Review: The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) – Samantha Shannon

the mime orderPaige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Rating: 4/5

I read the entire book in one sitting (albeit with necessary bathroom and food breaks), and stayed up till 3am to finish it. I think that really says all you need to know about the book.

I am seriously impressed with the scope of the author’s imagination. Samantha Shannon has created an intricate world, and as readers we get the sense that she’s only showing us the tip of the iceberg. I love the details of all the different clairvoyants, the different factions within factions involved in power plays, and hints of the world outside Scion London.

The Mime Order picks up where The Bone Season left off, with Paige & co on a train committing their great escape. The book essentially deals with Paige’s status as underdesirable number one in Scion London, the ramifications thereof, uneasy alliances with unlikely figures, and most of all, the dealings of the various cohorts in London and Jaxon Hall’s Seven Seals gang.

It’s especially great to see the development of Paige’s character throughout this book – while she does spend quite a lot of time contemplating and debating and generally trying to figure things out, in the end she makes some pretty groundbreaking decisions. And may I just say – holy cliffhanger?

Sidenote: If you’re read Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series, Jaxon Hall really reminds me of Arobynn Hamel. Running their own criminal organisations, manipulative, never letting their underlings forget just how they owe their leaders for saving them from a worse fate.

While the book is not without its flaws – some slow paced sections, and the fact that Paige Mahoney, number one wanted criminal, seems to gallivant around London quite a lot and not get caught for all the extra security measures put in place – I am still incredibly invested in the series.

I think the worldbuilding is carefully cultivated, with favourite characters that I’m hoping will reappear later on in the series, clues that I think will also make sense later on, and let’s not forget a slow-burn, forbidden romance. With five more books to go, there’s so much that the author can do with this series and I’m excited to see where she takes us.

Review: The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

the bone seasonThe year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Rating: 4/5

This was a good book, there’s no doubt, but I think comparisons to JK Rowling are unfair – invariably, everyone will fall short when it comes to the Queen of Magical Literature. Quite frankly, apart from the British-ness and the proposal for 7 books, I don’t even see the similarities at all.

The Bone Season is set in a futuristic London, where those with clairvoyant abilities are despised and ostracised by the general population, and either end up on the wrong end of a noose, locked away in prisons or working for the criminal underworld. The overbearing corporation-type government regulates aspects of everyday life, all for the good of the people – a standard dystopian concept, it appears.

I know some people complained about info-dumping in the beginning – and whilst it is true that there is a lot of information given to the reader, the worldbuilding is so well done that it didn’t bother me. Indeed, this is one of the strong points of the book – the author really has thought out her world – the location, the different types of clairvoyants, etc.

Of course, all is not what it seems, and things very quickly take a turn for the worse. Without wanting to give away a major plot point, you will end up not knowing which side to root for – both are equally despicable.

Another aspect of the book I admired was that our protagonist, Paige, was not infallible. She got the shite kicked out of her on a regular basis, and suffered for it. Of course, I’m not celebrating the fact that she took some physical abuse – its just that many authors seem to quickly dismiss any physical pain after a major knock, and on the next page the narrators bounce back, as good as new.

There were multiple options for love interests, and I thought I spied a love triangle, but thankfully the author didn’t go there. The slow-blooming romance is done well, I think – a bit Stockholm Syndrome-ish, but the protagonist acknowledges this.

I liked the fact that Paige wasn’t perfect. She kills people. Her actions of rebellion cause others to get hurt. She tries to escape repeatedly, even if her captor is a hottie. (Which for some authors I’ve read, would be an excuse to stay and have lots of babies because oooh look how his hair shines in the sun!)

All in all, I think the Bone Season has a lot of potential. The pace could have been improved somewhat, and I wish I could have gotten greater insight into some of the more mysterious supporting characters. What are their histories? Their motivations? Their loyalties?

Samantha Shannon has created an intriguing world, and is certainly adept at portraying the utter despair of her characters and the cruelty that they experience. Do give this one a go.

Review: The Body Electric – Beth Ravis

the body electricElla Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

Rating: 3/5

This book and I just didn’t have the chemistry I was hoping for. I found there was far too much telling, and not enough showing in the first quarter of the book. Furthermore, I think it could have been edited down quite a lot.

But nevertheless, the book does deal with a rather twisty and interesting concept: altering people’s memories. What happens if something’s been erased, but you’re not sure what? And consider the multiple possibilities, for both healing and nefarious purposes.

I’d find myself stopping at some parts, and wondering whether what our narrator was experiencing was real, or just inside her head, or something she wasn’t even recalling correctly. Certainly kept me on my toes.

Ultimately though, this book just wasn’t as good as I was hoping for. I’ll be interested to see how other people review it.