Title: The Bone Season: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover; 480 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition/First Printing edition (August 20, 2013)
What followed was Scion, a republic built to destroy the sickness. Over the next fifty years it had become a voyant-hunting machine, with every major policy based around unnaturals. Murders were always committed by unnaturals. Random violence, theft, rape, arson—they all happened because of unnaturals. Over the years, the voyant syndicate had developed in the citadel, formed an organized underworld, and offered a haven for clairvoyants. Since then Scion had worked even harder to root us out."
This is the first book in what is rumored to be a seven part series. Ms. Shannon did an extraordinary job of creating a world that is unique yet easy to relate to and picture. The characters are believable had have a lot of depth to them. It's set in the future of an alternate version of our world. If anyone tells you this book is like any other, they're really grasping at threads. It's unique unto itself.
Reminiscent of the the witch hunts of old, clairvoyants are being hunted, but not killed. Every ten years, clairvoyants are harvested from the general population and sent to the Tower where they're held in inhumane conditions until the day of the next Bone Season comes. Not every clairvoyant survives their capture.
“Why are they called Bone Seasons?”
He smiled. “Don’t know if you know, but bone used to mean ‘good,’ or ‘prosperous.’ From the French, bonne. You might still hear it on the streets. That’s why they named it: the Good Season, the Season of Prospect. They see it as collecting their reward, the great condition of their bargain with Scion. Of course, the humans see it differently. To them, bone just means that: bones. Starvation. Death. That’s why they call us bone-grubbers. Because we help lead people to their deaths.”
Jaxon is not only unique among mime-lords for his talented crew, but also for his interest in the talents/gifts of clairvoyants. He even created a pamphlet called On the Merits of Unnaturalness which lists every major voyant type according to his research. (FYI--The author created a copy of the pamphlet for your perusing pleasure at the beginning of the book.) It's this slightly obsessive tendency that makes him stand out and the fact we don't learn a whole lot about him in this book makes me very curious about him.
The Rephaim are said to be human like beings from another world originally separated from ours by the aether. The frightening thing about them is not much is known about them. They have powers similar to those of voyants, but are perhaps more powerful. They descended upon our world nearly two hundred years ago with plans to take it over. They are behind the voyant round ups. After Paige's capture, she is transferred to Sheol I, the Rephaim's headquarters which is located in present day Oxford. That is where she is indoctrinated into the world of the Rephaim. The voyants are used to do their bidding and the Rephaim feed off their auras. If they're lucky, they'll reach the status of red jacket and their job will be to bring in more voyants. If they're not so lucky, they'll become performers or killed. One thing is clear, humans are seen as only slightly more intelligent than animals and are expected to perform in one way or another. Paige's future looks bleak as she becomes the property of a Rephaim who's never laid claim on a human before. Warden, as she is to call him, will be her keeper and her life is about to change as is her perception of the world.
I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was fast paced with a lot of information packed in and a lot more to be learned and revealed in the next book. While I didn't feel like I'd been info dumped upon, a lot isn't explained until later in the book. This might throw some off and is the reason I explained so much in my review. If you have yet to read the book, be aware there is a Glossary of terms at the end, so if you're reading an eBook version you may wish to bookmark it before you start. I fell quickly into the story and became completely immersed. The characters were easy to identify with and become attached to. The world was masterfully crafted and easy to envision. It ended in a cliffhanger that makes me want the next book now. This is actually my second time reading this one and, if you know me, I don't normally do rereads. I have too really like a book to do so and when this came up as one of Nothing but Reading Challenges' book of the months, I decided to read it again and finally write a review.
While I have many questions about things in the book which will undoubtedly be answered in future books, I have one I wish someone could answer now. What does "Off the cot" mean? It was used several times and I'm guessing it is a fairly common expression in the UK, but I don't know what the translation is and neither did anyone else I asked. Other than that this was a great book that I highly recommend. It is not like Hunger Games, Divergent, or any other of the books that have come out. My status last week on Goodreads read, "Please stop saying a book is like The Hunger Games because it contains a strong female lead. Please stop saying a book is like Harry Potter because it contains a magical element. Please stop saying a book is like The Passage because it contains beings that take over individuals. Please just stop. Enough with all the lies. The links are too weak." This is one of the books that inspired that statement.
Some pictures of Seven Dials (Yes, I'ts a real place):
Pictures of Oxford:
Carfax Tower: Tom Tower:
Trafalgar Square pictures :
Notes to keep you in the know:
The inhabitants of Sheol were the "shades" (rephaim), entities without personality or strength. Under some circumstances they could be contacted by the living, as the Witch of Endor contacts the shade of Samuel for Saul, but such practices are forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:10). While the Old Testament writings describe Sheol as the permanent place of the dead, in the Second Temple period (roughly 500 BCE-70 CE) a more diverse set of ideas developed: in some texts, Sheol is the home of both the righteous and the wicked, separated into respective compartments; in others, it was a place of punishment, meant for the wicked dead alone. When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in ancient Alexandria around 200 BC the word "Hades" (the Greek underworld) was substituted for Sheol, and this is reflected in the New Testament where Hades is both the underworld of the dead and the personification of the evil it represents." (Information found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol )