Monday, October 14, 2013

Checking in and Review of "The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon

So...the update. I'm finishing up my masters in Exceptional Student Education, starting to prepare for the BCBA exam I'll take in February, and after a crazy summer where I took (and passed!) 5 classes, I'm back at work at the Autism Academy. Also, after serving for two years as Young Women President in our ward, I have been asked to do something new and am the Gospel Doctrine teacher. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, right?

All of which is to say, I'm still not writing...much...although I do have a short story that I'm working on that is turning out to be more of a novella and I might be able to stretch it into a novel. Hard to say since I'm still a pantser.

I've mentioned this on Facebook, but I had a benign tumor removed from my salivary gland a few weeks ago, and while recovery has not been fun (drugs make me feel, well, drugged) I've spent a lot of time listening to "The History of Rome" podcast, and I highly recommend. I've always wanted to understand a bit more how political intrigue works, how people can do crazy things like raise armies and convince people to go to war for them, how people can be so charismatic that civilizations are bent to their vision, and this podcast has really showed me how it was done. I feel like it's given me enough understanding that I could maybe introduce some political intrigue in a novel and not have it come off as if a twelve-year-old had written it. No offense to twelve-year-olds. I think maybe you have to be aware of how the world has and is changing to be able to include that in your writing, though.

Also, I'm finding some time to read new books again (I re-read all of the Attolia books by Megan Whalen Turner while recovering, as well as "Daughter of Smoke and Bones" and sequel, but was not feeling up to seeking out a good book. Enter my friend Genean, who texted me that she had a book for me and would drop it off the next day.) So I just finished The Bone Season and really, really enjoyed it. Not quite five stars, but a great read.

Paige Mahoney is a voyant, so just being unnatural and alive is an act of treason in her political state, Scion. Like other voyants, she has found a place in the criminal underworld, where she uses her very rare ability as a dream walker to enter other people's dreamscapes and spy for her mime-lord (think crime-boss.) But as eventually happens to all criminal types, she gets caught and a swat team arrives at her house to bring her in.

Yet she isn't taken to the Tower and forced to become a Scion turncoat like she expects. Instead, she is brought into another world where voyants can live in the open and their gifts are accepted. Unfortunately, living in the open does not equal freedom, and they are essentially vassals to another race, the Rephaites. The Blood-sovereign, Nashira, takes a special interest in Paige, and her consort, Warden, is given the task of training Paige to use her powers more fully so that Nashira can become more powerful and no voyants will ever be able to oppose the Rephaites ever, ever again. Paige would rather die, and so she does what she does best: fights back.

I loved the world-building and the writing and the tension between Paige and basically every other character in the story. Did I mention she's a redhead from an Irish family with a background similar to the IRA? Great story with lots of levels. My only issue was I had to do a lot of flipping in towards the end because there are a lot of characters and it's always hard for me to keep minor characters straight. 

Content-wise, there are references to drugs that some voyants take to open their minds to the aether, but the main character does not approve. Also, there are some bad dynamics in the voyant mafia, no big surprise, but it means that characters hurt other characters because it's their job and the boss will get angry if they don't. There's also some sexuality in a few scenes, including a date-rape and a near rape and a kissing scene. There are several fights including a major battle and a fair amount of violence. I would think that even sensitive fourteen-and-ups could handle it.

Krista V. at blogged here about how much she loved "For Darkness Shows the Stars," by Diana Peterfreund so that's next on my list. I'm trying to catch up on your blogs and news and everything. I've missed having the time to be a part of the book blogging, writerly world. Thank you for being so kind and wonderful, friends.

What are you reading? Anybody else read The Bone Season?

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