by Samantha Shannon
(Bloomsbury USA, $17)
Reviewed by Ealish Waddell
Under the regime of Scion, having any psychic ability at all is a crime, but having a rare dreamwalking talent like Paige’s means an even bigger target on your back. Paige scratches out a dangerous living reporting on others for her underworld boss, but after she accidentally kills a Scion guard, that precarious protection is shattered.
She is captured and taken away — but instead of the execution she expects, she finds herself in a secret prison at the heart of a centuries-old conspiracy. It turns out there is an even greater power behind Scion, a godlike race called the Rephaim that wants not to destroy the voyants’ powers, but to control them for their own dark purposes.
The penal colony is a hole of brutality and despair, where beasts lurk beyond the gates and monsters just as frightening hold the keys. Paige tries to look out for her fellow inmates while avoiding the attention of the cruel Rephaites, especially their vicious leader, who wants Paige’s ability for her own, and her inscrutable guardian, whose own motives are dangerously unclear. But Paige is a survivor, which is the power she’ll need most as she tries to get a handle on what exactly she is capable of and how far she is willing to go for her freedom.
“The Bone Season” takes place in an alternate timeline that uses a dash of the supernatural to rearrange history into a completely unpredictable future. The story starts weird and just keeps getting weirder, and it requires some patience on the part of the reader to suss out how this world works.
The author claims this is the first in a planned seven-book series, so there may be a ways to go before all secrets are revealed. But the questions are intriguing enough to suggest that the answers are worth waiting for.