to further their escape attempts.  But Paige was a complex character, and I think maybe she shut off those feelings, that possibility very early on.

Even so, I'm very interested to see what future books hold for Warden and Paige and the rest of the Seven Seals, especially after that explosive ending.  Samantha Shannon may or may not be the next whoever, but she is definitely a masterful storyteller.  The Bone Season was engaging and thought-provoking, and I'll definitely be picking up a finished copy for my shelves.

Rating:  photo 4-1.png 1/2

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.