Review | The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

The Mask Falling

by Samantha Shannon

Fantasy, Science-Fiction

Goodreads | Bookshop | Book Depository

Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…

Well, where do I even begin with this book?

I think anyone else who’s already read the latest instalment in the amazing Bone Season series will understand how much it really puts you through your paces – just when you thought you had reached the twists of all twists, there’s another right around the corner. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long for this like all the other fans did because I only picked up the Bone Season last year, but I can imagine a book as action-packed and dramatic as this was well worth the wait.

Shannon brings us back into the world of The Bone Season with the fourth instalment, and she does so masterfully. Her character and setting are rich as always, and perhaps even more so in The Mask Falling. I especially adored the setting and world-building of this book, which was set in Paris. It really felt like the city had come alive on the pages, and I think it’s a testament to Shannon’s marvellous writing ability to see how well and realistically she crafted this inventive setting. I also really enjoyed to explore more of Paige and Warden as characters, I think this book did such an excellent job of developing them even more and enhancing their characters. The attention to detail was so admirable, especially in Paige’s trauma after the events of The Song Rising.

And the twists! I mean, seriously. This book was so action-packed that I couldn’t bear to put it down. Every time I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it – that’s how much it captured my attention and I think that’s a perfect example of when a book is great. It kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end, and now I don’t know how I’m going to cope while I wait for the next book. Like seriously? All advice welcome.

And Samantha Shannon, I bow down. Writing Goddess.

Review | The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

The Song Rising

by Samantha Shannon

YA Fantasy, Dystopian

Goodreads | Bookshop | Book Depository

The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…

I have finally caught up with The Bone Season and I’m so very happy about it!

The Song Rising is the third book in the Bone Season series, so if you haven’t read the first two books I would encourage you to stop reading this! The third instalment amps up the tension even more with the introduction of a technology spreading across Scion London that detects unnaturals in the quickest and easiest way. And for Paige and her pals, well, this ain’t good at all. Together they must work together to try defeat this before it develops into a worldwide phenomenon that puts everyone she knows at risk of capture.

As always, Shannon’s prose is so sharp you could cut yourself. Her characters are definitely her biggest strength. With another instalment of this unique series, she is able to again develop their personalities and build on all of them, not just Paige, and it really shows. I feel like in this book I got to know both Nick and Eliza even better.

For the first half of the book, the pace was a bit slow but as soon as it picked up I was completely hooked. I love how in this book we travelled to places such as Manchester and Edinburgh, you really get to get a better idea of the setting and the worldwide-scope that Shannon has created.

There are many twists and turns in this as usual and Shannon really ups the stakes once again in this instalment. That ending absolutely blew my mind and from the looks of how it’s going to lead into the fourth book, I’m so excited to sink my teeth into The Mask Falling in January (although I would sell my soul for an ARC).

If you’ve not read any of The Bone Season series, you really should! You’re in for quite a treat!

Review | The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

The Mime Order

by Samantha Shannon

YA Dystopian, Fantasy

Goodreads | Bookshop | Book Depository

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. 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.

Going into the second book in this series, I have to admit I was slightly scared. After reading and loving Priory of the Orange Tree earlier this year, I had high hopes for The Bone Season series. I finally got around to the first book in this series last month and not that it disappointed me as such, I still enjoyed it to an extent, but it definitely didn’t amaze me as much as I expected it to. Perhaps it was because it was Shannon’s debut or written many years before the more recent Priory, but I wondered how I was going to feel about the sequel to TBS. To find out how I did, keep on reading.

The Mime Order picks up straight after the ending of The Bone Season, which I loved. Like literally right after. I so appreciated the fact that there was no time jump, I feel like it was a brilliant way to hook us right back into the story of Paige that we already knew so well.

I’m not going to leave you hanging—I absolutely adored this. I mean, adored this. I read this as part of my 24 hour readathon and honestly I feel like I picked the right time to read this book – it is one specifically written to be devoured in the shortest amount of time. The pace is so sublimely brilliant that by the time you look up, you realise you’re halfway through this 500 page novel and you didn’t even notice because you were so entirely engrossed in the story.

And the characters! I mean seriously! They were all so incredibly developed and given so much depth and ahh I just loved them all. Paige! Warden! Nick! Eliza! Even after I closed the pages of the book, I don’t think there was a point where I wasn’t thinking about them! I also don’t think I’ve ever seen such improvement between a first book and a second in a series. And let’s not talk about that literally nobody warned me about that completely explosive ending that had me screaming. So here, dear reader, is yours if you haven’t read it yet. Beware.

Also can we talk about how the event at the end of the book was delivered so marvellously? It had been teased throughout the whole book and it did not disappoint. The way she wrote the scene, the descriptions, the actions was incredible. I have so much respect for Shannon as a writer, and I cannot to see what way she breaks my heart next in The Song Rising. One of the best fantasy writers out there, without a shadow of a doubt. Like seriously. Unbelievable.

Review | The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season

by Samantha Shannon

YA Fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

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.

This has been a book series on my TBR for the longest time, and especially after reading and LOVING The Priory of the Orange Tree earlier this year, I just knew this was one I had to get around to before the latest book is published this coming January.

The Bone Season is Samantha Shannon’s fantasy debut, and it follows the story of Paige Mahoney, when she is kidnapped to the mysterious race that occupies Oxford in the year 2059. Here she meets Warden, a member of this other race who’s tasked with training her and taking advantage of her unusually rare powers.

This has an incredibly unique world-building and you can tell that there was so much time, energy and imagination put into this novel. However, there was something about this that just didn’t exactly do it for me. I know, I’m as shocked as you probably are. I literally loved The Priory of the Orange Tree, it was absolutely one of my favourite books of this year, but in comparison, I have to admit The Bone Season did slightly disappoint.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t not enjoy it. Especially after the first 100 or so pages when the story really got started, I found myself invested in Paige and the other characters and what was going to happen. Also let it be known from this early moment that I would die for Warden. I loved the characters, and am interested to know more about Nick and Jaxon Hall especially. But I think I fell into that common opinion that there was just far too much info-dumping in the beginning of the story that it put me off enjoying it as much as I could have.

If you were about to pick up The Bone Season for the first time, I would definitely recommend picking up the prequel novella first, The Pale Dreamer. I read this after the novel (which is probably my biggest regret) because I really enjoyed the novella! It obviously didn’t affect my reading experience too much, but if I could start The Bone Season again I definitely would start with The Pale Dreamer novella. It’s the perfect introduction to this amazing world Shannon has created. Although I wasn’t obsessed with the first book, I am definitely intrigued by Paige’s story and am looking forwards to continuing this series soon.

Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon


The Priory of the Orange Tree

by Samantha Shannon

Adult Fantasy

Goodreads| Amazon | Book Depository

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

I have to admit: For so long I was incredibly intimidated by this dragon of a book. I mean, it’s huge and probably the heaviest book I’ve ever held. But honestly, if you’re feeling the same way I was – I urge you to battle through it and begin it, because after about the first 100 pages, Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon clawed its way to one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. Here’s why.

The way Shannon crafts the world and the landscape of this novel was incredible. I don’t know how long it took her, but it truly paid off. I felt as though this world was just as real as our one – because it had so much depth and layer and incredible worldbuilding. Each location and each character – major or minor – had a part to play, and we were never shy of the history behind each of them.

The way Shannon threaded her plot points through this book so delicately was superb. I was never bored at any point and that’s down to the pacing being completely perfect. It knew exactly the moments to draw me in and keep me hooked there. I loved all the characters, but I have to say I absolutely adored Ead, especially her blossoming relationship with Sabran. I’m a sucker for some royalty and intrigue in a book and Priory did just that.

I also really enjoyed Shannon’s writing. The way she uses language is truly her gift. The descriptions, the prose, just the general art of writing with suspense and emotion and making me as a reader completely disconnect from reality and lose myself in her words. So much so that I ordered The Bone Season and can’t wait to read more of her work!

This was truly a novel I will hold in high regard for a long time. With dragons, badass characters, magic and the most gorgeous f/f relationship – please, please read this! It was stunning!

5 star