The Bone Season – A Startling Debut from the New J. K. Rowling

May 27, 2014

With a six-figure book deal, glowing book reviews and movie rights sold to Imaginarium Studios, Samantha Shannon has been hailed as the new J.K. Rowling. The name of her book is The Bone Season, and it was written while Shannon was still at Oxford from where she graduated this year. The heroine of the book is 19-year-old Paige who works at an Oxygen bar. The year is 2059 and the ruling regime is Scion which took over from the British monarchy 200 years ago. Alcohol and caffeine are both illegal which means that people turn to flavored oxygen for that much-needed buzz.

Not only does Paige work in an Oxygen bar, she’s also a dreamwalker, someone who can enter into another person’s dreams and invade their aura. She has psychic, clairvoyant talents which are nevertheless dangerous because when she goes into a trance, she may stop breathing. Paige is constantly living on the edge, risking capture by those in charge.

However, when she does finally get caught, she isn’t given the punishment she expects. Instead, she’s shipped off to Oxford where she finds out that Scion isn’t the real ruler of her world. Instead, the power lies in the hands of the Rephaim—beings from another dimension who are plotting to take over this one. In addition, the Rephaim are at war with another race of beings called the Emim who seem to be even worse because they’re flesh-eaters.

The Rephaim appear to have some use for human clairvoyants and have Scion deliver a fresh crop every decade which they refer to as a bone season. Paige had expected punishment, but instead she’s considered special in this group of clairvoyants, and the consort of the Rephaite leader, Warden Arcturus, decides to take her under his wing. With his brooding character and startlingly good looks, he is the perfect unavailable man for Paige to fall for, not knowing what will come of such a transgression.

With a great deal of detail, a wide vocabulary and a love for Charlotte Bronte, Samantha Shannon has mixed together elements of steam punk, sci-fi and the gothic romance. The world is richly populated with different types of beings which are described fully and brought to life. Paige is a girl who lives on the edge, but she is also relatable; her feelings for Warden are like those that any girl might have for her first love.

Samantha Shannon was born in Hammersmith in 1991. She wrote her first novel, Aurora, at 15, but it remains currently unpublished. She went on to study English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College in Oxford and graduated in 2013. However, her book, The Bone Season, which is supposed to be the first in a series of seven books, sold in 2012 to Bloomsbury Publishing and movie rights were optioned to Imaginarium Studios run by Andy Serkis (the voice of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings series). Shannon has four siblings, four parents and a tortoise named Lily-Beth with whom she lives in west London.

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