The Bone Season and The Mime Order, by Samantha Shannon

The Bone SeasonIn a world where clairvoyance is commonplace enough to be branded by the government as ‘unnatural’, and those gifted with it persecuted and executed, voyants band together in an organised syndicate. Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker, is the right-hand woman of one of the syndicate’s mime-lords – that is, until she is kidnapped and enslaved for her clairvoyant powers. Here she learns that Scion, the anti-voyant organisation that controls several European countries, is but a puppet to the Rephaim, an otherworldly race of beings who use voyants for their own ends.

I was immediately drawn into this series by Paige’s voice. This is one of those stories narrated in the first person that you simply cannot imagine in any other POV. It is Paige’s story, told with her sardonic wit and characteristic passion.

The Mime OrderBeyond Paige’s voice, the world-building in this series is fantastic. It’s a strange blend of future dystopia and Victorian paranormal, but Shannon makes it work so, so well. Scion has plenty of the characteristics of any other dystopia: government monitoring, barbaric police, and scientific endeavours that would make your hair curl. And yet it’s stuck in the past, stagnated in the two centuries since it came to power. Similarly, the underworld of the syndicate has much in common with Victorian London, even down to its slang, some of which is taken directly from Victorian London speech.

One of my favourite things about this series is its breadth. Although only two books are out so far, Shannon has five more planned, but I’m not really talking about the length of it, nor the vastness of the world-building. What I’m really getting at is how the books tie into each other yet are fundamentally different. The Bone Season is about Paige’s captivity in the Rephaim and her efforts to escape, while The Mime Order is about the politics and inner workings of the syndicate. The Mime Order follows on from The Bone Season, yet its setting and overall feel is distinct. I can’t wait to read the next books, not only to find out what happens to Paige and her world, but to see where Shannon takes the series next on a more thematic level.

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