Books, Art, & Visual Culture


Writing and design by Melissa Hill, graphic designer.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


I’m not much of a fantasy reader. Well, I say that, but I adore Isobelle Carmody’s work, which I suppose is predominantly fantasy. But to me, that is simply a testament to the strength of her world-building and her amazing ability to make you forget that the things you’re reading about couldn’t possibly happen. However, I digress. This isn’t actually a post about Isobelle Carmody.

I just wanted to make that point because perhaps my experience of The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon, is simply due to me not being a particular fan of the genre. I tend to find that fantasy feels a bit…silly. I’m so sorry — that sounds awful and I’ll probably be a total hypocrite and end up writing a book about dragons or something.

So yeah, I just felt a bit weird about the world of this novel: the steampunkish slang, the revision of history, the myriad of clairvoyant types and their descriptions. Actually, I think the thing that bothered me the most was the odd revision of history — the fact that their whole society is established during the 19th & 20th centuries. It seems unnecessary to have done that when, for me at least, it’s what ruins my suspension of disbelief the most. Instead of imagining, “Maybe this world could happen”, I think, “Well, I know that already didn’t happen!”

After that semi-scathing criticism, I have to say that I enjoyed enough about this book to keep reading it. I liked the main character, Paige, well enough to want to know what happened to her, even though she seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time being knocked unconscious. She’s strong and independent and has an instinct to stand up for others, and she has an intriguing gift. She is a bit of an oh-so-special YA heroine cliche, but who isn’t these days, right?

Did I enjoy this book? Yeah, sure. Will I keep up with the rest of the series? Mmmmm, probably not.