Word is Samantha Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling. I have to admit, I did not want to like The Bone Season. Shannon can’t be the next Rowling, I’m supposed to be the next Rowling, (said every writer ever) you know, someday. But I caved, I read it, and I LOVED it! I can’t stop thinking about it. As my fellow booksellers pointed out, I haven’t felt this sense of anticipation for a series since Harry Potter. Finally – something to look forward to again! As I type the words, I realize how pathetic that sounds, but it can’t be denied. Having a book to look forward to, a story and characters I’m invested in – it’s the greatest feeling.
Paige is a 22-year-old “dreamwalker” (she can jump into the “dreamscape” of someone else’s subconscious) in 2059 dystopian England, where all forms of clairvoyance are prohibited and use of one’s powers, especially for financial gain, are strictly illegal and punishable by death. Paige is a bad ass, she flouts the laws, creating a name and reputation for herself in the underworld of “voyants.”
There is a lot of lingo to get used to, Shannon noted Clockwork Orange as an influence, but everything is in context and it’s not particularly hard to keep up. If anything, it deepens the realism of Paige’s England. There’s also a glossary in the back, just in case.
There’s so much to tell, but I think it’s better going in without the background, so I’ll sum up. The writing is very good, in that it’s not really noticeable: natural dialogue, descriptive descriptions, well rounded characters, blah blah blah. Most importantly – characters I care about (I cried twice) and a GRIPPING plot line. Shannon whisks readers into a different reality: it’s recognizable enough that you won’t feel alienated, and strange enough to provide an escape. I found myself wondering who I’d be in Shannon’s world.
Back to Harry Potter, though. I don’t know if Shannon pegged her audience intentionally, but it feels like she’s writing for us, the post adolescent, Harry Potter obsessed, epic and magic craving 20-somethings. We’ve been trapped in the muggle world since 2007 – The Bone Season is exactly what we need.