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With the release of Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon quickly approaching, I started a Bone Season read-along on my Instagram. Though I know full well the series are not in any way related, I thought it was a fitting way to celebrate the release of Priory. The read-along included prizes, discussion posts, and a couple of chat groups where readers could talk about the book, life, photos, whatever! I myself read The Bone Season for the second time. I picked up on a few interesting thematic elements during my reread so in addition to sharing some experiences from the read-along I wanted to update my review of The Bone Season!

Click here for The Bone Season blurb

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

If you haven’t already given this series a shot, I highly recommend you do. Here are my thoughts after my first read through:

I adored this book. It gave me a lot of the same feelings as books like Six of Crows, and A court of mist and fury. I absolutely love the attention to issues of control. Who controls you, how you respond to that control, how you fight it when it’s negative, and how you embrace it when it’s positive. I think it’s such an important thing to apply to everyday life and to think about. If you’re involved in a negatively controlled situation, you fight like a DreamWalker and get yourself out of it. The world of the Voyants is so rich and well developed. The pacing of the worldbuilding did not hinder the story or make me feel like I was reading an exposition novel. If I had to give any criticism it might be that I didn’t feel like the romance was genuine, but it was kind of a minor element ultimately so it didn’t bother me very much. I can see it turning into a ship I will get behind in the 2nd installment but in this first book, it felt a little forced to me. Can’t wait to get back into Scion and see what Paige encounters next!

On the whole, I agree with myself. I still appreciate the questions about control raised in this book and found myself thinking about whether I would rather live as an ignorant voyant in Scion London, or as a slave in Sheol-I. I gave this question to my readers and they had some very interesting thoughts. You can see them in this post:

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Discussion post 5: Books & Bones. Where would you rather reside as a voyant, Sheol-I, or Scion London? 🌺🌺🌺 There obviously isn't a good answer to this, but I am really interested in seeing which of the 2 evils people would choose to face. Personally, I think I would rather live in Scion London. At least you have a teeny illusion of freedom. 🌺🌺🌺 I am 3 chapters from the end of The Bone Season. Enjoying every minute of my reread, and excited to share my thoughts on my blog! What, blog you may ask? I just started one 😆 check it out at the link in my bio. 💜 . . . #countdowntopriory #bookstagram #bookishcandle #boneseason #samanthashannon #mimeorder #paigemahoney #arcturusmesarthim #booksandbones #reread #readalong #scilo #scionlondon #rephaim #bookclub

A post shared by Sam|28|INTJ|Atheist|Hufflepuff (@sammaybereading) on

One of the readalong participants mentioned how interesting it is that the voyants in Sheol-I seemed to have so much freedom. That is something specific to Paige, but I paid more attention to how she used that freedom during my reading. She chose to use that time to be selfless and to seek out information and goods that could help others who did not get as much leeway from their overseers. Ultimately, I think everything she did was being watched, but that dips into spoiler territory! Later in the book, Paige and Warden discuss the fact that she fears being treated as anything less than human. She wants to be seen as more than a tool, or just a powerful clairvoyant. It’s very telling of her character to try to use her own excess resources to help others. Not only does she want to be treated as more than the sum of her parts, but she demonstrates that she deserves that treatment time and time again.

Another point of focus for me during my reread was Warden. I do not by any means dislike him, but I always want to know more about it. Something is just not quite right about his motivations to me, so seeing him as a love interest is difficult. I was really struck by the notion of him finding peace and safety in nothingness. He talks about this with Paige, and it almost painted him as a Buddhist figure. It’s an image of him I didn’t have before and it helped me see him in a new light.

If you are on Bookstagram, you can join me and the other readers for book 2, The Mime Order starting on September 1st! I will have prizes including a painted copy of The Mime Order, wooden bookmarks, and 8 oz. woodwick candles for a few readers. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of The Bone Season, or any ideas you have for a read-along.

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