In her debut novel, Samantha Shannon takes her readers to a world where being different doesn't only make you stand out, it is also your death sentence:
In 2059 several major cities in the UK are controlled by a group called Scion whose task is to find, incarcerate and kill the clairvoyant who inhabit the city. Paige is a special kind of clairvoyant she is a dreamwalker and it is this ability that has made her a valuable commodity of the criminal underworld. Paige works within a group of crime syndicate called the Seven Seals, which has the best of the best of clairvoyants. On a random search Paige is taken by Scion and she learns that everything about Scion was a lie. There is a secret prison where all clairvoyants are taken, they have a choice, adapt, perform or die. Paige will stop at nothing to achieve her freedom and warn her friends of Scion and Rephaite that control them. The Rephaite main concern is power and control and Paige is about to disrupt everything that they represent.
I liked and disliked this book at the same time. I love when an author is able to create an idea, creature or world that is different or unique and Shannon succeeded on many of these aspects within this book. She created a new world, creature/beings in the Rephaite and I especially liked the different forms and hierarchy of the voyants was really interesting (and it further plays into the Seven Seals). We don't get to learn too much about each clairvoyant's type of power and there are some mysteries about Paige's power but hers really grows within the book.
The beginning of the book started off really strong. I felt drawn into Paige's world, her abilities and her need to impress her syndicate boss but still hold a connection to her Dad who has no idea she is clairvoyant. Shannon used a tried and true concept of persecuting those who are different from you, even more powerful to the point where they should be feared and persecuted, even killed out right. This is a strong plot line that has occurred many times throughout history and is also the basis of many novels and TV show, but I found that Shannon was also able to put a twist on it with the Bone Harvest aspect.
Shannon put way too much information into this book and there where way too many different types of clairvoyant people to keep it straight all the time and while do praise creativity there needs to be a limit sometimes so the aspect still feels special. There are parts of the book that felt really really slow and other than the beginning of the book things just seemed to trudge on, with nothing really interesting happening. The fight Paige shows she has in order to survive, while present throughout the book, seems to feel more flat the farther into the book that the reader gets. Time also seemed to be an interesting factor in the book, I'm still not sure how much time passed in the book as it was never really defined, just seemed toflow from event to event.
I liked Paige as a character and loved her never swaying sense of loyalty that she has for the people she cares about. She puts them before herself and I cannot find fault with that. I'm unsure how I feel about Paige and Warden's relationship. I know I wished that Shannon had taken the approach of a trainer and trainee or teacher and student instead of adding the romance possibility to their relationship. I found it entirely unnecessary and lets face it felt forced and it seemed like maybe Shannon felt she HAD to have some romance in the book which is fine, but at least make it believable. The reason why i'm unsure about it is that I personal like Warden as a character. His mysteriousness and wanting to do the right thing even if it mean forfeiting his own life.
It not often that I like and dislike a book at the same time. I think that Shannon had some interesting ideas and great characters, but I think Shannon was over ambitious with this novel. She tired to put too much information in this book (outside of world building) and expected the reader to still be intrigued with the story, which to be frank, suffered because of this. I would read the next book in the series just to see where Shannon takes this story and world and I how the over use of ground work she set in this first novel goes to great use in the second.