Samantha Shannon was born in West London in 1991. She started writing novels at the age of fifteen and studied English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, specialising in Emily Dickinson and Film Studies. In 2013, she published The Bone Season, the first novel in a seven-book series of fantasy novels.
I’m always wary of reading books declared to be, “the new Harry Potter,” but I was intrigued by reading a few pages and I wanted to learn more about the 19 year old heroine, Paige, and the dystopian environment of an alternative 2059 underground London. In fact, early in the book, Paige is drugged and taken to the prison of Oxford, a city that has been hidden for 200 years. Conditions are a mixture of pseudo-Victorian, modern and imaginary but you quickly accept the environment. The key to the story is clairvoyance and the “aether.”
Paige is put into the care of Warden, a Rephaim. He is not human but his character is reminiscent of Rochester in Jane Eyre. Paige has the courage and determination of Katniss in The Hunger Games but she insists on fighting everyone and everything which results in monotonous injuries.
This is by no means a perfect novel but it is intriguing and full of vivid characters and though long is compulsive reading. Now two years later she has published her second novel The Mime Order and, “Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.”