Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Bone Season

The Bone Season  - Samantha Shannon See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher.This may be one of the most hyped-up books of the year and until I got it, I honestly thought it was a YA novel. If only that were a joke. Only upon getting it did I learn better, but that's okay because of the strong crossover appeal The Bone Season has going for it. It's best to leave behind any thoughts of her being the next JK Rowling at the door because if you come in expecting that, you're gonna have a bad time. If you come in as blind as you possible can in the midst of all the hype, you'll find a pretty fun book after you get through the worst bits.The first chapter might lose you due to the massive amounts of inelegant infodump about the world Paige lives in. So much gets thrown at us not just in the first chapter but throughout the novel that some information fails to stick. If the levels of clairvoyance and what gifts certain levels/certain types of clairvoyants have were clearly explained at some point, I can't remember half of it. It would have helped to have some chart at the beginning of the book to explain them in addition to the maps of Scion London.Shannon's style could also use some work. Her prose is a little simplistic, there are some rookie mistakes like having Paige list off her appearance while looking at her ID card, and "I" is what starts a sentence so often that the lack of sentence variety is noticeable when I normally don't notice such things. It happened so often that I've got bookmarks of entire paragraphs where every sentence or almost every sentence starts with that one word. Despite the novel being in first-person, it can be hard to get into her head and really understand her. She's a tough girl who takes everything that's thrown at her with relative ease compared to her fellow clairvoyants, but that's her most outstanding trait.All those problems? They're a pretty good summary of the first half of the novel. It's the second half of the novel that really shows off Shannon's strengths as a writer and will pull readers in. It's a shame they'll have to wade through the worst parts to get to the fun!If there's anything the author can write with skill and aplomb, it's fight scenes. Oh wow, is it fight scenes! The face-off between Paige and her former gang was hands-down one of my favorite scenes of the novel and it's been bookmarked for future rereads, along with pretty much the entire climactic scene. If she can write actiony novels for the rest of her career, call me a fan and pre-order the rest of her books for me and I will be a happy kitten.Her worldbuilding is likely what draws all the JK Rowling comparisons. Though not necessarily on that level (yet; it took multiple books for Rowling's worldbuilding to come back together in its brilliant way and it might do the same here), this alternate world in which Prince Edward VII was Jack the Ripper and also clairvoyant according to the official line has a deep well of potential ready to be drawn from. Had it all been given to the reader in a manner less like dumping a hundred books on their head, it would be one of the most memorable fictional worlds I've explored this year!Then there's the slow-burn relationship between Paige and her keeper Warden. Though Warden's character and past is unraveled bit by bit throughout the novel and he shows a more human side uncommon among the often-vicious Rephaim, what happens between them still makes me a little uncomfortable. It's almost like Stockholm Syndrome to me, which is a deal-breaker to me. Keeping it platonic might have been a better idea, but I'm the reviewer, not the author. Oh well!The Bone Season leaves things on a pretty decent cliffhanger, though not as murderous as some I've come across before. There's so much uncertainty about where they'll go from here and who will be okay that-- You know what? Better stop there. Don't want to give too much away! If you're one to let weak writing slide when the worldbuilding is strong enough, this is going to be a very good book for you. Like tough female leads who can take pretty much everything hurled at them with ease? Enjoy! If you don't fall in either, it's a little more complicated.