Author: Samantha Shannon
Check this book out on Goodreads.
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. (Source: Goodreads)
Paige is clairvoyant, but being clairvoyant in a Scion run world is a dangerous thing. Paige is taken to a place to Sheol I where she is meant to be trained to hunt down other clairvoyants like her. It seems her world isn’t really run by Scion but rather the Rephaim, a race of clairvoyants from the aether. All Paige wants is her life back, and to save the lives of all those trapped in Sheol with her, and with her keeper, Warden/Arcturus, maybe she can save them all.
I received the sequel to this book The Mime Order from Penguin on Goodreads First Reads, thing is…I hadn’t ever read this book. So I read it, and holy wow. Honestly this book has me a little on the fence. It was a bit overwhelming to read, somewhat confusing, but honestly in the end it was kind of amazing. At the end of things I was so thoroughly into the story I was a little disappointed to see it end. I think that there’s some problems with the writing which makes it really confusing, but the plot is great, and the characters are well written.
So the major problem with this book is that is is confusing and really hard to get into. The first 100 pages of this book I was totally lost, I had no idea what was going on. Even towards the end I was having a hard time getting into the language and slang of the book. The trouble is this book relies on a language all of its own. It’s all derived from old Victorian slang, I guess? But it was just hard to understand, which meant that the initial setup for the book is mostly lost on you. There’s a glossary in the book, but honestly I didn’t want to have to flip back and forth constantly to figure things out. You start to pick things up eventually but it was something you really have to struggle through until about 100 or so pages into the book. The language made the plot hard to figure out for a while there, which made me a little annoyed and lost. I definitely think this would be off-putting for most people, I can definitely see lots of people giving up on this book. It’s worth the effort though, I promise.
The actual plot of this book is really cool. It’s essentially a dystopia but a fantasy dystopia. The book is about clairvoyants, people who communicate with spirits, which I found really interesting. It’s not something I’ve seen in a lot of books, so it was definitely cool to read about. The vocabulary of clairvoyance is hard to understand, as above, so that was a little troubling, but honestly a lot of it isn’t stuff you need to know. I really liked the multiple layers of deceit in this book, it was definitely a great take on the dystopian genre. I also really liked the supernatural element to everything. I think the plot was a little difficult to get into with the language, but honestly once you get into it it’s hard to put the book down.
I think Paige was a good character. She’s tough, which was great to see. Shannon wrote strong females, there’s a good mix of good females and evil females. They are, across the board, strong. All of the characters are strong, they have to be in this kind of society. The weak don’t survive. I think there is a good amount of depth to these characters as well, strong or weak. Paige’s story is deeply layered as was Arcturus’s. I definitely loved them as characters and really enjoyed the development of their relationship. Paige’s relationships with everyone were really interesting and definitely well written and developed. I really liked Paige and found it easy to follow her voice. There is one sort of issue with Paige, her age. She’s 19, that sets this book into a weird position because it feels, at times, like a YA book but it isn’t technically. This makes the book a little confusing, and definitely sets up some different expectations going into the book.
Something to keep in mind is that this is the first book in a series of 7. That means this book in no ways wraps things up. The end of the book doesn’t feel like an end, it feels like a beginning to a series. This book is something of an investment. I don’t think you’d get a lot of satisfaction from the ending if you decided you didn’t want to read the rest of the series because it is very open-ended.
I think that the characters and plot redeemed the sometimes confusing writing in this book. I think it’s worth reading, I really enjoyed it, especially as the pace picked up further into the book. I really liked the book, but I definitely understand that other people wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much as me, it is super confusing. I think it was worth it, but yeah I’m still a little on the fence obviously.