The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
I started this book without hearing any of the hype pre-publishing. I think that was a good thing...seems like the more hype you heard, the less you liked the book.
In The Bone Season, Paige Mahoney spends her days working in a crime syndicate. She is a dreamwalker - a rare type of clairvoyant. While her gift is rare, the English government has outlawed all types of clairvoyance and if knowledge of her gift was ever made public, she could be executed for high treason. On her way home one day she is kidnapped and transported to Sheol I - a penal colony for clairvoyants. Once there she discovers a mysterious race of creatures called the Rephaim who enslave clairvoyants and put them to use fighting another mysterious race of monsters called the Emim. Paige refuses to be enslaved and fights back against her captors - including her mysterious keeper, the Warden.
Without any preconceptions - I really enjoyed this book! I wouldn't say that it was anything groundbreaking, but the story was interesting and the world-building has potential to be really engrossing. I felt that Paige was decently developed as a character. I wish we had gotten more in-depth development on the Warden's character, though. He was aloof and mysterious for a portion of the story and then it was like a light switched and all of a sudden he was talkative and emotive. It was a jarring switch...didn't seem believable.
Only a few things kind of annoyed me while reading this story:
The romance wasn't that believable...and I think it's because of the Warden's light-switch flip from aloof to caring.
And, to be honest, I think this is a challenging book to read via e-reader. The author uses a lot of jargon and the reader would benefit from easily switching back to the glossary to get a handle on the slang. I didn't use the glossary and it took me about half the book to really start feeling comfortable with the terms.
All in all, I thought this was an enjoyable read. Knowing that this is the first installment of a pretty lengthy series made the slow world-building okay. I think book two will (hopefully) take off pretty quickly and further develop the world/universe and answer any remaining questions.
I give this one 4.5 gnomes...but I'll round it up to 5 because I think this series has major potential.
[Read Dec. 2013]