The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season  - Samantha Shannon

If I had to imagine what an acid trip might feel like, I would have to say the world Samantha Shannon created in The Bone Season would be it. To say that this novel is imaginative is kind of an understatement. More often than not though, it is just plain tiresome to read.

I feel like I am one of those readers that complains incessantly about books that have amazing characters but mediocre world-building. This is especially true with fantasy and dystopian/post-apocalyptic type books.

The Bone Season has the complete opposite problem. The reader is inundated with the most obscure and sometimes completely irrelevant information about Scion and Sheol I. There are gang lords, seven types of clairvoyance with many subcategories (there's a very detailed and not at all helpful chart at the beginning of the book), oxygen bars which serve Floxy, amaurotics, weird British slang, the Rephaim and their mysterious enemy (the Emim), mythological references, etc. This list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.

I truly respect the amount of research and time the author took to create this world. It is impressive and there were aspects of it that I enjoyed and appreciated as a reader. There's certainly talent here.

Yet, this story completely lacks balance. The focus of the first half of the book is on explaining Paige's world, but we learn very little about the protagonist herself during this whole process. For me, Paige's character lacks substance. It is evident that she has courage and isn't completely heartless, but I really didn't begin to care about what happened to Paige until about 350 pages into the story. Complex world-building isn't enough to carry a story. This series may have potential, but I'm not invested enough in the story or the characters to really care what happens next.