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Review: The Mime Order 

April 9, 2017


This review contains spoilers for The Bone Season. You can read my review of The Bone Season here



“London – beautiful, immortal London – has never been a ‘city’ in the simplest sense of the word. It was, and is, a living, breathing thing, a stone leviathan that harbours secrets underneath its scales. It guards them covetously, hiding them deep within its body; only the mad or the worthy can find them.”

The Mime Order confirms what I was beginning to suspect after reading and completely falling in love with Samantha Shannon’s debut, and first book in this series, The Bone Season: I will forever from here on out auto-buy anything that Shannon writes. She is proving herself to be a masterful writer and this book is nothing short of a stunning continuation in the projected seven novel series.

Picking up right where The Bone Season ended, the first chapter flares to life with an action packed escape from the underground train leading the Bone Season survivors away from the prison camp of Sheol I. When Paige and the other Seals are safely back in their den, the pacing of the story slows for a while. I didn’t mind one bit though (apart from wondering and needing to know where on earth Warden is!) because we get a detailed look at the inner workings of London clairvoyant syndicate that we didn’t see much of in the first book. Shannon has spared no detail in creating a rich fictional world where clairvoyance has become its own culture in the shadow of Scion. The Victorian atmosphere of the voyant street life contrasts with the stark coldness and uniformity of Scion, the dystopian ruling government. There is something so nostalgic here even in a novel set in a speculative future.

Paige’s character continues to develop beautifully through this book. Her clairvoyant gift of dreamwalking is growing stronger and I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like in later books. She’s already such a fierce young woman, and the more she learns about her abilities, the more powerful and wonderfully kick ass she will get I am certain. She is also becoming more mature and selfless, though still a little naive.

When the book picks up again about half way through, a gripping mystery is revealed, and yes, just a touch more of that slow burn romance between Paige and Warden that we need much more of, thank you very much. Shannon’s action-packed scenes kept me on my toes and I could not put this book down – I burned through it to the end until absurd hours of the night. Fair warning: I hope you like cliff hangers because damn, will this one make your jaw drop.

I am so very excited to see where Samantha Shannon takes us with this incredibly promising series that is possibly becoming one of my favourites!

I’d love to know, have you started this series yet? What do you think so far?

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Title: The Mime Order

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young adult, New adult


Review: The Bone Season

March 21, 2017

This is a semi-spoiler free review. I’m not giving away any big details but I do divulge information and discuss relationships that are formed well after the first few chapters. 

 

“This was what my spirit longed to do, to wander in strange lands. It couldn’t stand being trapped in one body all the time. It had wanderlust.”



I first read The Bone Season when it was released in 2013 and have read it a few times since so I wanted to finally write a review of this glorious first novel by Samantha Shannon.

Whenever someone asks me for a book recommendation, without skipping a beat I positively shout out, “The Bone Season!” It is so fantastically written with a gripping plot and characters so intensely realized you start to wonder if they are real people. This book didn’t leave my hand for the whole two days I devoured it. Can you picture me holding it, eyes glued to the pages while I poured my morning coffee, fed my cat, drove to work? Okay I’m totally joking about that last part, please don’t read and drive! But my point being that I lived some kind of half life while reading it. I lost myself in the futuristic streets of Scion, the antiquated and dimly lit halls of Magdalen tower in Oxford.

The concept of The Bone Season is so intriguing and I can’t wait to see how it plays out over the projected seven novels in the series. In an alternate future, London, England has been conquered by Scion, a government which has deemed clairvoyance to be the biggest threat to humankind and therefore illegal. Simply by existing, clairvoyants, or voyants, are at the risk of arrest for treason. A Dickensesque syndicate of voyants has retreated to the shadows and the gutters, forging a meager living in the streets and black market. Paige Mahoney is a dreamwalker, a rare type of voyant, and also the right hand to Jaxon Hall, mime-lord to their section of the syndicate.

Paige is suddenly kidnapped and drugged, and wakes up in the lost city of Oxford, kept a secret by the Scion government. The goings on in Oxford prove to be mysterious and sinister when Paige discovers that it is a penal colony where harvested voyants are sent to serve a life long sentance for their crimes by becoming slaves to other worldly creatures, the Rephaim. Their main purpose is to assist the Rephaim in keeping terrifying, flesh-eating creatures called the Emim from crossing into earth from the Netherworld.

The Rephaim believe themselves to be vastly superior to humans and therefore have no qualms about taking on the brutal role of slave master – dealing out verbal and physical violence to their human slaves. Yet one Rephaite, Arcturus, called by his title of Warden, has taken an interest in Paige’s gift and has chosen her to be his sole human ward. He offers a level of protection when Paige’s peers are beat and starving, he trains with her and helps her uncover new abilities with her clairvoyant gift. Cautiously they begin to form an understanding that hints at the possibility of great trust.

I see a lot of complaints about info dumping and a slow moving plot but I really want to talk about how I truly believe this is one of the things that makes this book so deliciously satisfying. The details that Shannon has poured into this novel creates such a rich and whimsical world. The world building and supernatural culture is so fully realized, I find myself falling so deep into this story that I have to give my head a shake to come back to real life.

And the characters. They are quirky and flawed and make shitty choices and struggle to trust each other and are just absolutely wonderful. I have fallen in love with fiery Paige with her sharp and sarcastic Irish tongue. Nick, with his sweetness and loyalty, and that feeling I get that everything is going to be okay when he’s around. Jaxon, I just love to hate. He is unapologetically arrogant and hilariously sophisticated, and so damn interesting. And I can’t forget Warden – quietly powerful and the potential for a very great ally. I hope to find out much more about his character and what goes on under his unruffled exterior.

The romance here is a very small sub-plot but no less grand in it’s sweetness. It’s a slow build. Frustratingly slow sometimes, because we know way before the characters do that it’s inevitable. But it plays out so naturally and beautifully and the tiny moments that we are given are so moving.  In all honesty, they have become one of my favourite fictional pairs ever. 

There is almost nothing bad I can say about this book and I imagine it will be one to read and savour again and again.

Have you started this series yet? What are your thoughts so far?

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, New Adult

6 Strong Literary Women Who Needed No One But Themselves

March 8, 2017

There are some seriously strong women in literature, as well as the wonderful women who write about them. In recognition of International Women’s Day, here are six of my favourite strong female protagonists who prove that they don’t need anyone but themselves.

1. Jane Eyre
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”

Jane Eyre may be small and gentle but in a time when women were expected to have a quiet, small voice, she uses hers to show her self worth and spirit to be equal to men. With a deep-rooted moral code, she doesn’t bend to the will of others even when it wrenches her heart.

 

2. Hermione Granger

“I’ve learned all the course books by heart, of course. I just hope it will be enough – I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?”

Hermione has been one of my favourite female characters since she introduced herself with wild hair and self-confidence. While at first considered annoying by her classmates, Hermione is not afraid to be exactly who she is: clever and discerning and a lover of knowledge. She made it okay for teenage girls to value intelligence and good grades, to care about social justice and change.

 

3. Anne Shirley
“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?”

Anne Shirley – unselfconsciously speaks her mind and unafraid to stand up for herself. She is imaginative, ambitious, and smart, with a temper as red as her hair.

 

4. Katniss Everdeen

“No one will forget me. Not my look, not my name. Katniss. The girl who was on fire.”

She is a masterful huntress, an uncomplaining caregiver, a survivalist. Because of her strength, a revolution was inspired in her name. She chooses love, not because it saves her, but because it compliments her.

 

5. Jo March
“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle, something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten afdon’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous, that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.” 

Jo March from Little Women is smart and argumentative, and doesn’t buy into the gender roles of her day. She cuts off all her hair, she speaks her mind, and doesn’t need a romantic relationship with her best male friend, because she has plans for her own life.



6. Paige Mahoney 

“My father thought I would lead a simple life; that I was bright but unambitious, complacant with whatever work life threw at me.

My father, as usual, was wrong.”

One of my favourite recent books, The Bone Season, features Paige Mahoney, a sarcastic and defiant clairvoyant with an Irish temperment in a futuristic dystopian setting. She looks her frightening enemies in the eye and refuses to cower before them. She is resourceful and clever, a natural problem solver. I adore everything about this complex firecracker of a woman.

 

So here’s to the fictional women that show us that it’s okay to speak our minds, to say no, to respect ourselves, to be complete and whole people even when single, to kick ass. May there be many more to come.

I’d love to hear about which female characters have inspired you! Who would you add to this list?