Twitter Book Club with Lisa and Steph: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Those of you who follow me on Twitter will probably be aware that my friend Steph and I recently read The Bone Season together. She lives in Seattle and I live on the outskirts of London, so when I say together, I mean for a given value of togetherness. We read a chapter a day until we were done and talked about each chapter on Twitter as we read it.
Tomorrow is the first day of my and @G33kySteph’s #boneseasonbookclub. Feel like reading The Bone Season by @say_shannon? Why not join us?
We got together on chat today to talk about our thoughts for the blog post (and also just for fun!). First (for spoilerphobes like me), we talk about our favourite and least favourite things and assign a score out of 5.
What we liked best:
Me: I thought the premise was really great & the action sequences were excellent.
Steph: I really enjoyed the the array of information related to clairvoyants. It is rare that any novel focuses so much on something that can be very esoteric, and Shannon did a great job managing the complexity.
(Wow! Steph is much more eloquent than me.)
What we liked least:
Me: I found it pretty slow in places, with world building where I wanted more forward plot momentum. I also felt that there was so much going on in the story that I worried about layers that I was missing.
Steph: I felt disconnected from many of the characters. The characters themselves were well-written, but the pacing of their development kept me viewing them from a distance.
Me: I’m going to give it 4/5. I felt that it really upped its game in the last few chapters so that my final impression of the book was “Wow! I can’t wait to read book 2.” I think that, despite the issues that I had with it, it deserves the better score for leaving me with that feeling.
Steph: I would rate it a 3.5/5. I subtracted points for pacing, and for overall investment in the series. I felt like i was not yet totally invested in the series once I finished the book. If a book is really good, I have a problem getting it out of my head. With this one, I really enjoyed reading it, but I was able to move on to my next book very quickly.
LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ANY SPOILERS!
Also we ramble a bit so, you know, be warned! And grammar, punctuation and spelling are not really adhered to. Here be dragons, folks. Spoilery dragons with bad grammar.
so what were your overall impressions of Bone Season?
me: overall i liked it but boy was it slow in places
like so much world building at the expense of plot/action
Stephanie: yeah, i agree. I got a bit bored with some of her back story chapters for paige.
and some parts seemed to lack of bit of relevancy.
me: yeah, I can see why it’s going to take 7 books to tell the whole thing
Stephanie: 7 books?! wow
i think i forgot that. for some reason i thought she’d be able to tie it up in 2 or 3.
me: I think she has a 7 book deal, which in a way is a shame because the story might be tighter if she were forced to tell it in less books
me: there were definitely some parts that could just have been cut out without it making too much difference
some of the setup for later parts could have waited until it was relevant
and some of the character development was similar.
i also really liked Paige but I thought she spent a lot of time doing not very much
when it started, i had a hard time relating to her
i didn’t feel like i really understood her personality for a while
but after a few chapters of living with the rephs, it picked up and she felt much more relatable.
i am really curious about other scion cities, so i’m hoping we will get to hear more about those in other books.
me: yes and I think I’d like more about the Rephs
because we got the story from her perspective, I feel like I missed quite a lot about what exactly their deal is
i’m curious why she chose to call them rephaim, since this is in the hebrew bible
(and, actually, i just googled it… and “sheol” meant “netherworld” in the hebrew bible)
i did not pick up on that at all
Stephanie: the more i read about it, the more it looks like the author drew information from these stories.
me: That is very interesting because I was thinking of them as aliens but it makes more sense with the story if they are some kind of ancestors to the humans who exist more on the spiritual plane
because I was kind of confused by what I thought was a story about ghosts and spirits and whatnot turning out to be something else entirely
Stephanie: me too!
i had a really hard time picturing the rephaim
i kept changing my image of them… i know they’re supposed to be sort of humanoid
me: me too. Are they ever actually described? I was sort of imagining them as monster-y looking and then, when Warden became a love interest, I had to revise my entire mental image of them
Stephanie: yes, me too
they’re only sort of described… i think she talks about Warden’s skin tone
and his eyes
but i was really upset when he became a love interest.
i quite liked that part
Stephanie: well, sometimes i get tired of the predictable love interests in books
and i could see her going that way from… well, as soon as Warden took her in.
i really wanted it to be a platonic relationship. one of two heroes fighting together.
paige was ushered around a lot by him
and physically carried
and he didn’t tell her a lot. and he fed on her.
me: I probably should have seen it coming but because my mental image was monster-y and non-human, I didn’t at all.
it is basically a vampire love story, isn’t it?
Stephanie: woah, yeah
his eyes were strangely similar to the Twilight novels
but… this time there is no Jakob, and he didn’t take the battery out of her car!
(or at least… mess with her car. i can’t remember if it was the battery exactly, but he did something to it in Twilight).
me: was it the battery or the tyres? He definitely sabotages her car so she can’t have other male friends like an abusive asshole
Twilight is such an unhealthy love story
It drives me crazy that young girls put that relationship at the forefront of their minds.
it’s quite scary
me: it is
the love story in The Bone Season didn’t bother me before but possibly will now.
although maybe not
I was pretty happy that she stopped moping about Nick
Stephanie: oh god yes.
she definitely still had feelings for him, but at least now he isn’t her only love interest.
at first I thought Jaxon might end up being a love interest.
it’s a huge relief that he isn’t
Stephanie: and I really hope she stays out of his gang.
that would change her life in scilo for book 2, and i think it would be really interesting
i have to say that I’m not really sure why she was in the gang in the first place
i know she explains but it still struck me as being kind of risky and stupid
i didn’t quite understand her attachment to it.
she keeps talking about how much she misses her gang, and her life in scilo
but all her memories seem so painful. i didn’t understand how they became her family
actually, that would be really good for the 2nd book
or even the 3rd
me: it would be interesting to read about, especially if it was done in contrast to a new life without them
I think things could be tricky with her new abilities, though, because Jaxon will want to use them
and he’s very manipulative. if anyone could get Paige to use her new abilities, it’s Jaxon.
i wouldn’t be surprised if he sided with the Rephaim for power.
me: that would actually be a pretty great plot twist, especially if Paige found herself fighting her old allies
Stephanie: oh totally!
if paige is supposed to represent David from the bible
it would be interesting to see if the Valley of Rephaim battles are referenced
because, if that’s the case, she would lead an army
so, that could be her old gang
or new people
me: I can’t wait to read what happens next
Stephanie: yes! i want to know where paige goes from here
once the train arrives in london… it could be another battle
the government officials or the rephaim may have alerted scilo
if that’s the case, how would she return to her normal life?
Stephanie: yeah. she already can’t
me: the experience has already changed her too much
oh, can we talk about Seb?
I really hated Seb at the beginning but the payoff was so good
Stephanie: yes! i am so glad he had a larger purpose
at first i just thought he was a “throw away” character
and that i wouldn’t miss him. but he was really pivotal
me: he was
yeah, i was really peeved because he was so annoying and then was got rid of and I though “well that was pointless”
but it wasn’t
and I found the final scene with him actually really moving
Stephanie: yeah, me too
the author did a really good job bringing up seb sometimes
to kind of… keep him in the reader’s mind
but it was really subtle, so you didn’t really expect him to jump out in the ending plot
I tell you what else I thought was great: the scene where they sent her to SciLo and her mouth was glued
creepy and horrifying but great writing
Stephanie: oh my god yes!
the idea that they could glue your mouth shut
it was so well written, i had a really hard time reading it! it actually made me feel like i was in that situation
very creative solution, too…
paige couldn’t do anything to alert her old gang.
me: yeah, I felt so upset on her behalf
Stephanie: not gonna lie, i was a mouth breather for about half a day.
i couldn’t stand the thought of it
me: it sort of reminded me of that story about Loki
Stephanie: ooooh! i’m not sure i know that story
Stephanie: oooh interesting!
similar to the “pound of flesh” argument that Shakespeare wrote about
i had a version of that story in my norse myths for children storybook growing up and it has always freaked me out
Stephanie: i can see why!
mythology is one of my favorite subjects to study, but wow
me: I think my biggest problem with The Bone Season (which isn’t actually a problem, just a frustration) is that I have so many questions about the world. More now I’ve finished than I had when it started
and i have questions about those horrible flesh eating monsters
me: yes, I still feel like we don’t know what they are or why they’re invading
i know it was briefly covered, but the rephaim despise humanity
they haven’t really shown that they would want to protect us.
it seems like they’d much rather have our world.
me: yes, the biggest question about that is: Did the Rephs bring the buzzers or did the buzzers draw the Rephs?
SO MANY QUESTIONS
I also want to know more about the previous uprising
Stephanie: yes! and the little girl!
me: I feel a bit “gum on the mantlepiece” about it
Stephanie: googling… does that phrase have to do with jesus appearing in some gum?
it’s from a brilliant writing advice guide called “how not to write a novel”
“The Gum on the Mantelpiece” uses a version of Chekhov’s law: if there is gum on the mantelpiece in the first chapter, it must go on something by the last chapter. (Ed. – I copied and pasted this line direct from TV Tropes. Sorry, actual copyright holder!)
Stephanie: haha! that makes more sense
ohhhhh i see
yes, that’s exactly how the first revolution felt
me: like why tell us about it if it isn’t going to be significant
unless it IS but we haven’t got there yet
was the little girl Paige or was she someone else who will turn up later?
I neeeeed to know
Stephanie: yes!! i’ve found myself wondering if her father knows about the rephaim
and was a player in the last uprising.
if that’s the case, he could have adopted her
me: I feel like there’s so much going on that everything could turn out to be significant
but also that there’s so much going on that I’m almost guaranteed to miss something that is significant
Stephanie: yes, exactly
i think i might be over-analyzing things because i worry i’ve missed something
me: yes me too
Stephanie: i’ll definitely need to re-read some bits before reading the 2nd book
and i’ll probably review the glossary… just to be on the safe side.
I spent a lot of time as I was reading flicking back to the chart about the orders of clairvoyance
like “she’s a whowhatnow”
Stephanie: hahaha yes!
i read most of the book on the kindle cloud reader, so i just started googling stuff to see if i could find something faster than looking at the glossary.
me: I have it on my kindle but then I found a signed copy and had to buy the real thing, which did make life easier
Stephanie: oooh i bet!
i remember seeing tweets about her doing some signings in the UK
I know! I was hoping I could convince her to pay my store a visit but no luck so far
Stephanie: maybe you could convince her to do it as part of book 2 promos
she blogged that she should be done with book 2 by February, so that’s quickly approaching
me: that is very exciting!
I’ll keep my fingers crossed
I think I might try and reread it for book 2. I think a second read might be rewarding because I already know what happens so I probably won’t spend the exposition-y chapters being annoyed at not finding out what happens next.
plus, I’m pretty sure that there are things I missed
and i felt like i was learning so much about her environment
i wasn’t as focused on the story as i should have been
also I never really felt like I connected with Liss
so terrible things happened to her but I didn’t really care
which is pretty awful of me
I think I was a bit too focussed on trying to remember who everyone was
Stephanie: me too! and at first i didn’t really understand the significance of her cards being destroyed
once i read about her downward progression, i felt a bit more invested
but at first i really didn’t see the problem.
i mean, it was sad… but yeah. i felt bad about that.
me: yeah “it’s just cards, jeez, drama” and then “ohhhhh”
Stephanie: hahaha yep!
me: I think it took me a really long time to grasp the whole “some people connect to the aether through objects, some people connect to the aether through chemicals (or whatever)” thing
possibly because Paige didn’t need those things
and i still don’t fully grasp why a clairvoyant can’t connect to the aether through more than one means
me: no me either
or Rephs, i guess, because of Warden’s dream herb thing
which i’m still not quite sure I get
you realise that we have now been talking about this for almost 2 hours. I guess it says good things for the book that we are so invested in the universe
Stephanie: hahaha yes! it definitely does
it says a lot about the author’s talent, too.
although there were some issues, she did a very good job
me: she did
i thought it was really good for a first book
and she’s so young too
it’s so unfair
i’m a little jealous. it would be so wonderful to be able to write a book like that.
me: yes it would
So there you are, folks. Our thoughts on The Bone Season.
Read along with us or check back here in February for the full review/chat conversation.
I probably won’t manage to post again before Christmas (although I do have a couple of blog posts up my sleeves so, you never know). If you celebrate and if I don’t see you again beforehand, have a great holiday!