“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon seems to have engendered mixed feelings among most people that read it. They either love it with many hearts or are all ‘meh’, ‘huh’ or tl;dr. I’m not actually sure how I felt about it. I felt as though I’d started reading something part way through – book two of a trilogy or something; like there was a whole lot of back story I was missing, but there was a lot of back story in the book. Maybe by the time I get to the end of this I will make up my mind.
It’s about a future England, where people with clairvoyant (‘voyant’) powers are treated as criminals and sent off to special prison type things every ten years to be looked after (sort of) by a group of aliens called Rephaim who used the voyants to fight off yet another kind of alien (confused yet?). It apparently all started with King Edward who actually was Jack the Ripper, and there was a whole lot of probably important but mainly confusing information that was padding, but vital at the same time. There’s URST, there’s confusingly archaic slang, a cast of thousands (some of whom didn’t seem to play any part in the story)… there’s alien weirdness and dystopian futures that are sort of plausible, but sort of really plausible at the same time.
No, I don’t think I am going to rein in my confusion about this book at all. In fact, I am probably doing my damnedest to put everyone OFF it completely. But don’t be misled by my confusion. I actually really enjoyed it. I looked forward to reading it, and even had a lay in so I could finish it this morning. I couldn’t work out who the book was aimed at, though – was it young adult? Was it fantasy geek nerds? It was like Divergent meets The Hunger Games with a soupcon of Enders Game and – part of me even thinks Starship Troopers (book not fillum, and that could just be the bugs)
So, read it. Tell me what you think. See if you can end my confusion before the next book in the series comes out and I have to read it too. The author is very young, maybe the next book will be um. Tidier. I think.
EDITED TO ADD…
Ok, still thinking about this and did a spot of googling and consulted Mr Wikipedia (so you know this must be true) as to why the names of the Rephaim rang small, tinkly bells somewhere in my subconsciousness. Rephaim – old Hebrew for giants or denizens of the netherworld. And the Emim – the other ‘bad aliens’ in The Bone Season – Well, Emim is the name for the lands where the Rephaim lived.
(This little snippet may have been covered off after the endless pages of glossary. I shall have to investigate further.)