Looking for a juicy fall read?
Then you’ve may already have heard about The Bone Season, the debut novel that’s being called the next Hunger Games.
Written by 21-year-old English author Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season is the inaugural pick of the Today Show’s new book club.Does the novel — the first in a series projected to total seven — merit the hype? Elizabeth Word Gutting in The Washington Post thought mainly yes (though she carped that the novel’s back story was “contrived”). Gwyneth Jones of Shannon’s homeland Guardian newspaper was less kind, sniffing that “It’s in the nature of fantasy fiction to be derivative.”
Me, I come neither to bury Shannon nor to praise her. Instead l want to tell you why the book is worth a read.
The Bone Season takes place in a dystopian London circa 2059, in which “voyants” (aka “unnaturals”) with psychic powers have become the enemies of humans, whom they call “amaurotics,” from the Greek for “blindness.” (Don’t be thrown by Shannon’s coinages; The Bone Season includes a helpful glossary.)
With unnaturals driven to the edges of society, 19-year-old voyant Paige Mahoney has no choice but to work for a criminal syndicate. She’s a “dreamwalker,” able to invade the dreamscapes of others. But one night she’s captured after an accidental killing and winds up in Sheol I, a secret prison colony in the former university town of Oxford.
Whereas the City of Dreaming Spires once housed students, its primary residents these days are slaves — and Paige knows that the next winnowing of them, called a bone season, will soon be upon her. Can she escape in time?
Young Samantha Shannon has created an alternate universe so compelling that if you let yourself believe, you’ll find yourself swept away.
Are you planning to read The Bone Season? Already read it? Let me know what you think in the comments!
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